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My Cultural Life: fashion designer Rejina Pyo

The in-demand womenswear designer tells us what she's reading, listening to and more

rejina pyo
Jordan Bourke

Seoul-born fashion designer Rejina Pyo’s quietly bold silhouettes and inclusive catwalk shows might be beloved by industry insiders, but it’s her innate understanding of what women (and now men) actually want to wear that’s earned her an army of everyday admirers. After an MA at Central Saint Martins, she landed a role as Roksanda Ilinčić’s assistant designer and went on to establish her eponymous brand, before being named British Emerging Talent at last year’s Fashion Awards. ‘My career highlight is still being here six years later, self-funded and growing a team of strong women.’ rejinapyo.com

I’m an Eighties child, so I love the nostalgia of music from that era. I’m currently listening to a Spotify playlist called ‘Italo Disco 80s’, which makes me laugh and dance like a lunatic.

My favourite record is Harvest Moon by Neil Young. It makes me feel like all is right with the world, which is saying something given the state of things in 2020. By the time the harmonica comes in towards the end of the song, I’m usually beaming from ear to ear.

the book you wish your parents had read philippa perry
Penguin Life

A book that had a real impact on me is The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read by Philippa Perry. As a mother of a three year old, I have an aversion to the endless saccharine social-media posts about parenting. Perry’s book is the antithesis of all that – practical and logical.

My all-time favourite film is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It’s just stuck with me – the colours, the cinematography and the interplay between the real and the imaginary.

The last show I saw before lockdown was The Cellist at the Royal Opera House. My friend Lauren Cuthbertson is a principal dancer with The Royal Ballet and I had the great fortune of watching her in the lead role.

I can always be lured into a shop by vintage clothes and ceramics, but furniture and art are my new obsession. I’ve turned an otherwise idle weekend hobby into an act of singular dedication, as my husband and I are renovating our first house.

A gallery I love is the Brancusi Studio in Paris. There is always an element of surprise to Constantin Brancusi’s pieces and often it takes some time to warm to them fully. I’ve always been drawn to modernist sculpture and it informs how I design.

constantin brancusi gallery paris
Richard Manning / Alamy Stock Photo

If I won the lottery, I’d buy a piece by Spanish artist Angela de la Cruz.

My favourite place in the world is my parents’ little country house an hour east of Seoul, set among paddy fields and forest and not much else. In traditional Korean homes, you sit on the floor and meals are served on low tables. There is something about being those extra few inches below the level of a chair that makes it all the more difficult to rouse oneself, so I just give in to it.

This article first appeared in ELLE Decoration September 2020

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