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New York Fashion Week, Spring 2009: Hanii Y, Sleepwalker

Amid the Oscars and Ralphs, there is always new blood debuting at New York Fashion Week. I was already familiar with the house of Hanii Y, and was curious what the designer's first official presentation would entail. I also had the chance to meet the designer Hanii Yoon — who is half of the other design house Y & Kei, where she designs with her husband. It's a little confusing, but her vintage-inspired, crisp clothes aren't. They are sharply cut, colorful, and above all, unique. And you have to hear about her inspiration for her "Sleepwalking Park" collection — it's really interesting stuff . . .

This is your first time showing at New York Fashion Week. What made you decide to finally present?

When I studied in San Francisco (at FIDM) it was my dream. Donna Karan inspired me to become a big New York designer.

What is your inspiration for Spring?

Sleepwalking. I experienced the "White Nights" in Copenhagen, when the days and nights are bright — it's always day. When I experienced this it was like a dream and day and night blended together. That whole experience made me feel like I was sleepwalking the whole time. The blurring of colors and images, I mixed bright colors with monochromatic colors, masculine with feminine, hard and soft, the varying points are all put together. These (the white pillars in the pictures) are sort of like the trees. We created a white world out of this white night inspiration. This dream-like park, or forest, started with nature. It's fantastical, but also artificial.

To read on and to see more of the clothes,

.

What kind of materials and fabric did you work with?

I loved working with leather this season, and also the organza. I really liked pairing these hard and soft elements together. It was very interesting for me.

Who do you envision wearing your clothes?

Someone who's confident. Someone who works during the day but at night she lets loose and enjoys being a woman. She captures both worlds. She wants to have it all.

What was your greatest challenge?

I just moved from Korea to New York permanently. And I was settling in and getting my bearings while trying to put together my first presentation for New York Fashion Week. But I'm really appreciative because I feel like it was a great learning experience and made me stronger.


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