Jennifer Chun’s namesake label, launched in 2010, is a playfully sophisticated collection of chic and wearable pieces. South Korean born Chun was raised in Troy, Ohio, before moving to New York City to pursue her love of fashion design. She left behind a pre-law degree training to follow this passion, which saw her working in the design houses of Brian Reyes, Derek Lam and Michael Kors. Chun reflects: “Michael Kors, Brian Reyes and Derek Lam are such different designers. They have very different creative processes.” The impact of these experiences on Chun was to allow her to develop her own sense of who she wanted to be, “to really curate that aesthetic”. She further explains, “When I decided to begin my own line, it gave me confidence that I could set myself apart from other things going on in the industry at the time.”
Inspiration for Chun’s spring 2012 collection comes from a photo of Yves Saint Laurent, Betty Catroux and Loulou de la Falaise taken at the opening of the Rive Gauche boutique in London in 1969. “I wanted to do a utilitarian inspired collection” Chun tells me. “The photo shows a ready to wear, casual element to the safari/utilitarian concept that I relate to”.
Chun envisages the woman who wears her designs to be “intuitive and cultivated”. Indeed her collection feels quite European to me with its casual sophistication that is chic but never stuffy. I asked Chun about this seemingly European touch:
“I think this comes from my parents’ influence and what they brought back with them from Korea. I also try hard not to follow any current trends. There are definitely European influences in my designs – there is a certain ease in the way Parisian women dress, but remain so chic."
I very much admire the attention Chun pays to the details of her designs - the buttons, the hemlines and the collars. Chun’s interest in functional and wearable clothing translates perfectly into the dresses and separates in her spring line. She tell me, “I believe in the subtle mixing of high fashion and low fashion. I love being casual and understated without dressing down." She goes on to say, "this collection has so many pieces and looks that define what I am doing as a designer, it makes it really special for me.” Her clothes have the feel of being designed for the city girl who wants to look chic without spending ages planning and dwelling on her outfits. I think most women will be able to see themselves in one of Jennifer Chun’s pieces, which makes her a very exciting prospect indeed.