For his Spring 2019 collection — shot exclusively for SLEEK by Laure Atanasyan — Beijing-based designer Sean Suen continued his trademark blend of sharp, considered tailoring with thoughtful and tender design flourishes. Jaunty neck scarves were tied in little knots accompanying boxy short-sleeved shirts, and jackets were repurposed to include unexpected slings of material looped at the shoulder. Meanwhile, sleeves were elongated with oversized cuffs — artfully concealing hands — and neat cross-body bags were paired with flowing, ankle-grazing smocks in ensembles that exuded an easy elegance. Although the clever details in Suen’s looks are subtle, these are clothes to be mulled over, contemplated and appreciated.
Beyond these quietly brilliant details, the collection — which was presented in an old school yard — had a youthful preppiness to it exemplified by waterproof ponchos, ribbed stockings and bulky sneakers, boyish long shorts and sumptuous sportswear. There was something about this collection that summoned the dandyish nonchalance of Brideshead Revisited: there might not have been any light-coloured boating suits, but the creamy pinstripes, gauzy linens, neckerchiefs and smart waistcoats recalled the seductive foppishness and nostalgia of Evelyn Waugh’s Oxford classic.
That’s not to say that there was anything old-fashioned about Suen’s latest offering, however. The toffish undercurrent was offset by the loose, luxe track pants, shiny, coated rainwear and a particularly memorable hoodie in a palette-cleansing mix of mint textures. Over all, these are light, airy and modern clothes that radiate a comfortable wearability, all the while managing to be romantic and cool simultaneously.