Wooyoungmi's Katie Chung honours David Bowie
South Korean menswear brand Wooyoungmi chose Lycée Camille-Sée in Paris' 15th arrondissement as the venue for its spring/summer 2019 runway, the second show staged by Katie Chung, who succeeded her mother and brand founder Woo Young Mi at the head her eponymous label.
"It was a natural handover," explained the designer. "I grew up alongside this brand, and became its co-creative director before taking over, and my mother is never too far away, and gives me her full support."
For this collection, the Korean designer paid homage to David Bowie, "and above all to the new David Bowie generation," she highlighted. "He's an artist that I grew up with, and whose passing made me sad, and I wanted to explore his romantic bohemian side."
Strutting down the catwalk in ankle boots, Wooyoungmi's models paraded in striking jewel tones, presenting a wardrobe which passed from matching suits to a series of colourful large-collared shirts with wide stripes that spilled out over flowing trenches and elegantly cut coats. The spirit of Bowie was also present in photoluminescent pieces – such as jackets, trousers and shorts – and in the metallic effects running through a number of the looks.
In an unexpected move for Wooyoungmi, PVC jackets and shirts popped up again and again, while leather trousers in every colour of the rainbow added just the right touch of extravagance. The influence of street and sportswear could also be seen throughout.
"It's an intentionally new direction," acknowledged Katie Chung, and one among a series of innovations at the label, including the emphatic use of the brand's logo, which appeared as "WYM" on belts, t-shirts and suits.This was a different side to Wooyoungmi, savvily surfing current trends with an eye to catching the attention of new markets.
And at the top of the list of those new markets: the US. "It's a market where we would like to develop," explained Chung. "Wooyoungmi was able to adapt to the morphology of Westerners 20 years ago. Now we're working to adapt our offer to the American market, which is a different challenge."
Founded at the end of the 80s, Wooyoungmi was first sold in South Korea and has been showing its collections at Paris' menswear Fashion Week since 2002. The brand operates a Parisian boutique, which was opened on Rue Vieille-du-Temple in 2006 before moving to Rue Saint-Claude, as well as a flagship in Seoul.
The brand is also distributed through over 30 points of sale in some 15 countries around the world, principally in Japan, London (at Liberty, Harrods and Harvey Nichols, for example) and Paris, where it has concessions at Le Bon Marché and Printemps de l'Homme.
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