Haute on the high street: new River Island collaboration

Eudon Choi is well-known by fashion insiders, but a River Island collaboration will see it break those boundaries, says Emma Akbareian

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Indy Lifestyle Online

 

The British high street is loved for many things, not least the current penchant for designer collaborations. River Island is the latest retailer to jump on that labels-for-less juggernaut with Eudon Choi, the newest name to join its Design Forum initiative which has previously hosted ranges by up-and-comers Georgia Hardinge and Julian J Smith.

Choi’s collaboration launched on Friday, the same day as his spring/summer 14 catwalk show, with the presentation of a short film at London Fashion Week, adding to the buzz surrounding the Koreanborn designer. Since founding his label in 2009, Choi has built a loyal fan base, albeit of those who look for the cachet of lesser-known labels. The high-end retailers – including Matchesfashion.com and The Shop at Bluebird – clamouring to stock his collections which are presented at London Fashion Week are a testament to Choi’s success.

The lure of teaming up with a high-street retailer is understandable, not just for the financial rewards which are often essential for an up-and-coming label but also for the invaluable brand awareness it generates in a mass market that a young, financially limited brand would otherwise struggle to reach.

Eudon’s inspiration for his River Island collection was a series of photographs called “Wild at Heart”, featuring a power posse of Hell’s Angelsstyle supermodels including Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell shot by Peter Lindbergh for US Vogue in 1991. In Choi’s hands, that reference point becomes leather skirts with industrial popper detailing, biker jackets with a sports-luxe influence and oversized coats with fur collar details. The key to a successful high-street collaboration isn’t just taking the money and running, but ensuring that the designer doesn’t stray too far from his well-loved roots and here Choi stays true to his own label’s aesthetic.

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