Yeohlee Teng’s finest hour is always during her fall collections, perhaps because her brand of creative intelligence usually comes across strongest in her coats and jackets. The venue was the apartment of art collector, Andrea Woodner, which was hung with paintings by Rodin, Seurat, Braque and Matisse.
Subtlety is what underscores each Teng exit. She returned to her fabric archives to revisit the luxurious camel hair she used years ago. This season, she cut the cloth into a cozy wrap topper with sleeves that were dramatically rendered beyond a dolman cut. A long cocoon coat had the ease of a robe, tossed over a brown, cleverly stitched nylon quilted vest, navy Gibson top and yoke pants in navy and white wool ticking. The designer worked with sleek proportions, fabric and color mixes, layering shorter jackets over longer ones, all with a chic nonchalance. The beauty of a Yeohlee silhouette is that this ease is visible; the craftsmanship and her “no waste” approach to fabric is not. Right now, this “no waste” policy has come to mean more than just a designer’s economic use of fabric. “I see it in terms of conserving time and energy as well,” says Teng. “I’m having a very thoughtful time. Where are we going? What do we need? What clothing will empower and comfort?” Hmm. I could point to a couple of Yeohlee’s terrific looks, though I’m not sure if they hit a high empowerment bar or not: a black felted knitted wool jacket with kimono sleeves that snap at the wrists, creating a narrowly constructed shape; the wool and mohair jacket and wrap coat in a gray and black plaid jacquard melange of tweeds and twill over wool-crescent pants or jersey jogging versions. “I want these clothes to have a presence,” Teng said. That they do.