There hasn't been a new-new name knocking around the blog for a while now and so it's time to rectify that with a look at the Korean-born, London-based Rejina Pyo, whose exhibition "Structural Mode" at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen grabbed me instantly. Her MA collection of ceremonial colour-blocked gowns and wooden totem sculptures that sometimes obscured the face led her to work with Roksanda Ilincic as first assistant as well as do a filtered small collaboration for the Swedish store Weekday (hurrah – they're now shipping to Europe). As a winner of the Nefkens Fashion Award 2012, judged by Penny Martin of The Gentlewoman and Viktor & Rolf, Pyo created seven pieces that deliberately traversed the lines between sculpture and fashion, using metal and plastic. The use of colour was a brilliant continuation from her bold MA collection but it's the starkly curved dress form shapes – rigid and purposefully unwearable – which remind me a little of the "magnifique" metal forms in the opening sequence of the William Klein film Qui √™tes-vous Polly Maggoo?, that really make this such a memorable fashion/art crossover.
From that exhibition last year, Pyo has since presented her S/S 13 and A/W 13-4 collections which are a deliberate departure from her previous exercising of stark form and colour use. Her S/S 13 collection is a dip into the infinitely more wearable with sheer fabrics, pale prints and sturdy chambray. Her A/W 13-4 collection however meets somewhere in the middle where Pyo plays with proportions, dropping and rounding off the shoulders as well as fiddling around with odd fabric choices. With the rich jacquards, faux mink and classic sombre colour combinations, much of the collections feels like a reinterpretation of prim n' proper 1950s code of elegant attire. They're like updated versions of moth-bitten coats that you might find on old estate sales. Where real fur has emerged as a dominant material for the A/W season, it's nice to see the fake stuff used in a way that gives you the illusion of clothes that might be seen on the upper East Side crust, but make you giggle a bit when laminated cotton panels or circles of faux fur come curving in at the chest area (never fails to amuse me how a boob cut-out/panel insertion instantly brings up Regina George's from Mean Girls). It's that controlled and rigorous attitude towards silhouette, which runs throughout Pyo's work from her MA to her current collections, that puts her in good stead for the future though.