LFW: J JS LEE

This is a switch: it is actually warmer in London this morning than it is in Indianapolis; almost balmy by comparison. Of course, the greater majority of people in the Midwest were still asleep when the first show of London Fashion Week took off. Time change, notwithstanding, morning is still morning and it’s a good thing coffee is pretty much a universal drink.

Jackie JS Lee starts LFW once again with a collection that is nothing if not comfortable. From beginning to end, the looks here are attractive to be sure, but also largely practical. Ms. Lee’s use of color and styling gives everything a contemporary look, but there’s nothing here that is difficult, off-putting, or pretentious in the least. Even the shoes, mostly sling backs and sandals, are comfortable. There wasn’t a heel in sight. Hair was pulled back in a simple pony tail. Makeup was a bit more involved, simply because good makeup always is more involved, but the look is not a difficult one. So, there’s really nothing about these looks that is not accessible to pretty much every woman on the planet.

That being said, the silhouettes themselves are not especially exciting. Exciting invokes a degree of difficulty, difference, and is usually a little less practical. Lines in this collection are smooth. Necklines and hem lines are both generally scooped with gentle curves. Pants, where they exist, are typically fuller at the hips, tapered just a bit to the ankles, and come with a good-sized cuff. Hem lines are mixed, with a sufficient choice between those that fall above the knee as well as below, with a couple of selections managing to bridge the difference, short in front and below the knee in back.

Blue is the primary color for the greater portion of this collection. Yet, rarely does Ms. Lee commit to a solid look until she gets to evening wear. Instead, she quite cleverly introduces accent colors in various geometric shapes at different points. An orange rectangle gives spark to a jacket. A green triangle shines on a blouse. A blue ribbon comes up the side and over to the buttons of a white shirt. Little touches like those are what make the garments attractive in a gentle, casual way. There are a couple of prints in the collection, a blue/black paint brush design first on white then on black, that is sufficiently cute when done on one portion of a separates ensemble but  doesn’t quite work as well in a head-to-toe look. Colors for the evening wear are all solid and the palette is more extended. Peach, green, and silver come to play along with a beautiful striped silk in black and off-white.

A couple of pieces stand out as a bit different. There is a cute skirt whose asymmetrical cut gives it the appearance of not quite being fastened. I can just imagine the fun to be had wearing this piece as there are bound to be well-intentioned folk warning one that their skirt is coming undone. Also in the “oh my” category is a beautiful black dress with a deep plunging neckline. Where the neckline ends, a zipper quite noticeably begins. I’m sure this is just there for ease of use, right?

While this may not have been the most dramatic way to begin London Fashion Week, it was certainly quite pleasant and comfortable in a perfectly British sort of way, which is interesting coming from a Korean designer. If every collection is as wearable as this one, we should get along fine.

Photo credit: Guillame Roujas

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