That’s it. I’m hooked. Birthdays and funky clothes do mix! Thanks to innovative and daring designer Joy Han, I’ll be celebrating my birthdays with oomph and know what I’ll be wearing. At Fashion Week’s Voom by Joy Han show, I was cranking my neck just to get a better glance at Han’s enticing new wave of remodernized apparel. Blunt-cut fringe pieces worn with equally bright and shapely outfits immediately struck me as a winning fashion equation. Inspired by 1960s pop artist Roy Lichenstein and art deco symbolism – geometric shapes, abstraction and simplification – the duration of the show was like watching a comic strip in motion.
Bold colors and graphic patterns took center stage, making ample room for quirky accentuated accessories such as gigantic Lego hairpieces and pseudo lunchbox purses. The classic old school details rocked the main tent: big polka dots, ruffles, button adornments, pinstripes, high-waisted pencil skirts, and plaid and checkered standouts. Red, blue and yellow were the popular brights generously pigmenting the fabrics of the designer’s upbeat line. Black and white, as always, was the omnipresent monochromatic color combination du jour, mixed in tastefully and adding stark contrast to a strong primary colors palette. Being the unconventional designer that she is, Han did good by adding a few more hues to the Lichenstein rainbow.. extreme plums and magentas stood out fabulously as did that additional green Lego. Black leather headphones looked effortlessly cool atop prom-ready hairdos, upping the retro 60s vibe and upping the volume literally. Han’s models, a striking multi-ethnic crew, marched onto the scene with a characteristic confidence that bounced right off their clothes. With “It’s Your Birthday” thumping in the background, the well-dressed party guests had enough voltage to last through the cake and on to the afterparty lounge.
Han designed a clean and undeniably American line based on our accessible pop culture. This is a working world where women are gravitating more towards quick fixes without having to compromise their personal style. Anyone could don her unflashy white frock or throw on a pinstriped or plain red cropped jacket to impress. Han’s style references are clean-cut and classic, surprising fashion savvy generations with an unpretentious throwback to the outrageous trends of the 60s and 80s.
In comparison to last spring’s show, I noticed pure colors and simpler designs. Han has graduated from showcasing darling baby doll dresses with eyelet lace details and cutesy jumpsuits to presenting a simplified line to her contemporaries. By staying true to classic pieces (American staples such as mock turtlenecks, form-fitting pants, tube tops, perfectly short shorts and the timeless trenchcoat) Han seems to be designing for the stylish and practical woman, which is what I think every woman should be. While I missed seeing the adorable vintage shifts that define a Voom lady, the modernity of solid colors and sleek silhouettes appealed to me immensely as well. The canary yellow dress with asymmetrical strap across the collarbone struck me as the quintessential spring dress. Modeled in a stunning yellow, the design won me over with its uber-simplicity in cut and style. I thought the strap detail differentiated it from the other dresses by conveying the demure message of guarding one’s heart. The angle at which the strap line rests suggests a cross against her chest. A sucker for meaning and simplicity, I have been dreaming of this dress in my size and wearing it to a high tea bridal shower. For a more elegant evening, I would want to slip into the silk gown worn by the model with beauty to match. This dress has Asian-Parisian flair that draws immediate attention to the décolletage and the cascade of precisely cut fabric that flowed throughout the body. Details are both delicate and pronounced, heightening the breathtaking creation which displays a very interesting study of contrasts. Han must have been going for a futuristic look with its aristocratic-rebel chic edge and injection of asian influences, and I love it! The headphone wire dangling over shoulder and dramatic red bangs add a bit of techno to a dress that speaks romance from afar.. a dress you can wear to the theatre or when he wines and dines you. The graphic black-and-white checkered design spirals into a kaleidoscopic pattern from the waist down, elongating and accentuating any woman's figure.
Funky meant mixing and matching a popular hybrid of styles. My favorite was the Gwen Stefani lookalike with her platinum blonde hair and ingénue rasta girl flair. I really liked the striped bikini top over ribbed tank combo which the model’s saucy innocence pulled off wonderfully. Striped bikini bottoms paired with mini bubble sleeve jackets gave a fresh twist to funkadelic as did all the great accessories. Notable pieces were the belt with fabricated belt buckle, choker and headphones. Worn against fiery reds and hot pinks, the black accessories imparted modish neutralizing touches. Shoes fit right into the funky category as well: white patent leather ankle boots with side buttons, platform heels with plaid trimmings and funkiest of all, spiky heels with black and red elastic straps. Silk skirts with artfully tied sashes reminded me of the sarongs worn in Southeast Asia. Paired with monochromatic tube tops, the skirts elevated the hip factor with their two-toned checkerboard designs. Lacy dresses with colored underlining and plain ensembles livened up with ruffles were a definite nod to Edwardian frills. When it came to mix-and-matching, there is no denying that Han’s finished looks emulated original pop art by way of innovative fashions.
Never leaving sexy behind, Han included in her line two versions of silk slip dresses that stood out from the bright collection. These slip dresses were designed with zebra prints and exuded a sexy sophistication. If examined closely, the animal print is abstract until you see the zebra at the bottom center. It is this kind of clever designing that sets Han apart from mainstream designers. She can take a motif and turn it into something unique and at the same time universally appealing.
Voom by Joy Han was the highlight of my week at the fashion shows. Watching her show made me want to go home and see what I could do to revive my wardrobe with color and the touches of whimsy that have become Han’s signature style. The line was a conglomerate of what I already like so naturally I was inspired by her cues to modern, hip, and fun.
Voom’s Spring 2008 Collection showcased eclectic styles for today’s versatile modern woman. After all, who doesn’t want to look good when she’s busy at work as she does when she’s out having the fun she deserves? Han said she designs for the “young at heart” and carefree, independent spirits. The birthday theme was very original and fitting. I, for one, envision the ideal, sophisticated 21st century woman wearing her clothing and throwing big birthday bashes at the end of the day. After enjoying the triumphant rounds at Voom by Joy Han, I’m sure every woman wanted to dress the part.
For more Voom, check out www.voombyjoyhan.com