The dominant forces behind women’s fashions and menswear agree that structure and fabrication can determine the worth of even the most seasoned designs. Jennifer Chun is a disciple of this thought, with a rapidly growing following. The emerging designer, who resides in New York City by way of Troy, Ohio, crafts her garments with an unparalleled attention to fabric and tailoring which is why her collection reads like a sartorial retrospective, with a modern slant. In Jennifer Chun’s designs, femininity is offset by crisp fabrics, graphic prints, and unexpected silhouettes; her little black dress, for example, is tempered by a Rorschach-inspired print and a mullet hemline. Chun cultivated her unique perspective while working closely with Derek Lam as an intern, who she says, “taught [her] so much about tailoring” and helped her realize her love of sportswear. Her résumé
also includes stints at Michael Kors and Brian Reyes, a spot in Gen Art’s “Fresh Faces in Fashion” show at New York Fashion Week, and press coverage from WWD
The New York Times
, W Korea
and more. We recently talked to Jennifer about Midwest style, YSL’s legacy, and the allure of tomboy accents.
Having grown up in Ohio, what’s your favorite element of the Midwest style?
There is a sensibility of comfort in the Midwest, and the layering element can keep you warm during the winter. I think that Midwest women can adapt to my designs because there is an element of looking casual, and I love to layer!
What considerations do you make when you’re designing?
Understanding the Jennifer Chun woman really is important for me as a designer. I really take into consideration who my customer is. Fabric selection is also a very significant part of the design process, as well as getting the fit perfect.
What inspired the inkblot dress for spring 2012? How did the print come into being?
A photo of Loulou de la Falaise, Betty Catroux and YSL at the opening of his store in Paris in 1969 inspired my SS12 collection. However, I wanted to make sure that the design was not so literal. [The image is] utilitarian safari and the inkblot fabric is a looser interpretation of a camouflage garment.
How should wearers accessorize your spring collection?
I love the subtle understated jewelry this season. We used chokers for our spring collection and styled the shirts buttoned up, with the jewelry sitting below the collar. A Chelsea boot really gives the collection a nice tomboy feeling that I love, and is an extension of the utilitarian influence.
What should be the foundation of any wardrobe?
A shirtdress, t-shirt dress and a well tailored blazer.
Which pieces from the spring collection are mainstays in your own wardrobe?
The embroidered lace raglan sleeve t-shirt has been a staple for me this season because it’s easy to wear casual or dressed up; and the inkblot dress is a must for me.
What do you wear on your off days? How would you describe your own style?
On working days, I’m usually in some sort of shirtdress or t-shirt dress and always some piece of outerwear. I also love wearing a voluminous skirt with pleats. My look is a little preppy with a bit of polish.
What can we expect from your collection, going forward?
The collection will evolve but there will an emphasis on fabrics and outerwear. My blouses and blazers will be signature pieces, updated each season. I would never consider the brand to be trendy, but always very wearable and relevant for many seasons after. This is why I love classic shapes, but done in my own way.
-- As told to Marissa Muller, Marketing Coordinator