August 13, 2010 09:36
Korea's best-known fashion designer Andre Kim died on Thursday. He was 75. Kim had been treated for colon cancer in 2005 and was recently hospitalized with pneumonia.
Born in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province in 1935, Kim showed a flair for art at a young age. He graduated from fashion design school in Seoul in 1962 and opened his first boutique in the capital called "Salon Andre." He is thought to have been Korea's first male fashion designer.
His influence went far beyond clothes. A colourful personality with his distinctive all-white outfits and more than a daub of makeup, Kim became the first Korean to show a collection in Paris, and later years saw him present his spectaculars at the pyramids in Egypt and at Angkor Wat in Cambodia. In 1992, the International Olympic Committee invited him to hold a fashion show during the summer games in Barcelona.
For Korean celebrities, modelling Andre Kim's creations on the runway was considered a sign that they had arrived. Bae Yong-joon, Choi Ji-woo, Jang Dong-gun, Kim Hee-sun, Kim Tae-hee and Lee Young-ae modeled his clothes, and further afield pop superstar Michael Jackson and the actresses Brooke Shields and Nastassia Kinski also wore his creations.
A tireless worker, Kim has in later years expanded his business into jewelry, ceramics, underwear and glasses. He never married but adopted a boy in 1982. In 2005, he became a grandfather when his adopted son had twins. "Some people find their significant other in a woman, but I found it in fashion," Kim told friends.
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