Rokh kicks off Paris fashion week with Teenage Nightmare
The latest talent young hopeful to stage a much anticipated catwalk show in Paris is Rok Hwang, a Korean brought up in Texas, whose brand name is Rokh.
Rok’s youth in Austin, the great university town of the state of Texas, and its quiet black at night flatlands led to the collection’s title – Teenage Nightmare.
Adding to the dark mood, Rok staged his show in an obscure basement just off Boulevard Haussmann, a former supermarket where many of the Parisian editors had shopped for cereal and detergent. An absurdly tight runway and a dramatic soundtrack featuring the theme music to Hitchcock’s "Pyscho" by Bernard Herrmann added to the intense atmosphere.
Monsieur Hwang has obviously plenty of talent and design chops. He was a finalist last year in the LVMH Prize. And plenty of experience: he used to work for Phoebe Philo when the Paris house was known as Céline; and did stints at both Louis Vuitton and Chloé.
Rok Hwang’s clothes may at times be too complicated but they pack punch.
He began strongly with one truly brilliant blazer meets flamenco dress in Pacific blue and wowed with several faux zebra print skirts topped with crisp gray mini jackets. He put climbers’ chains and pinions in his invite, and attached similar metal objects to the cast’s ears, throats and collars. Playing with deconstruction, he inverted check gentleman’s coats into long skirts and chopped up duffle coats into various panels just about held together by toggles.
In the end, however, this was a somewhat tricky catwalk birth, where the concept often overpowered the garment. Moreover, several looks – in particular some contrasting print silk dresses - were too close to ideas we have seen before at Balenciaga.
That said, Rok does have vision and a following. Tell me how many other young designers already retail in 120 sales points world wide before their debut show? Remarkable, seeing as Hwang only launched his line in 2016.
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