If fashion is a form of armour than what type of war was J JS Lee wanting to protect us from? In Jackie JS Lee's uplifting London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2019 collection, the Korean born designer took the audience on a protective journey.
The idea of being cocooned was prominent with Lee using silk wool and satins for her beautifully deconstructed dresses and suits. And yet her collection never felt insecure or repressed.
It’s tempting for fashion designers to buy into the hyperbole of media and politics, but J JS Lee rose above all that and explored the human experience of wearing fashion as a tool for usefulness, integrity and indeed protection.
With models wearing a selection of sharply cut suits, dresses and shirts in lightweight cotton poplins it felt at times as though J JS Lee was projecting the idea of urban angels. The optimistic glow of buttercup yellow, burning mustards and bold reds slowly gave way to her bigger idea of fluidity and freedom with white and metallic suits.
Backstage after the show, crowded with impeccably dressed family and friends, Lee discussed her inspiration with WJ London for referencing half-furnished upholstering, the idea being of furniture protection covers for the arms or back of sofas.
“We took some sculpture shapes from a furniture cover, the idea of protecting from the sofa and we took that idea," Lee said. "The off the shoulder idea came from furniture cover and we wanted to focus on details like the labels.”
This gave her collection its most intriguing narrative and elevated her love of deconstructed tailoring into a more fluid and considered offering. Protection meant for her focusing on the shoulders included cutout details and then alternatively cotton poplin shirts featured overlays were tightly stretched across the shoulders.
She featured fine wool from Dugdale Bros & Co and then twisted such traditional fabrics by revealing at the back of jackets cut out raw edging. Nothing was presented without a surprise twist to the traditional. “I'm based in London and I love English heritage,” Lee told WJ London.
And she was excited by the idea of funnelling her own minimalist aesthetic into “very traditional hounds tooth from the Dugdale symbol... and we took the dry wax cotton and that was waterproof”. Her love of English heritage seemingly gave her show the right grounding to soar to new heights.