Fashion
  • Text Liam Hess
  • Photography Nicky Zeng
  • 12th June 2018

First love

South Korean designers KyuYong Shin and JiSun Park have established themselves as the indisputable stars of Seoul’s biannual fashion week: not only for the ravishing opulence of their genderless designs, but also their subversive political voice in a country with limited LGBT+ rights. Shortlisted last year for the LVMH Prize, their move to London Fashion Week feels intuitive — showing on-schedule right after Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, these were two sides of the same gender-fluid coin.

While their signature mouthpieces, a riff on the ubiquitous east Asian pollution mask, carry an eerie sense of the post-apocalyptic, this was an optimistic collection — with their outspoken politics, it wouldn’t be a stretch to link this to the thaw in tensions on the Korean Peninsula over the past few months. Instead of the usual, more sinister descriptors used by the designers, this time the inspiration was a quote from Franz Kafka on the primal force of first love.

Layers of ruched and ruffled tulle were embellished with delicate strings of pearls and oversized pussy bows, with gauzy silks embroidered with sprays of yellow mimosas and constellated patterns that shimmered like the night sky. These were clothes for a whimsical boy or girl ready to be swept off their feet: deeply romantic, in both senses of the word.