Lie Sang Bong: While many of the shows concentrated on saleable clothes rather than exploring ideas and experimentation, the collections of Lie Sang Bong, Doii and Jaehwan Lee were the exceptions and exceptional. Mr. Lie Sang Bong is in a category by himself in Seoul. Having commenced his business in 1985, he surely is a designer in a category of his own here in terms of the technical, the craftsmanship and the constant attempt to innovate and improve upon his own designs. In each collection, he stretches the idea of architecture and building clothes around a women’s body–this time using the principle of elements of traditional Korean architectur. The prevalent use of colors and textures on mimicked the carved and painted wooden buildings like those at Kyungbok or Changduk Palaces. The wavy pattern on the buildings were molded into print patterns on a strapless tan sheath dress with a woven corset or the series of colorful patterns on a short dress with a matching jacket. The floor length purple and acqua print knit dress was perhaps the more simple expression of tradition and modernity.
It would be great to see Mr. Lie venture more into couture, perhaps even present a small off-calendar show in Paris during couture season rather than showing his ready-to-wear collection in Paris then Seoul. At times many of the looks he presented were borderline couture, but because he made them as ready-to-wear, you can see and feel the restraint he must have taken to resist the temptations to push his ideas further. The metallic green leather jacket with a wave weave pattern shoulder worn with a pleated blue print skirt was a fine example of couture workmanship. The white plastic face masks added drama to the sophisticated clothes.