To show or not to show? That is the question many are asking in these tough times. Having staged an intimate show last season, the pragmatic Ashlynn Park decided that for fall she’d dedicate the time that would have been spent on runway rigmarole towards realizing her heart’s desire: a return to her haberdashery roots.
Park’s first job out of school was working on menswear for Yohji Yamamoto; she did the same for Raf Simons at Calvin Klein. “I felt endless joy doing menswear patterns and then designing for men,” she said on a walk-through. “It was a new world for me as a woman, new discovery, endless questions.” The designer maintains an inquiring mind, and the solve she worked for this season was creating a stand-alone line for guys and bringing elements of that into the women’s line. Park has done tailoring before but she really went deep into the subject and brought us all along for the ride via her use of deconstruction. A russet colored coat, for example, revealed its cotton linen linings and internal structures. Tailoring is a kind of architecture after all. Other pieces in the lookbook were styled back-to-front or worn inside-out to emphasize the make of the clothes.
The designer’s second mission was to come up with her brand’s uniform: she settled on a neatly cropped jacket revealing the flutter of a white shirt poking out under it, and a skort; a garment that had the duality that was the overall theme of the collection.
Spring saw the introduction of Ashlyn’s puzzle blouse. The designer continued perfecting it, and this season applied it to a meticulously mitred gray pinstripe dress as well as a plain black one. The myriad pieces were placed to create a Charles James-ian kind of dimensionality, but without horsehair or heaviness. Ashlyn’s menswear launch is similarly being teased this season, and will be perfected and further developed until Park is ready to take it to market, but the conversation between the two lines is a trenchant and engaging one.
Flou was not neglected in the fall line-up. Adding a touch of color was a rich burgundy V-neck dress in satin-back crepe. Park’s alternative to a smoking look was a white draped dress worn over a black shirt with an asymmetric collar in a contrasting material. It looked both like a fashion plate from the days when Paul Poiret reigned, and also had the elegant, unstructured effortlessness that women want today.