London-based designer Edeline Lee presented in New York for the first time at the Neue Galerie. Her pre-fall collection drew from objects in the gallery’s current exhibition “Wiener Werkstatte 1903 to 1932: The Luxury of Beauty,” the first comprehensive retrospective in America devoted to the Vienna Workshops.
Set in a tone of ladylike polish, the looks held more abstract influences from the artists than direct ones. A sleek black dress, for instance, was trimmed with ruffle flounces referencing fish tails on a Carl Otto Czeschka box; the squares of low-hanging ribbon ties of a shirt to a Hoffmann beer glass; and the bell sleeves of a prim green dress to a Philip Hausler table lamp. The only overt reference was an Egyptian eye motif by Klimt on the hem of a retro shift dress and skirt.
Without knowing the artistic references, the takeaway was quirky decorative elements that livened up minimal silhouettes. The epaulets on a black top provided structure with restraint, as did the architecturally pinned sleeves of a soft red dress. “It’s not always easily visible, but what I did was take a modernist form,” Lee said. “There’s an element of control.”