Korean fashion history class

Jinteok is Seoul’s secret fashion star who anchored this season’s fashion week with a beautiful exhibition showing her body of work

It’s always been about Yohji and Rei and Issey when we talk about Asian designers in Paris. Now we need to add Chitose and Jun, all Japanese designer who go by their first name and stand for a powerful design universe. Korean designers are not so much known yet even if names like Juun J. who will headline next January 2016’s Pitti Uomo and Wooyoungmi are establishing themselves on the Paris men’s show circuit. But already in the 90’s Korean Jinteok was presenting her collections in Paris and in the days of grunge and heroin chic they stood out for their quiet elegance.

Seoul Fashion Week
Fabric layering by Jinteok

Seoul Fashion Week was held in the Zaha Hadid designed design and arts complex Dongdaemun Design Plaza aka DDP, a cultural hub at the centre of Dongdaemun, an historic district of Seoul that is now renowned for its 24-hour shopping and cafes. Jinteok took over one of the galleries to present an exhibition called Anthology/ Creation of 50 years which was an impressive showcase of her work. Not many designers have a 50 year history apart from maybe Karl Lagerfeld at Fendi and Jinteok’s work stands out for two reasons: super intricate fabric manipulation to create alien-like silhouettes and the use of few colors mostly black and white to calm the eye. In a beautiful industrial space using scaffolding pipes some of her highlights were presented with clever and subtle lighting.

Seoul Fashion Week
An industrial setting to juxtapose the poetic clothes

Jinteok’s signature is a multi-layering of fabric strips which reminds more of the work of a sculpturist than a fashion designer, especially around the neck.

Seoul Fashion Week
The white shirt collar is a work of art in Jinteok’s hands

We’re talking nearly a hundred mini layers of fabric piled upon each other to create striking textile landscapes. Apart from the focus on draping and silhouette, there was a surprising element of embellishment in the designer’s work as in white shirt and skirt combinations with sequined crosses on the front.

Seoul Fashion Week
Looks like a perfect outfit for a K Pop star

When asked about how she likes her exhibition, the humble and soft-spoken Jinteok replied: »It’s clothes that speak ». Generally one of the bigger shows of Seoul fashion week, Jinteok skipped a season to focus on this beautiful exhibition which shed a new light on the depth of Korean fashion culture.

Seoul Fashion Week
The neckline is one of Jinteok’s obsessions