Monday, April 2, 2012

BROKEN UNBROKEN


Getting Wow-ed and Omg-ed at the latest collections of the four major fashion weeks is like a semiannual routine for all of us. But one the other side of the globe, back in Singapore, a particular designer label is  stirring up fashion chaos. 

Womenswear label, koonhor is founded by Singaporeans Koon Lim and Catrine Thé in 2009. (Okay, I may be three years late but better late than never!) Their Fall Winter 2012 collection saw the strength of women embracing the immediate present but still acknowledging the past. The broken mirrors represent the individual pieces of memories and experiences, and are put together - like a reunion of all things positive. The economy may be bad, but fashion always portrays the opposite, like what Koon said, "We want to show that fashion is still going very strong."


Looking at the prints themselves got me sucked into koonhor's beauty of imperfection. The mirror shards scattered on the floor may seem to be an act of violence but from another point of view, their irregular lines and reflected lights is utterly mesmerising. After carefully placed together, another shape is formed - just like crystallised chandeliers. 


A variety of fabrics - leather, stretch viscose-blend, virgin wool, bonded technical fabrics, poplin, crepe silk and more - are pieced together in a way that is well-balanced. Most importantly, the end product, especially the outerwear is extremely lightweight and comfortable (I've tried them on myself and didn't want to take them off!) and a staple for fall. 



Details, details and details are the ever-understated part of fashion. koonhor has every piece of the collection produced in Milan to ensure the high quality of craftsmanship. And yes, the finishing of every garment is precise. Let's zoom in to the sporty three-piece look below, in addition to the extra flap detailing on the sides of the top, the skirt has no side seams (they are slightly behind) so that it is more flattering to the hips and yes, "it gives you an ass." And did I mention that both the top and skirt are made of foamed neoprene, a.k.a fabric to make wetsuits? It certainly adds depth to the design with its unique wrinkled texture.


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Another take on neoprene is this white design. The two zippers allows you to create a collar and also convert the top to a vest. Depending on your height, it can even be worn as a dress. 

 

This season saw the launch of koonhor's accessories and bags line, ranging from silk scarves to belts, clutches, totes and sling bags. I was particularly intrigued by the use of stingray skin in the collection. Not only the texture is fresh, the exotic skin has an interesting feature: follow the colour gradient to the part where it is the lightest, you can see a slight bulge - that's top-middle part of the stingray. Again, details are key. This bulge is position as the center of focus of the design, just like the belt, it is placed at the end its end where it is most visible. Only available in limited sizes, the skin has to be hand-stitched and that adds an extra detailing. 


koonhor truly understands the woman's body and knows exactly what flatters her shape. The slightest detailing actually makes the greatest difference and this is what a lot of us are missing when it comes to shopping.

Mass market brands may be hot in Singapore with countless international brands opening up stores. What emerging local designers need to set themselves apart is "to be molded the right way. They have a voice and they stay true to themselves. But the problem lies in consulting, and they need to be properly guided to set up a fashion business. We worked for five to six years in design houses, and found out it works and how cruel the industry is. You have to meet the right people."
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Here are the five facts about Koon and Catrine, exclusively for VW.:

1. Koon needs two cups of coffee a day while Catrine only drinks plain black tea.

2. Both Koon and Catrine are real maniacs when it comes to fit and constructions.

3. Koon's style icon is Alain Delon while Catrine's is Serge Gainsbourg.

4. Koon never gets enough of well-tailored shirts and striped tees are Catrine's style-saver.

5. Koon likes women who are intellectuals and private at the same time.

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Pardon my hiatus, I've recently embarked on a new career and will let you know when the time is right!

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