Rok Hwang put on the show of his young career last month. If only he could’ve had an audience. COVID continues to disrupt the runway system, but it hasn’t slowed the development of this American-bred, London-based South Korean designer. If anything, the difficulties of lockdown have consolidated Hwang’s sensibility.
He still likes the sliced and diced silhouettes and unlikely fabric pairings that made his early collections distinctive, but his pattern-making has become more customer-friendly. There’s no shame in that development; edgy and well-fitting is a killer combination, and more difficult to achieve than merely experimental fashion.
In any case, Hwang hasn’t completely shed his youthful exuberance. It was there in spades in this pre-fall collection’s faux furs—one in fluffy lilac, the other in a tawny beige with a painterly harlequin check. And it was present and correct in double- and triple-lapelled jackets and coats, though he was quick to point out that the layered effect was only on the facing, insisting that they remained quite light.
Comfort was one half of Hwang’s woman-friendly approach here; convertibility was the other. His cotton gabardine trench comes in two pieces: a bolero and a sleeveless coat that can double as a dress. More unexpectedly and irreverently, a minidress will be sold with detachable puff sleeves that fasten between the shoulder blades with an elastic and metal clasp. They could ostensibly enliven many other dresses in a purchaser’s closet.
Hwang turned his thoughtful eye to more quotidian items too, rendering them unordinary in the process. His jeans were stone-washed and acid-washed for a velvety finish and cut with a trouser-like, generous shape. On his fall runway he showed them with a lace top that spilled into a long train positively bridal in its proportions. They’d also be magic for everyday.