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Posts Tagged ‘fashion exhibits’

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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 Im Seonoc.

Im Seonoc 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 Ms. Seonoc, 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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Jean Paul Gaultier at the de Young Museum in San Francisco.

Jean Paul Gaultier says that when he was asked to do a museum exhibition of his work he initially resisted. He thought, respectfully, that museums were for dead artists. He does not consider himself an artist and (thankfully) he’s not dead. But when he reconsidered, he knew that his exhibition would be different. It would have to be more than just displaying clothes. “Oh but, I want it to be alive and not like funerals.”

Alive it is.

I was fortunate enough to be part of a preview gathering and in the introduction we were told that the exhibit was really more of an installation, a world premiere that incorporates multimedia. That didn’t make much of an impression on me. Multimedia is old hat these days. I thought Oh, well perhaps the mannequins move. But as I approached the gallery my gaze did not rest, as I expected, on the fashions but instead I immediately focused in the mannequins’ moving lips, shifting eyes, expressions … faces.

Thirty-five mannequins in the exhibit have recorded faces projected onto them. Video projectors discretely hang from the ceiling providing the faces of models and actors talking, singing, reciting and some just looking around the room. It is truly something to experience.

Gaultier is known as the bad boy of fashion for challenging societal conventions through his designs, so it fits that he would be the first to shake up an exhibition experience. I heard some fellow attendees call the faces creepy and unsettling but in a fun way, like a Disneyland ride. Everyone was stunned at first and it took time to adjust to the incongruity but that’s not to say people didn’t love it. I loved it, although I have to say the faces are a distraction. I was fascinated by them and how real yet unreal they are. Luckily I soon realized I was ignoring the fashions and went back around a second time.  

Speaking of the fashions, there are 130 ensembles chosen by Gaultier and organized into sections.  They span his 35 years in the business and include variations on his signature Breton stripes,  mermaids and virgins, the punk period, and multicultural influences.

Gaultier was born in a Paris suburb in 1952. As a child he became interested in fashion, influenced by film and his stylish grandmother. Using his teddy bear as a model, he designed many an outfit including what later would become the cone bra for Madonna. (BTW, the tattered teddy is still around and in the exhibit.)

What I appreciate about Gaultier is he takes classic fashion and turns it upside down encouraging us as the audience, buyer, admirer to rethink what we know. A couple of my favorites in the exhibit are a gown with a leopard appliqué made of beads (pictured right) and a simple georgette black shirt dress with mother-of-pearl buttons acting as the pin stripes (pictured below).

I really like what Gaultier did with plaids in the 80s mixing and matching and making a British old-school staple a stylish punk statement. His creative combinations are fabulous – knits with tulle, stripes in lace, skirts for men, tin can bracelets. Gaultier says beauty can be found everywhere. I say he makes everything exciting.

Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk at the de Young Museum in San Francisco now through August 19, 2012.

(All photos copyright 2012 by Moya Stone. Please do no use without permission.)

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