FashionEdeline Lee Spring 2023 Ready-to-Wear

Edeline Lee Spring 2023 Ready-to-Wear


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Despite the London fashion community’s best efforts to reschedule shows impacted by Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, there was still a handful of designers who were unable to present their collections as initially planned. One was Edeline Lee, who was all geared up to return to the runway for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. With her longtime love of theater that has seen previous shows feature everything from contemporary dance to sound baths, one imagines she had quite the spectacle up her sleeve. Still, Lee was looking on the bright side. “At least we have it ready to go for next season,” she said cheerily, while presenting the collection in a private apartment on Harley Street.

Thankfully, the steely spirit of Lee’s collection still came through. As a go-to designer for working women, her smart gowns are eminently practical, whether thanks to her signature pebble-textured flou bubble jacquards that can be stuffed in a suitcase and emerge crinkle-free, or her booming bespoke service that allows her to offer her most popular styles in any color, all crafted in her London factory. Here, Lee’s balance of contemporary strength and traditional femininity shone. The starting point, she said, was the work of pioneering French feminist writer Hélène Cixous; more specifically, her 1975 essay “The Laugh of the Medusa,” which considers the beauty behind the horror of the famous mythical gorgon of its title. “The collection pays tribute to the beauty within that danger, to the heroism of women fighting to be themselves,” Lee said.

If that all sounds a little highfalutin, worry not, as it translated into plenty of desirable clothes. Lee’s focus on tailoring was firmly present, but she also went in some more extravagant directions: Swishy pleated skirt sets and dresses with lavishly draped skirts that featured up to 20 meters of fabric were both feather-light and flamboyant, variously inspired by everything from the gladiatorial uniforms of Amazonian warriors to the gowns of Athena in classical statuary. Most striking were the thick, stringy cables of fabric that were twisted, coiled, and draped across the gowns as a nod to the snakes of Medusa’s hair, adding a welcome touch of bombast to the designer’s razor-sharp silhouettes. Sure, it would have been lovely to see the dynamism of the clothes in movement, but Lee’s can-do attitude is admirable all the same—her loyal clientele will simply be awaiting her return to the runway even more eagerly.

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