September 10, 2018
by Andrew Shang
Yeohlee’s starting reference was a far-reaching point from the impeccably constructed minimalist offering she put out for spring. She began by looking at the pigmentation behind metals and seashells, which led to the color-making process at Harvard’s Fogg art museum. That inspired her to inject cheery saffron, ginger and a multicolored checkered print into her typically stark wheelhouse.
“I think fashion is very informed by the times we live in,” she said after the show. “We’re in a very unusual moment and I thought it was a good time for us to celebrate togetherness and unity, and colors are happy. I thought a little happy moment is not a bad thing.”
She opened the show with a bright oversize pullover shirt with a thoughtful gathering of fabric in the back that allowed it to hang loose from the body; the same design detail appeared elsewhere on a great yellow dress. There was a playful color-blocked top-and-bottom set and a dress with frayed accents, and other injections of color via a jungle print cut into a dress with a gathered knot at the waist. “Being from the tropics I grew up with a profusion of color,” the Malaysia native continued. “I went into a very stark phase and I’ve freed myself!”
Upon closer examination, you notice a balance of contrasts, of rough and smooth, textured and plain, with many items straddling a gender-ambiguous thread. The same jungle print was cut into a jumpsuit worn by a male model, as was a striped jacket with loose-fitting pants — a style that was cut into multiple colors for guys and girls. A dramatically oversize hooded jacket, semi-sheer raincoat and loose flight suits were inspired by a project she’s working on for the Phoenix Art Museum. Yeohlee wouldn’t go as far to say that she’s launching men’s wear, but it would be a natural extension to her unfettered modernist approach to design.