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story by Landon Peoples
photos by Zoe Hiigli
web editor Rachel Reneé
A menacing tone swept over the audience as the lights faded to black seconds before the models appeared at Wayne Lee’s Fall 2012 runway show. Eerie sounds signaled something wicked was on its way – and wicked cool it was. From start to finish, Wayne’s key look for Fall was relaxed (cue the white snakeskin Converse flats) with a side of toughness (add two parts leather, one part suede).
“The hunter slips on the skin of her prey. Snakes and foxes take on human form. The huntress moves effortlessly from invisibility to dazzling ambush,” Lee explained.
The color palette of Wayne this season was concrete, flame, twig, and static. Despite muted opening pieces, the clothing quickly prowled new territory with pops of citrus amidst an all-black and all-white ensembles. This segue from a typically restrained color range to brighter hues proved most striking, demonstrating Wayne’s lack of apprehension when taking risks. Perhaps it’s Lee’s precarious approach to design that has propelled her into the ranks of fashion’s elite, and it’s no surprise Lee was a finalist of the 2009 CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund, which she’s clearly taking advantage of.
It seemed the dominant animals of today’s forests were present as Wayne’s vision was concisely executed via snakeskin blouses, leather-sleeved tanks, and a raccoon fur coat. But as a savage huntress would, Wayne managed to stray from her usual tracks of multiple hooded pieces and layered garments, and entered a lighter playing field with some looks consisting of a simple ribbed tank and rayon pant. This adaptation of “less is more” made apparent the notion of growth in Lee’s work from season to season. And when asked what the message was behind her Fall 2012 collection, Wayne simply stated, “the focus this season is on becoming the other.”
With a potentially costumey inspiration and dazzling reputation, Wayne Lee could have easily missed her mark, but presumptuously (and rightfully so), she prowled past disappointment and left onlookers with plenty of serious statement pieces that screamed cutthroat and cunning.