Rhiannon D’Averc spoke to South Korean designer Gayeon Lee after her presentation, her second during the official LFW schedule.
Can you tell us about the new collection?
This is my Autumn/Winter ’19, and it has been my second time showing on the London Fashion Week official schedule. I was very happy, and I’m very happy about how people reacted. The comments I heard were that the collection is more flattering, it’s more accessible, and it’s very calm and subtle. They expect London Fashion Week to be more avant garde and very different. That’s eventually what I want to do, because I’m a woman and I want to dress women beautifully. I know how it feels special when you have confidence in what you’re wearing, and I want to make them look beautiful. That’s what I want to do. So, I was very happy in general.
This season I was inspired by this French artist called Pierre Boncompain. He paints these beautiful paintings with very subtle colours. He paints with layers of fabric on the table and the floor. The textiles that appear in his paintings really captured my eye, and the colours as well. So, as you can see, the collection has so many colours that work together as one.
In terms of silhouette, I always admire a ‘50s, classic silhouette. With a little bit of twist, a gathering, pleating, button placement, changing the proportions. I always love playing with those elements.
It’s very feminine and elegant. A lot of collections this season have had the same elements, whereas you stay true to your own style, which is fantastic.
I can’t do it different, because that’s who I am and what I believe. I have to keep trying with what I love, and I hope people love it.
Are there any themes you keep coming back to season after season?
It’s not a specific theme, but I think I love using colours. When I wear things on me, I love using black but when I design, I love using colours. I’m not a designer who does black or white all the time. I love exploring colour and trying different ones every season. I think that’s something I really want to do as well.
When it comes to presenting your collection, is there anything that goes through your mind in terms of casting the models or looking at the styling?
When I cast the model, the thing I care about most is the fit, because I really care about the proportion of the garments. It’s very specific. Every woman has a different body, right? Obviously models have a very good proportion usually, but still, I have to see very carefully, because I understand a woman’s body – the length of the dress, the pocket’s position, the waistline. Everything is about the fit. When I cast a model, that’s the thing I care about most.
How do you feel the style and the fashion changes between Seoul and London?
I showed in Seoul twice before, but it’s been a few years. In Seoul, I don’t know if it’s the right way to put it, but it’s very trendy. You see this trend, and then it’s everywhere. It’s good because if you know the trend, then you can sell a lot. In terms also of media that comes to the shows, in Seoul, it’s all the big media – things like Vogue, Elle. Here, there are more independent magazines and people who are genuinely interested in finding new designers. Stylists, photographers – there are more people engaged in London. I think that’s the main difference.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
I’m here in London now, but I’m going to Paris for Paris Fashion Week. I’ll be showing my collection in the Paris Showrooms. I’m hoping to meet more buyers there so my collection can be stocked in retailers. Then, after, I’ll start working on my resort collection, which will be in June. Non-stop! I have to really keep going to show something new every time.
Tell us about the accessories with this collection.
People love the accessories. I think it’s more accessible than clothing. It catches people’s eyes, and it worked really well together with my collection. With the handbags, the metal handles are a series continuation of my previous season. I did a collaboration with a NewYork-based jewellery designer. We did a similar concept, this time I did leather handbags showing three different colours on one bag. I think it worked really well together with the colours of the collection. Same for the shoes, I try to do shoes for every season now because I want to complete the whole look. There’s three different colours in each shoe. It’s the same concept for the handbags. I did the ankle boots, I did half-colour shoes for my Spring/Summer and this is also a continuous line from there.
Is that something you intend to continue with as well?
I think so, if I keep showing in London Fashion Week as a presentation or in show format, I want to do handbags and shoes. I think it’s really important.
Shop the Gayeon Lee collection at gayeonlee.com. Collection images via Dyelog PR