By  on April 6, 2010

To the list of young Korean and Korean-American designers in New York, such as Grace Sun, Gryphon’s Aimee Cho and Sonia Yoon of Bensoni, there’s a new name to add: Yuna Yang.

The 32-year-old Yang, born in Seoul, caught the fashion bug from her mother early on. “She’s very into fashion and a very big fan of Chanel,”the designer says. “My grandmom, too. Korean women are like Italians. They never go out without makeup and [without] being fully dressed.” Still, Yang didn’t set her sights on a career in design until after she graduated from Ewha Womans University in Seoul with a degree in fine arts — and shifted locales. In 2001, she moved to Milan to study Italian — “I was always interested in the language and the culture” — and soon found herself under the spell of the fast-paced fashion capital. “I loved walking around the boutiques on [Via] Montenapoleone,” says Yang, who then enrolled in a yearlong program at Istituto Marangoni design school and worked for Alviero Martini before heading to London, in 2003, to study at Central Saint Martins. While there, she interned for Clements Ribeiro and Ann-Sofie Back. “Ann really opened my eyes,” says Yang. “I loved her [experimental] cuts.”

Fall marks the second season for Yang, who names Christian Lacroix as one of her biggest fashion influences. Her sensibility, like his, keeps to a fairly ladified and romantic tack.

“A strong woman doesn’t have to be aggressive,” she explains. “She can be soft and feminine at the same time.”

Her ideal muse? Louise Brooks, whose 1929 film “Pandora’s Box” provides the thematic arc for her current collection. Yang is quick to note, however, that Brooks’ debauched character (she kills a man and dies a prostitute) wasn’t the season’s inspiration.

“To be honest, I didn’t like her,” says Yang. “I love the old clothing she wore. It’s all ruffles and sexy slip dresses.”

While the collection, which is produced entirely in Manhattan, doesn’t work an overt Twenties vibe, there are touches of that era throughout. There’s plenty of lacework, for example, whether trimming a tweed suit or in delicate tiered ruffles on a sheer shirtdress.

Other key looks included cashmere coats, asymmetric jackets and ruffled eveningwear. So far, New York’s Début boutique has picked up the line, which wholesales from $160 for a jersey T-shirt dress to $1,800 for an organza gown.

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