J. JS Lee is another of those bunch of clean, mean youngsters collectively tagged as 'New Minimalists' - they exploded (quietly) in a storm of monochrome from Central Saint Martins in 2010, and have been making waves ever since. Subtlety, however, is the leitmotif. These girls and boys are focusing on cut, on finish, on tailoring - on daywear, frankly. And that's something of a revelation.
Jackie Lee (as J. JS Lee is less formally known) is possibly one of the quietest of the bunch, creating resolutely stripped-back clothes with details embossed into the fabric itself. Minimalist? You bet your Helmut Lang back-catalogue, and Lee is one of the few young talents to unashamedly ally herself with its rigorous edicts (no jokes about minimal business or comments about paring back for her). Lee is a clean queen. Buttons are hidden. Zips are concealed. Seams are the subject of much debate. The question that raises straight of the bat, is how well do such infinitesimal details come across on the catwalk? That was the challenge facing J JS Lee in her first formal London catwalk show.
Luckily, Lee didn't allow the demands of the catwalk to overwhelm what she wanted to get out of her clothes. Her palette was controlled, her detailing delicate, and every seam did seem considered. The basis of Lee's clothes is tailoring - sometimes a short jacket layered over longer, or the tailoring block shattering into multiple panes across one breast.
A few pieces jarred - Lee commented that Minimalism demands absolute perfection from a designer, but a couple of darted t-shirts in poorly-pressed silk crepe de chine let her vision down. However, when she marched out her austere army in identical double-breasted padded silk coats in a rainbow of grey for the finale, reduction gave way to seduction. Good enough to see fifteen times over, and then some.