The Son Jung Wan show covered a lot of ground—rendering summary statements almost entirely moot—but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a capable or controlled collection. In fact, because the variety stopped short of incoherence or disharmony, it may have even worked to the designer’s advantage.
Son Jung Wan’s instinct for juicy color combinations and fabric manipulation was on full display. The show opened with loud bursts of canary yellow in basic flowing shapes, interspersed with fading yellow-to-orange dyed dresses that were delicate in weight but bold in color—a lovely balance and two very fresh looks. “Adventures in textiles” came next, featuring four looks cut from thick, heavily-stitched tweed in alternating pink, blush and cream with frayed edges, loose threads, multicolored jewels and rows of sequins. I know it sounds more like the mess left over from a kindergartener’s craft project than the framework for a high-end garment, but the effect was delightful and more sophisticated than silly. Rounding out the first two-thirds of the show—before switching to a neutral white and pale-gold color palette—was another memorable bloc, this time in rich turquoise and brilliant marine blues. The dresses varied in print and shape—from cocktail to asymmetrical ball gown—but all exemplified the designer’s same flair for gathered, pinched and layered fabric, held together by sheer panels and architectural details (see below).
Sadly, the show’s momentum tapered quickly with the final 14 looks, which paid no attention to color and were only mildly compelling in context and comparison. These pieces were also the least characteristic of Son Jung Wan’s creative strengths—almost as if draining them of color would mute (or at least cloud) the choice to include a sizeable selection of more marketable, trend-driven designs.