“Six-by-six [inch] pockets; 12-by-12 sleeves without armholes, and a 36-by-36 platform for the show that is six inches high,” explained Yeohlee Teng of her fascination with “Mathe-magic,” as she calls it. “These considerations control the form and inform the shape.” And what one might even call an obsession was, most significantly, evident in her spring Yeohlee collection — sometimes dramatically, but often with subtlety.
Nothing in the lineup was without in-depth consideration given to its construction. Seams were used instead of darts; a fabric’s grain lines were carefully moved around in contrasting ways that added shadows and light to the surface of, for instance, a beautiful, dark navy silk faille sheath. But Teng’s focus for spring was on the melding of volume and form. She illustrated that fusion in a bonded wool coat with huge theatrical sleeves and a simple but cleverly cut white dress. These might have lacked the ease of some of her other looks. But after the final cut they, too, captured the movement that is so important to Teng.
None of the heady stuff was visible in some of her strongest silhouettes: the relaxed white crepe sheaths with elbow-length sleeves; the terrific pinstripe-slender skirts; and the black rainskirt that was cut like a circular tablecloth. The designer appears to heed the words of Richard Martin, former Costume Institute curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, who praised her approach to fabric and silhouette by saying she is “resisting the untoward and unnecessary cut.” Teng said she simply wants to “add to the fashion vocabulary.”