Giving runway fashion a street sensibilityLet’s be honest, fashion’s greatest challenge is choosing what you can wear after seeing the season’s designs paraded on runways around the world.
This spring, the major fashion designers delivered several conflicting new themes in Paris, Milan and New York ― with much of it too daring to be seen on the streets of Seoul.
Marc Jacobs and Ralph Lauren are releasing feminine floral prints reminiscent of “Little House on the Prairie.” Chanel dresses by Karl Lagerfeld are elegant and sheer with soft pleats and pale pink camillias. Donna Karan’s New York Collection features large polka-dot sun dresses inspired by the 1950s Sandra Dee look. Call it retro-style femininity.
But not all designers are emphasizing the frilly and dressy look.
Gucci, for instance, is introducing strikingly contrasting dual images on the runway: Oriental and military. Along with exotic silk kimono gowns, Gucci’s creative director Tom Ford is strong on the sleek military look complete with modernized cargo pants and officer’s jackets.
Meanwhile, Vivian Westwood, Marni and Louis Vuitton are endorsing bold stripes in spring’s new colors, inspired by the designer Emilio Pucci ― lemon, sky blue, orange and yellow green ― creating an easygoing, casual look.
Everything this spring is alluring and tempting. But maybe too much so: Ana Molinari’s gorgeous cheongsam dress is so short that it barely covers the model’s backside. Cloe’s dress has a neckline plunging so deep that it reveals the woman’s chest. And Gucci’s quasi-military jacket is worn without, well, any bottom. (One fashion editor wrote that it goes perfectly with a teeny weensy bikini bottom.)
So while these designs may look fantastic on the runway, they’re probably not right for you, even if you haunt the trendiest cafes of Cheongdam-dong.
Kim Min-ju, a local advertising director in her late 20s, finds women’s fashion exciting but says that trying to wear the clothes can be a frustrating experience. “I feel like I don’t belong even if I like the fashions,” she says.
Think of it this way: What’s shown on the runway is conceptual. And the best of what’s available for the public is both stylish and wearable.
The Spanish import brand MNG, also known as Mango, does a good job of translating designer fashion for trendy dressers. At MNG, Blue Girls’ super-short, body-conscious floral dress (shown in the far left photo above) has been converted into a reasonably conservative dress. And, if wearing Dolce & Gabbana’s super-sexy stripe shirt over a micro miniskirt is too extreme on the street, you can match a similar blouse with a pair of long pants. Similarly, the military look can be softened by choosing a pair of pants made from a silky fabric that is tapered at the ankle. “People can coordinate several items with a variety of looks,” notes a Mango sales director.
This spring, Korean brands, including BASIC, are introducing colorful striped camisoles that are matched with patchwork denim circa 1976.
Both MNG and A6, another local brand, are strong on cargo pants in sturdy cotton/polyester blends.
Retro polka dots are everywhere. A top local fashion designer, Gee Choon-hee, is featuring them in all sizes and colors, as are DKNY, Morriscominghome, Lynn and Eu Femme.
If you learn how to translate runway fashion into street fashion, you’ll look like a fashion plate and be comfortable in new, not-too-revealing, trendy clothes.
Here are some rules to turn runway fashion into street fashion:
* Extend micro miniskirts five inches at the hemline.
* Wear long pants when you see a top paired with a bikini bottom.
* Give transparent outfits the layered look.
* Wear an extremely low-cut dress with a sweater, jacket or shawl.
* Opt for lower, slightly altered variations of super-high stiletto heels.
* Ignore those dramatic ruffles, trains and puffs. Save them for your engagement party.
by Ines Cho
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