Sunday, November 8, 2009

Equilibrium of Contrasts

To Long-Nam is a young, Paris-based designer who feels elusive in the best possible way, like cherry blossom “season” in Manhattan, or the lone perfect blazer in our size in the recesses of a small boutique. We admit that we feel a bit giddy to have a range from his Autumn/Winter 2009 collection at Debut New York presently. These capture all that is wonderful about discovering a new designer skilled in the creation of classic-yet-not.

Inky wool “suiting” pieces include draped, meticulously seamed and finished blazers with a hint of equestrian tailoring, and faint echoes of the European masters of construction. A hand-pleated organza tuxedo blouse is intensely delicate, but offers a modern compromise with a knitted, adjustable fold over neckline. A perfect sheath in white silk with a night-black inset down the front has a looping seam detail around the right shoulder, which offsets the stark palette without detracting from the simplicity and straight-forward nature of the design.

Structured yet somehow liquid silhouettes exemplify Long-Nam’s use of contrasting elements to create a harmonious design language. We feel this serves as a solid foundation for the essentials that arrive in spurts in this world – Jil Sander and Helmut Lang for instance now both erstwhile from their namesake brands – and Long-Nam, we hope, will be here for the duration.

* This jacket is the most intricate: a "waist coat" blazer in black wool/cashmere 

* A silk shift with seam detail and black contrast inset

* Black wool/silk contoured blazer

* These three are easily the most deceptively simple: the white button down is a classic "perfect" shape; however notice the contoured sleeve; the organza "tuxedo" blouse features a knitted turtleneck with hidden snaps for an adjustable fit; the classic wool crewneck is light weight and its contoured shoulder seams offer a subtle differentiation.

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