One, two, three, four, step, turn. The models’ choreography at Kuho’s Saturday presentation at Industria, Studio 10, was as precise and deliberate as designer Hyunjung Kim’s collection.
Kuho, a powerhouse in Asia, operates 66 stores in South Korea, and is expected to do sales of $100 million this year, said Jean Colin, vice president of the global expansion team at Samsung C&T Fashion Group, a division of Samsung, which owns Kuho. The contemporary label, which in September 2016 showed its collection in the U.S. for the first time during New York Fashion Week, is more determined than ever to build its presence in America and has been trying to gain international distribution.
Kuho is selling to Nordstrom; Bergdorf Goodman; Ssense, the online and digital retailer that sells independent and luxury brands, and operates a flagship in Toronto; Club 21 in Singapore, and Hong Kong-based retailer Lane Crawford.
“We’re looking for more wholesale distribution,” Colin said, adding that Kuho would eventually like to open its own stores in the U.S. “It’s better for us to have more visibility. The brand really speaks to the contemporary customer. The entry price point appeals to all age groups. Our customers are not so young, and not so old.”
“I’ve designed for Kuho for 20 years,” said Kim. “I grew up with the brand. My concept for spring is the idea of taking a stroll. I’ve been thinking that we should take more walks, so I started to imagine taking a stroll. I want you to picture yourself in the park with the wind blowing and the flowers blooming.”
The raw space at Industria’s Studio 10 was divided into a series of rooms for Kuho’s spring presentation. Models in the biggest area stood behind a white scrim, their right-moving dance prompted by music. The scrim put everything into soft focus, including an abstract yellow, lime, navy and white patterned fabric, which was used for a slipdress, trenchcoat, camisole and skirt.
Kim went big with mesh, using it for T-shirts that could be layered over other garments, such as a purple turtleneck top and a full-length sleeveless purple mesh dress, worn over a solid dress in the same color. The designer’s whimsical side came through in a bubble gum pink bomber jacket that was worn with brushed pink cropped pants, a pink collared shirt and green apple-colored sweater with raindrop-shaped holes.
“I strive for details to create feminine looks,” said Kim, noting that pink, fresh lime and orange are among her colors picks for the season. Asked if there’s a key item for spring, she said, “I would say, appreciate pants for spring.”
Kim borrowed details from athleticwear, running racing stripes down pant legs and skirts, and zippers on pant legs like track pants. The utilitarian streak continued with a white cropped jacket and white full-length style that looked like elevated windbreakers.
An orange sleeveless dress with a ruched neckline and cinched waist was simplicity itself, while a gray and orange chevron-striped fabric was used in a sleeveless dress with front inverted pleat; blouse with oversize sleeves and pants, and a halter dress.