Hyun Mi Nielsen’s sensual summer medley
If last season’s collection was a Victorian ode to French couture, Scandinavian designer Hyun Mi Nielsen’s latest offering spun an altogether more modern story on Monday evening. Teaming voluminous gowns with vintage accents, Nielsen created a decade-hopping estival caper for her second haute couture appearance.
The collection, presented at Salons Hoche in central Paris, featured a fusion of retro silhouettes, faithful to the Scandinavian designer’s conviction that the fashion industry is too "consumed by immediacy." 1950s couture made an appearance in the form of full-head birdcage veils and conical busts, while 1970s jacquard paired with bell-bottom trousers and repurposed denim ushered the collection into the present.
The fall/winter collection, christened ‘Summer Solstice,’ nixed the fast-fashion seasonal calendar too, in favour of an embrace of slow living with a wardrobe to match. Models marched strapless taffeta gowns in tangerine down the runway alongside sculptural outerwear in vinyl and voluminous fur, all punctuated by bursts of sunflower yellow floral embroidery.
The mood was, overall, nostalgic innocence with a punk edge: tiered ruffles were seen in stiff cotton as well as pale tulle, while broad-shouldered blazers came in in black moiré. Heavy jackets in animal print, perforated almost imperceptibly at the bust, added a hint of eroticism with retro underpinnings becoming an outerwear feature. Black patent trousers and sheer tulle socks paired with peep-toe heels were no less sensual, perhaps drawing on pagan themes of the Scandinavian solstice.
"This time I was really thinking about graphicism, texture and lightness and being happy," Nielsen said cheerfully backstage. The South Korean-born designer, who counts labels Balenciaga, Givenchy and Alexander McQueen among her previous employers, made her haute couture debut in January this year to much acclaim. This season offered the same artisanal attention to detail coupled with fresh optimism and, importantly, wearability. "This season I'm saying that I want to see my company grow. I also want to accommodate something that's more ready-to-wear, and also something that could reach out to more women," she said.
In weaving together functionality and craftsmanship; this modern-meets-retro, spring-summer-fall story surely has something to offer everyone. And we’ll await the next chapter with bated breath.
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