Designer Ike Seungik Lee trained as a sculptor, and infuses these skills into Starsica’s highly wearable yet conceptual sartorial expressions. The label’s AW18 catwalk show took on his signature experimental approach to fashion with a dramatic flair; invitations arrived with the plots of Siren’s three songs (metamorphosis into a bird; Odysseus escaping the temptation of Siren and her song; the king throws Siren out of a window although she can’t fly).
’Seirēn sings for a Mad King’ began with conceptual story, and gave a unique spin to the phenomena of otherness in a show that was very much a theatrical performance. Though Siren and the songs she sings are chosen for their significance, it’s how the Mad King interprets her words that we see on the catwalk.
The collection elaborates on Greek tragedy in the vein of Homer’s ‘Illiad’ and ‘Odyssey’ as a fashion monologue, with Lee’s own brand of playful and modern twists. Models danced down the catwalk in ensembles embellished with semiotic symbols; sunny yellow faux fur sweatshirts paired with corded velvet pleated trousers, exaggerated lime green overcoats topped with sky blue capelets, and oversized knitwear covered in hearts, stars, and birds. Embroidered patterns stood out in sculptural hard reliefs against charcoal grey suits, angels echoed in epaulets and in a pair of condensed and sculpted wings atop a dark overcoat.
Glen check patterns and statement sleeves created a juxtaposition of the cohesive characteristics of Siren and the Mad King, highlighted with soft romantic silhouettes on gothic curved hemlines, scribble prints, and splashes of gold. The collection was dramatic and the colour palette extensive, with everything from teal tartans to textured florals, blush pink, and steely greys with soft lilacs. Simultaneously moody and dramatic, dreamy and ethereal, Ike Seungik Lee has perfectly encapsulated and wrapped up elements of whimsy, romance, and tragedy on the catwalk this season.