For a brand called System, South Korean designer Hee Soo Kim wants to shake it up. He looked to the androgyny of early 20th-century painter Romaine Brooks, particularly “Peter (A Young English Girl),” for a gender-fluid collection.
The collection was titled “Uncertainty,” and Kim set out to blur the boundaries. “I wanted to find a uniform that is for women or men, not divided,” he said backstage after the show. Brooks and her works were inspiring because she “refused to give a label” to herself or others.
More from WWD
Cue structured coats and parkas, straight-cut trousers and oversize bombers. Trousers were either long and slightly pooled or tucked into boots with an equestrian twist. Other looks included faux leather outerwear, knitwear and cowl neck wraps.
Brooks’ tonal palette of grays also played into the collection of soft, muted colors. With so much uncertainty swirling about in the world, Kim wanted to play with texture to create a gauzy protectiveness around the body, with fuzzy looped cotton jeans, chunky wool scarves and faux fur sweatshirts.
Shoes too were constructed of faux fur, for some fuzzy flats and boots you could pet.
It’s notable that South Korea’s conservative government abolished its gender equality ministry last year, and has more well-defined gender codes. Kim is intent on pushing those boundaries, and it fits well with his expansive retail vision. While the line is fully manufactured in South Korea, he has his sights set abroad.
Kim said he is not thinking of a particular client or market when designing, but wants to make it something everyone can wear. “Global” is the word he repeats as his inspiration, and possibly a mantra. He started showing the brand in Paris in 2019, and the next step is its first boutique, which will open in the Marais in June.
Launch Gallery: System RTW Fall 2024
Best of WWD