J J.S. Lee is no longer a wee little secret. Under BFC's New Gen scheme, she successfully raised her profile with a show in the Portico Rooms last season that seemed to get all-round unanimous praise with those lower suspended leather backpacks still etched into my brain. I was quite tickled to find that Jackie Jung Sun Lee (just in case you were wondering what the name stood for…) was heading over to Singapore for the Blueprint tradeshow to present her first resort collection namely because I'd be there also to discover it. I'm not a hardcore resort/pre-collection follower despite their retail preeminence but I find it fascinating that the move towards designing and producing four collections a year has filtered down to young designers, which makes me question whether there is this necessity for the speed and quantity of product (the Miu Miu Musing discussion last month also addressed this issue). Still, J J.S. Lee presented such a compelling collection that this didn't give the impression that this was resort filler at all and so I see this as a natural extension and introduction to what she'll come up with for S/S 12.
Jackie has made an impression with her invisible lines outlining collars, cuffs and seams with handstitching and raised surfaces. This is something that lingers on in this resort 2012 collection but there's been an overall shift towards softening her squeaky clean and minimal aesthetic. It seemed apt in hot, sticky Singapore that her collection felt more free and without restraint. Primarily, pleats are her main weapon of choice in this collection creating wafting movement that was lovely to see at her show at Blueprint in skirts that reveal thin layers that vary in length and in trousers that are wide as can be. She's also gone for a deep inverted box pleat shape on the front of trousers, a volume-adding device that I've been obsessed with since seeing Phillip Lim 3.1's A/W 11-12 collection. The pleats are either allowed to go loose to create flow and movement or they were tightly kept in place on structured jackets and shift dresses to create a texturised version of vertical and optical stripes.
There are *gasp* prints in J J.S. Lee's collection achieved through the tactile texture of navy flocking on white as well as flocked white-on-white polka dots. Add houndstooth and op-art-esque checks into the mix and you wonder how Jackie got so many different prints into one collection and still make it cohesive, considering she previously hadn't dabbled with them at all. I slightly more feminine incarnation of J J.S. Lee. It's like Jackie has wriggled her design limbs, loosening her ruler-like precision to allow flashes of coral pink and fun polka dots to creep in. Still, look at the openwork seaming creating tiny strokes in down trouser legs and jackets as well as a few of those lingering collars and it's safe to say that there are still recognisable elements that have marked J J.S. Lee out at this early stage in her career.