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Y & Kei “Water the Earth”
Mercedes Benz Fashion Week
The Tents at Bryant Park
February 8, 2007


Written by Bob Bland
Photographed by Jose S. Vibar

Backstage at Y & Kei, designer Gene Kang made the last rounds through garments, giving quick clarifications to dressers before the show. Looking at racks of silk dresses, I saw rows of intricate seaming and details like unfinished flower petals. Hanger appeal isn’t everything, though, and the runway presentation itself revealed a collection with interesting ideas, but few standout separates.

Based in Seoul, cheerful husband-and-wife duo Gene Kang and Hanii Yoon present during New York Fashion Week every season. For Fall 2007, they offered us hits like contrasting waistcinchers and slouchy satin trousers in rich jewel tones, as well as a felted wool sheath that looked both chic and warm for winter. The drainpipe pants in moiré were unexpected and fun, but dresses and jackets in that same fabrication looked bulky and out-of-place. Details like patchwork striping in high contrast silk looked masterful on a pencil skirt, but difficult to wear on a dress collar. Missteps included trapeze coats with banded hems and bubble dresses that looked unwieldy and unflattering, as well as shrunken jacquard jackets with uncomfortable gathered waistlines.

Overall, the Y & Kei collection this season was spread too thin among concepts and silhouettes, giving the show’s observers few solid visions for fall. Pieces that were executed successfully, however, were brilliant works of fashion that would stand out in any social gathering.

Key Fabrics: silk satin, taffeta moiré, metallic cotton
Key Colors: plum, maroon, red, black, navy, pewter
Key Details: geometric patchwork stripes, rose embellishments, origami collars and folding for shape


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