September 9, 2021

by Liana Satenstein

I might need a therapy session after seeing the Yeohlee spring 2022 collection. Its title is Extinction, which was telling enough. “Life as we know it is kaput!” Yeohlee Teng told me in her studio. Top that statement off with some Lou Reed playing in the background. Sheesh. What’s the copay?

Despite the dark title, Teng was in great spirits, and her clothes matched that. All of those thoughts about humanity ending as we know it energized her typically black and white palette with colors like yellow and burgundy, along with shocks of metallic gold and silver. That rich burgundy was the skirt of a black shift dress and added great contrast. Going back to Teng’s sculptural roots, the skirt itself stuck out in the front and back, creating a tentlike silhouette. Her boyish pieces were still there, such as her classic polished trousers, which were now paneled in metallic silver material—the same fabric that firemen use in their blankets. A pair of shorts with an elastic-band waist was made out of supersoft nylon, something that Teng noted was waterproof. (There were a lot of waterproof pieces in this collection and a lot of talk about downpours—back to end-times.)

Of course, Teng’s signature, her zero-waste philosophy, which dates back to her beginnings in 1981, was present. For a black maxiskirt, she used a black-and-white checked stripe from her fall 1994 collection that was originally used for a cape. While she has always used her scraps to create new clothes, it feels like that is something the industry has only caught onto over the past few years, which Teng views as a necessary shift. “Everyone needs to take responsibility for what is happening in the world,” she said. And until the world is truly kaput, Teng’s Extinction is a good look.

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