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New York designer Jennifer Chun has truly made an imprint on the sophisticated Bostonian. Now in her fifth year of business, the South Korea-born talent attended Pratt before working under industry greats Michael Kors and Derek Lam, the latter of which Chun cites as her biggest mentor. The line's preppy sensibility is quite conducive to a Bay State lifestyle—but decidedly fashion-forward twists of mixed media textures and layering-friendly pieces reminiscent of Proenza Schouler distinguish it from the usual suspects.
Her Boston roots are set in Louis, family ties, and a supportive relationship from personalities like Mon Petit Chou Chou blogger Lani Zervas. Chun notes a particularly memorable trunk show at the waterfront luxury emporium, where she was hugely impressed by a group of customers spanning from early twenties work force members to ultra chic women in their sixties. We decided to delve into her 2013 collections a little deeper, which revealed Chun's favorite pieces and the original prints she designed.
Tell us about your Spring 2013 collection.
It's in Louis already! It's probably my favorite one so far. I got to design my own print, and I did an iris deco print. My husband and I went to Barcelona and saw lots of art nouveau architecture. It has a lot of color, and it's fun. There's a lot of layering this season—which is kind of my aesthetic now. Louis picked up the iris deco and our medallion print as well, which also reflects the whole Catalonian theme.
We noticed you style a lot of strappy dresses with blouses and shirts in the lookbook, definitely part of your signature layering. What is your favorite piece in this collection and which is most versatile?
One of my favorite pieces but one that is not versatile is a basket weave embossed leather apron. It's such a fashion piece, and Louis did pick it up. I love that they're very fashion forward like that. What's versatile is probably the shirtdress in iris deco. Again, it's different and fits someone from every age. It's not a typical shirtdress—it has the denim along the bottom, and interesting detailing on the placket. It's georgette and the print that I love.
What is your favorite material to work with?
I love adding leather to the collection, but I do love working with cotton shirting—patchworking it, printing it. I feel like it always adds a little bit of prep to a collection.
Jumping ahead to your fall collection, obviously what you're joining this group of emerging designers choosing not to show at fashion week. What are the pros and cons to opting out of the events?
The pros are that I'm a very behind-the-scenes kind of designer. I do think I'm better with desk side appointments. That's really important for me. The downside is that it's also fun to show. It's a lot of work, but it's also exciting to do something during fashion week. Though it's hard because you can get lost, so the timing has to be right.
What was your inspiration for Fall 2013? What pieces are really cutting edge for you?
It was fun for me, because I have a cousin who was obsessed with The Smiths and Morrissey. I picked up on that and grew up with them as well. One of my favorite pieces was my video game t-shirt. It's embroidered with some hand-sewn Swarovski crystals. I want to continue doing things that are more ironic and quirky. I also like the diamond print shirtdress.
How do you think your clothing has evolved since 2009?
I think when I started I was still working and could only do a few easy dresses. I know my strengths are dresses and outerwear, and I've added more ready-to-wear stuff like shirts and skirts. I'm comfortable with who I am as a designer now. Someone quoted me as a "modern tomboy," and it stuck with me. As you grow, you can do your own embroidery and your own prints, and I try to do both without making them too dressy.
· Best Newcomer of 2012? Insiders Weigh In [Racked Boston]
· Our Pals Reveal Their Most Memorable Outfits of the Year [Racked Boston]
· Jennifer Chun [Official Site]