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Posts Tagged ‘Couture Korea’

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Dress & skirt inspired by traditional Korean embroidered wedding robe with peony, phoenix, and butterfly motifs and combined with denim. Jin Teok, 1995. This piece was part of the Couture Korea exhibit.

My mother’s generation greatly valued tradition in fashion. Until the day she died, she kept her hair in a bun, as women did in the Joseon Period (1392-1910). She made her own clothes with different materials for each of the four seasons. She wore durumagi, a traditional Korean overcoat, made of silk fabrics called myeongju and jamisa in jade green. In winter she wore cotton-padded durumagi, a scarf made of silk, and rubber shoes, which I used to wipe clean whenever she was about to go out. I grew up in such a traditional family. 

Jin Teok, renowned South Korean fashion designer.

This quote is from the essay, Creating Contrasts in Korean Fashion by Jin Teok from the catalogue for Couture Korea, the exhibit at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum in 2017.

One of the things I noticed when I visited Seoul, South Korea was the contrast of traditional and modern – in the architecture, the food, the old and the young people – existing side by side. Seoul is very much a mixture and in that way it’s fascinating.

Jin Teok started her fashion career in 1965 and has been called a “pioneer of Korean fashion.” Known for blending the silhouettes and motifs of traditional Korean clothing with modern fashion, Teok designed the uniforms for the Korean 1988 Olympic teams and a few years later she designed the Asiana Airlines flight attendant uniforms. She has participated in many international fashion shows, putting Korean fashion in a global spotlight.

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Reconstructed woman’s hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) based on a 16th century garment. Ramie, polyester, and silk. From Couture Korea exhibit, San Francisco Asian Arts Museum 2017.

Traditional Korean clothing is imbued with many kinds of beauty: natural, understated, symbolic, elegant, and exotic. Of these, natural beauty is the most important. Since ancient times, Koreans have found pleasure and happiness in nature rather than in attempting to conquer nature, and this may be reflected in Korean fashion. As seen in its full-flowing and ample shapes and rhythmical curves, Korean clothing stresses comfort and natural style, unlike the closely fitting, structured silhouettes of its Western counterparts. 

Cho Hyo-sook – vice-president of Gachon University in South Korea.

This is a quote from Hyo-sook’s essay Clothing in Harmony with Nature, which I read in the catalogue for Couture Korea, the 2017 fashion exhibit at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.

One year ago this month I traveled to Seoul, South Korea on a ten day textiles tour. What an adventure it was and still is as I continue to read and learn about Korean history and culture, in particular the traditional crafts.

I like Hyo-sook’s comment about the importance of nature reflected in traditional Korean clothing and the idea of enjoying nature instead of conquering it. I think we are now, with Climate Change, suffering from the results of decades of trying to control nature.

As I see natural beauty in Korean clothing, I also see control and restriction in western clothing or at least western clothing of the past such as tailored suits, fitted dresses, buttoned up shirts and ties, vests, and so on. Modern clothing is much less restrictive but the production of it is a major polluter to our sadly ailing earth.

 

 

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I also love the Korean alphabet. It’s like … cubism. Very graphic!

Karl Lagerfeld – German fashion designer for Chanel.

This quote is from Korean Inspired, an essay Lagerfeld wrote for Couture Korea – the catalog accompanying the fashion exhibit of the same name at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum, November 3, 2017-February 4, 2018.

Lagerfeld is among a few western designers inspired by the traditions of Korea. His 2016 Chanel Cruise collection showed in Seoul, South Korea and included many Korean motifs, such as embroidery and bojagi (traditional wrapping cloth).

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The Korean alphabet is called hangul and I agree with Lagerfeld – each letter is very graphic. Isn’t it interesting that when you don’t know the language, the letters are just shapes and therefore take on a different quality.

While looking at fabric in Seoul, I was drawn to a cotton printed with hangul. Although at the time I had no idea what I’d do with it, I bought two yards and had fun pondering how to use it.

Now I know! A jacket with top stitching in brick red. When I travel I often buy fabric and make or have something made as a memento from my travels.

Stay tuned for the finished hangul jacket.

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Hanbok, reproduced from an 18th century painting.

Three years in the making, Couture Korea is the first major exhibition of Korean fashion in the United States and exclusive to San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum. On now through February 4, 2018 this fashion exhibit explores traditional Korean clothing from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) to the present. Included are reproductions and reinterpretations of traditional clothing as well as original modern works by top Korean designers.

The 120-piece exhibit covers three galleries starting with a look at tradition. What is Hanbok is the first gallery where we learn that hanbok is traditional clothing for men and women during the Joseon Dynasty, when modesty was the fashion of the day. For women the look was a high full skirt called a chima, paired with a longer blouse called jeogori, which would fit loose or tight. (The originators of layering.) Men sported a loose top, pants and a robe. Fabrics such as silk organza were used.

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Jin Teok’s reinterpreted  bridal robe.

Between East and West comes next and features designs by Jin Teok, including a video of a recent fashion show and a reinterpreted hwarot (bridal robe) combining  embroidered silk fabric with denim. Also in this gallery are pieces by Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld from his Korean inspired 2016 Cruise collection, which premiered in Seoul.

My favorite is the third and final gallery. From Seoul to San Francisco is all about modern Korean fashion. Featured are two trendsetting designers Im Seonoc and Jung Misun. Each woman is inspired by traditional Korean clothing but with an understanding of modern needs and desires.

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A new twist on tradition by Jung Misun.

A video interview with the two explains their different approaches. Jung Misun says that while she’s inspired by traditional silhouettes, the fabrics are too delicate and she finds that modern women want more comfort and ease. “If someone were to ask me to wear hanbok and I were to think of an uncomfortable aspect of it – it would be the fabric … Therefore I replaced the delicate fabrics of hanbok with everyday fabrics, such as knits and wool.”

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South Korean fashion designer Imseonoc.

Imseonoc is a sustainable designer dedicated to zero waste in her clothing production. She uses only neoprene (usually used for wetsuits), which creates a nice clear cut. Any leftover scraps are incorporated elsewhere in her designs. Instead of stitching she glues or uses high-pressure bonding for seams. Speaking with Imseonoc, she told me she’s created her own neoprene – something lighter and even easier to work with.

There is something completely unique about Korean style. Simple, elegant, refined and hard to capture, which makes it ultra chic. Couture Korea offers a rare opportunity to learn about traditional and modern Korean fashions and how they connect.

It’s a must-see! I also recommend an upcoming panel of fashionables on November 19th, 1-2:30. Moderated by the San Francisco Chronicle style reporter, Tony Bravo the panel will include fashion trendsetters and designers discussing what inspires them. This panel is part of K-Fashion Bash – a day of events celebrating Korean pop culture.

What fun!

Click here for more information. 

 

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Jin Teok with her daughter Ro Sungun at the Asian Art Museum.

American fashion is very artistic and at the same time very wearable and good for the market, as well as the look. 

Jin Teok, South Korean fashion designer.

I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Teok and her daughter at the press preview of Couture Korea, the new exhibit on now at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. Her fashions are included in this exhibit of modern and re-imaginings of traditional Korean clothing. I asked Ms. Teok her impression of American fashion.

Known for her reconstruction of the classic white shirt, Ms. Teok has been designing for over fifty years. She was the only Korean designer to be included among the top 500 world fashion icons in the UK publication, The Fashion Book (Phaidon, 1998).

Watch for more about Jin Teok and my review of Couture Korea coming out later this week on OverDressedforLife.

 

 

 

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