Son Jung Wan’s Fall/Winter 2023 ‘Enchanting Romance,’ a front row perspective
By Bella Omar
Son Jung Wan (@sonjungwan on Instagram), a Korean-born designer began her career with one shop in 1989, only a few years after studying design at International Mode in Seoul.
This eventually turned into her eccentric collections being sold worldwide.
Having gained national attention, Son Jung Wan’s designs have been showcased at New York Fashion Week every year since 2011 and in Paris.
This recognition from the fashion world in addition to celebrities like long-time fan Brooke Shields, has grown the brand into one of Korea’s leading designers - exceeding over 60 million USD in sales annually.
This year’s fall and winter collection “Enchanting Romance” lived up to its name, given the minimalist silhouettes brought to life with metallic puffers, sheer slips, and colorful faux fur.
With a grand total of 41 total looks, “Son Jung Wan was inspired by peak of ’90s minimalism and brought back her own spirit,” according to the show’s program. “[She] emphasized the ironic attempts of quintessential ’90s fashion trends with futuristic elements and closed with a dash of glam.”
The color palette was consistent and earnest, with each cool-toned shade capturing a feeling Son Jung Wan wanted to get across to her audience. Ranging from vital “Apricot Crush” to cheerful “Digital Lavender,” the colors were all beautifully carried across the wide variety of pieces. These feelings associated with each shade were unveiled by the change in lengths and materials with each color phase passed.
After being sat down next to Tanaye White (@tanayedubz on Instagram) and Theme NYC (@theme_nyc on Instagram), I was pleasantly surprised to find a neon pink gift bag under my seat containing nothing less than a Son Jung Wan puffer purse in timeless “Sustained Grey,” with puffer being a signature material in this season’s collection.
The show opened with Look 1, described in the program as an “Apricot crush padded dress with faux fur pink sleeves styled with gold sequined shorts.” This brightly colored start was surprising for a fall and winter collection, even more surprising was the next five looks also being fashioned out of the same “Apricot Crush” colored fabrics in addition to summery cropped lengths.
This palette evolved into an alternation between “Galactic Cobalt” and other shades of blue for the next 15 looks, the last of this ensemble being a dusty blue coat with lilac faux fur sleeves that were embellished with Swarovski crystals. In addition to toned down coats, gunmetal metallics, and even chainmail garments made an appearance, giving these pieces an almost space-age look.
As the models walked down the runway, I could not help but notice how everyone sported a low positioned and low volume, minimalistic ponytail, allowing dramatic necklines and shoulder padding to steal the show. This aspect of the collection, while minimalistic, exhibited Son Jung Wan’s meticulous attention to detail, given how identical they all were.
The color palette continued to grow more muted, graduating from shades of blue to a homogenous lilac for five looks. The lilacs were all ornamented with either faux fur or iridescent fabrics, maintaining that futuristic feeling.
Finally, the last nine looks were all combinations of clean creams, whites and blacks, losing all pigment. While the colors dissipated, the garment structures did not lose any of their drama, with floor length gowns, cashmere, and shawls all making an appearance before the show closed.
And finally, Son Jung Wan herself came out and took a bow at the top of the runway.