Launching a haute couture collection in Paris can be nerve-wracking for even the quietest designers, but not for South Korean newcomer Sohee Park, who before today’s show looked supernaturally serene. “I swear I’m really nervous!” she joked backstage. She received incredulous looks from her team. No one seemed to believe her.
Last season, Sohee caused a stir in Milan, where she presented a fabulously theatrical collection supported by Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce. Although she was a fresh graduate from Central Saint Martins in London, her showmanship was demonstrable, as was her crystal clear vision and craftsmanship.
Taking the bull by the horns, so to speak, Sohee’s debut was staged in the gilded salons of the Westin Paris-Vendôme, formerly known as the Hotel Intercontinental, where the crème de la crème of French couturiers have gave memorable performances; this is also where Saint Laurent — like Yves — used to present its unforgettable collections. The living room was bathed in dark, nocturnal light, setting the tone for the mood Sohee wanted to convey.
She didn’t opt for predictability, but took a different route to the Milan exit. “It’s always about drama and fantasy,” she explained. “But this time it’s darker, sexier. There’s a lot of black, it’s such an alluring color that gives depth and mystery. I wanted to play with the idea of shadows, so I added veils and transparencies.
Unlike last season’s chunky concoctions, the silhouette was kept body-hugging with corsetry to help achieve the hourglass shapes the designer was going for. Intricate embroideries of flowers, birds and insects were inspired by the paintings of a 19th century Korean artist. They adorned the layered chiffon and tulle trails on curvy mermaid numbers, or the sequined fringed heart-shaped bustiers of body-hugging satin dresses. A cascade of black crystals fell from the neckline of a flowing, liquid cape in absinthe green satin, which looked quite sensational. Satin was one of many upcycled fabrics from Nona Source, an online resale platform launched in 2021 by LVMH that supplies unsold textiles and leathers from the group’s Couture Houses.
There were many attractive parts in the show; though tightly edited, it emphasized Sohee’s range, as well as her alluring eye for embellishments and penchant for graceful flamboyance. Celebrity stylists should take note; it would be refreshing, and surely visually appealing, to introduce a new name to the red carpet wardrobes of their megastar headliners.