Are you back full-time in the office? To Rok Hwang’s mind, his model workforce was wearing “office essentials.” What!? Only half-dressed? As they walked around the concrete floor of the Garage Amelot, they ended up play-acting ‘working,’ sitting at desks, clustering around photocopiers, pretending to make important calls on land-lines, and peering into the kind of computer terminals not seen since the millennium.
Well, if the discussion around sober uniforms and tailoring has been one of the hot topics this Paris Fashion Week, it looks as though Hwang is a bit of a dissenter from office rules. His collection was sort of half-in with all the tailoring and classic-ish coats, and then again, very much half-out. What with all the bras, black leather bustiers and lingerie liberally sprinkled within, under, and upon his fall lineup, it appears, shall we say, that he’s not 100 percent bought into the idea of corporate dress codes.
But in fact, the reason the clothes looked like that is about a different way of working—his own. “I was inspired to call it ‘Office Essentials’ because when I thought about it, where I am, what I do in life, I’m in fact a really boring person,” said Hwang. “I just spend my whole life in the office, pattern-cutting and draping. Sometimes we say ‘the atelier,’ to make it sound posher, but it’s really an office.”
That sheds a different light on the collection, as a sort of diary of Hwang’s design process. The way he folds over waistbands, cuts shirts to stay off one shoulder, gives the illusion of doubled jeans reads as detailed and complex work—sometimes too complicated. That said, ‘gestural’ fashion is becoming a bit of a term du jour (see Jonathan Anderson), and the urge to build skew-whiff, falling down, glitched designs into our clothes may be one of the markers of our weird off-kilter times.