Set against the industrial backdrop of the Espace Commines, the South Korean label’s first French presentation reinvented fashion’s greatest hits for the age of fluidity
When creative director Myoungsin Lee first picked the name of what, years later, would become her breakout South Korean brand LOW CLASSIC, she knew exactly what she was doing. Playing around with the word game captured by the combination of “low” and “classic” – two antipodes whose union stands for a nonchalant, effortless experience of evergreen fashion – the designer instantly set the tone for the unfolding of her ambitious fashion adventure.
Launched in Seoul back in 2009, the label prides itself on being one of the first designer brands to have taken over the country’s runways, entertainment productions, creative collaborations and e-commerce market alike. Now intent on spreading the reach of its utilitarian, instant cult-like aesthetic far beyond Korea’s national borders with Lee at its helm, LOW CLASSIC has just had its baptism of fire into global fashion as part of Paris Fashion Week’s Spring/Summer 2024 calendar. Needless to say, we couldn’t miss it.
Hosted within the minimalistic, industrial frame of the Parisienne Espace Commines, an iconic, 19th-century architectural space nestled in the beating heart of the French capital, LOW CLASSIC’s SS 2024 offering ingeniously straddled the balance between tradition and contemporaneity, the whimsical and the habitual immersing the audience in a feast for the senses. Meticulously crafted so as to reinterpret the timelessness of fashion’s classics through the filter of the metaverse and brought to life by a charismatic cast of muses, the garments took Korean linear, sophisticated style centre stage through a coming and going of soft shapes, textural combinations and colours. Realised across a warm range of neutrals spanning the shades of grey, beige, palest orange, black and white, the clothing selection amplified the venue’s essential aesthetic. Occasionally adorned with seasonal prints, the spotlighted pieces drew inspiration from both artistic and real-life elements, including dystopian urban landscapes, antique Spanish vases and the organic motifs of floristry.
Lee’s uncompromising vision for the future of her brainchild manifested itself in a celebration of layering that saw oversized maxi-shoulders coats, blazers as well as biker and bomber jackets being paired with clear-cut, monochromatic suits, wide-leg culottes and pleated longuette skirts in an unexpected twist. At once playful and smart, refined and elaborated, LOW CLASSIC’s new collection embraced the ideas of realness and body consciousness delicately emphasising the models’ natural silhouettes and bold personality.
Melding the feminine and the masculine to reflect today’s ever-shifting and fluid understanding of identity, the skin-tight pieces fronted in this seasonal presentation – from simple, yet superbly designed midi and maxi dresses, wrap skirts and bodysuits to two-pieces sets moulded out of contrasting fabrics and textures. A testament to Lee’s ability to translate her forward-thinking approach to fashion into the most disparate textiles, whether wool, shiny silk, knitted fiber or sheer jersey, the looks brought to the public in yesterday’s immersive showcase spoke of the multifaceted essence and chameleonic geist of the LOW CLASSIC persona: an individual whose captivating aura materialises through and in direct dialogue with their styling choices. Complementing the sinuous garments unveiled in the label’s debut Paris Fashion Week show, the jewellery appearing throughout the presentation added a touch of brightness to the predominantly colour-block feel of the season. Pastel-shaded, knitted arm warmers, great leather boots of all lengths and types and a new bag line, Cube, conveyed yet another dimension to Lee’s many-sided exploration of womanhood.
For the event the Espace Commines was ‘decorated' with 4 installation screens, fragmenting the protagonists of the event into as many alter egos. Showing fragments and faces of the models with a closer look, as to heighten the designs of Lee’s latest collection as they went on to fill the building. This visual element – more akin to an experimental art showcase than to a fashion gathering – absorbed the attendees in a dystopian atmosphere as a contrasting soundtrack blending classic, ethereal strings with distorted sounds propagated across the hosting location. Touched by Paris’ gloomy daylight as projected onto the scene through the glass ceiling of the events space, the models engaged the audience in a performative catwalk that broke the fourth wall, nullifying the gap between the runway and the spectators. Proudly making their way towards the public across multiple trajectories, LOW CLASSIC’s muses stood as an emblem of the house’s desire to sew the distance between Seoul and the world – innovation and tradition – in a breakthrough moment that cemented the label as an exciting newcomer on the on the Paris fashion scene. www.lowclassic.com
Words by Gilda Bruno