ROKH FALL/WINTER 2021 SHOW
I have always started each collection by revisiting my memories. This season I began by revisiting the story of Rokh. The multi-cultural nature of my past—having been born in Korea, raised in America, studied and worked in London and Paris—made me who I am. All the random encounters and random identities I’ve possessed have defined my style. But I wanted to re-analyse our codes, the unique language we use to design. From the beginning we have focused on craft and construction, but I wanted to more closely highlight our process, which begins with a considered study of clothing.
I tend to divide things into categories, and in my mind, each category of clothing exists in its own universe. The evening dress, the everyday jean, the trench coat, the tailored suit: Each has its own existence and purpose. I want to examine each one, break it down, and reimagine it for Rokh. Once every individual element is complete, we combine them to give birth to a new wardrobe. It’s like building an omniverse, where these distinct spheres can come together. So, there are many layers of thought—an eclectic mix of different pieces, a random sense of style, newly developed textiles and textures—that all come together into one collection.
In the blank concrete space of a brewing factory, we shot the collection without frills to highlight the movement of each garment. There is a sharpness to this season, beginning with the first series of fitted black skirt suits, including a new petite jacket with a cobweb of cut-outs. There are two skirts with asymmetric knife pleats. I constructed them free hand on the body, slicing the layers at different levels until I found the right one. I think you can imagine how I cut it in studio. That is the beauty I see in my clothing. It looks almost unfinished, mid-process, so you can envision the hand still at work.
Even when the silhouette is traditionally reserved, I want to add a youthful perspective. I want to use creative cuttings to take familiar forms and make them unfamiliar. This study of construction was key to this collection: Taking a complex pattern and creating a clean outcome. Creating movement and volume, but also constructing a sharp fit.
Classic Rokh looks live alongside statement pieces like a knit bodysuit and skirt with three tiers of silver fringe cascading down the front and silver and camel-toned leopard print eco-faux fur coats. There’s a degree of randomness, of clash and contrast. Like the lace corset top and the ultra high-waisted jean skirt, cut from denim that was stonewashed, acid-washed, and sand-blasted by artisans in Portugal. Panelled pencil skirts are sewn from heritage men’s suit fabric and paired with filmy black lace tops. There are three couture dresses—lace and pearls and tulle, beaded and embroidered by hand over the course of six months—worn with raw-edged jeans.
The aim, as always, was to create a full woman’s wardrobe within the Rokh worldview. To create something familiar yet unfamiliar for every occasion, across any universe.
— Rok Hwang, Rokh