On Saturday, March 24 South Korea’s catwalks and trendsetters converged at Dongdaemun Design Plaza for the last day of Hera Seoul Fashion Week 2018. The global fashion event is held twice a year in March and October, providing designers of all caliber with the opportunity to compete with the likes of London, Milan, New York and Paris. Our V.I.P. access was for the kiok (키옥) fall/winter 2018 collection and it did not disappoint.
Kiok is curated by Kiok Kang and her daughters Crayon Lee and Coco Lee. Creative Director Crayon and Head Designer Coco infuse New York style with the sleek looks of Seoul effortlessly in their collections. Upon entering the runway show, classic American jazz played boldly over the speakers. The setting was serene with soft lighting yet cosmopolitan. We were transported to New York City. And whether the sisters realized it or not, having buyers, trendsetters and everyone in between sprinkled around the u-shaped catwalk was as if their official kiok Instagram account had come to life — black, grey, denim and, if absolutely warranted, a splash of color. Checking their social media account could do nothing to prepare spectators for what would happen once the lights when down.
The stark white catwalk carpet had its plastic covering gently, yet swiftly, snatched off and all went black. The jazz music faded out. Suddenly, Quay Dash’s “Queen of this S**t” thumps through the speakers, pumping and New York-underground raw. The tempo and NSFW lyrics sets the tone for the first model’s fierce-as-hell stride from backstage. The show’s begun! Arrogant, edgy pieces stride the runway. American urban style meets classic fashion cuts head on in muted browns, unpretentious plaids and denim combinations that made onlookers eyes wide. Sweatshirt textures smashed together with open, obvious stitching that was refreshing. What presented as a straight cut would be synced with ruffles or tight pleats. Shoulder pads were prominent but not in that 1980s stereotypical “revitalized” fashion. The styles look like what you could make but can’t pull off.
Music from LeiKeli47 takes us into the middle and final portion of the show, shouting to the rafters, “So what I got an attitude,” and “Baby, it’s a look” over simple kit drums. The young women on the runway (with one natural haired black woman, to boot!) sashayed off and returned for their final walk in full body clear plastic garment bags over their outfit. The audible gasp from the audience was an unforgettable moment when they stormed out! kiok does ready-to-wear that demands confidence from its wearer. No wonder stars like Heize love it!
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Contributing Writer – Ashley Griffin
Image credit: Sydney P. Davis