To Hong Eun Pyo, it was important not to interpret the brief too literally, focusing on the philosophy of the brand, rather than the visual references. “In my understanding, the work of Alexander McQueen is about ‘archiving reflections, emotions and moments.’ So instead of directly approaching biodiversity and bee extinction, I wanted to narrate the reflection of what we humans have done to the environment.” Thinking about the impact of humanity on its environment, Hong looked at religious references, finding a narrative hook in the story of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun and melted his wings. This was then linked to the image of birds dying in the ocean because of oil spills. Working with a TPU yarn (a cotton yarn covered with silicone), the student recreated an oily effect. After knitting with TPU yarn, the pieces were pinned and heat-pressed. Knitting with TPU allows for cutting without unravelling, so I the edges of the knits could be cut to make them look like traditional lace. “I was inspired to become a fashion designer after seeing McQueen’s shows in the past, so the aesthetics had already influenced me a lot without realizing it, even before we got the collaboration project.”
“I tried not to expose myself to their collections during the research process to avoid creating something they already made. I pushed myself to interpret their philosophies and methods instead of the design elements and details.” One technical decision that helped Hong differentiate her work from the McQueen tradition was the use of non-traditional yarns and making a dress entirely out of knit. Keeping in line with the craft heritage of the house, she included detail-oriented techniques, such as hand stitching Elizabethan ruﬄes.