The British designer was a guest at Seoul Fashion Week, staging a show which mixed beauty and ugliness, good and bad taste
On Friday, inside Zaha Hadid’s “alien spaceship”-like Dongdaemun Design Plaza, British designer Ashley Williams presented her Spring/Summer 2020 collection as part of Seoul Fashion Week.
At the show, Williams – who is praised for her off-kilter, often tongue-in-cheek approach to womenswear – toyed with ideas of beauty and ugliness, good and bad taste, girlishness and something altogether darker.
“We were trying to work with a lot of things that clash and trying to find the balance between them. We used a lot of girly, fluffy elements, mixed with darker imagery,” she said shortly after the event. “We were finding the right balance of mixing everything and mushing it together.”
Styled by Danny Reed and Danielle Emerson, the collection featured fluffy elements in abundance, along with cobwebs and cow prints, Dalmatian prints and diamanté (again, in abundance), skull and “SPERM” motifs, tattoo tights and the designer’s famous ‘Tina Cat’ bag. It’s a credit to Williams’ talent as a designer that she can take these disparate and diverse elements and turn them into something coherent and complete.
The casting only added to this – Williams showcased the collection on a cast of local models, with a kaleidoscope of hair colours. “We all wanted to use all-Korean, all-Asian girls because we’re in Seoul,” Williams explained. “It’s one of my favourite castings we’ve done; it’s amazing, I love them. They are all so nice and look so good in the clothes. I’m really happy.”
As for the soundtrack, she opted for Nothing Compares 2 U by Sinéad O’Connor, a song which she described as “poppy and fun, but also a bit emo” – which could also be the perfect summation of this brilliant show.
But Williams’ show wasn’t the only exciting moment at Seoul Fashion Week; at Kye, creative director Kathleen Kye channelled the spirit of yeehaw in a “casual chic” collection that riffed on western-wear. Other standouts included Caruso, Han Chul Lee, Seokwoon Yoon, Stolen Garment, the aptly named Greatest and a perennial Seoul Fashion Week favourite, Munn.
All images taken with iPhone 11 Pro.