October 28, 2010 07:34
Changdeok Palace will be turned into a temple of fashion on Nov. 12 when the first ladies of G20 member states are able to enjoy hanbok or traditional Korean dress.
The event, followed by lunch, will showcase 24 specially designed costumes, 12 each from leading hanbok designers Lee Young-hee (74) and Kim Young-seok (47). It is organized by Korea's first lady Kim Yoon-ok.
Lee designed the hanbok for 21 heads of state who visited Korea for the APEC summit in 2005. Then-U.S. President George W. Bush praised Lee's work, and fashion designer Miuccia Prada visited Lee's boutique in Sinsa-dong, Seoul last year and bought several of Lee's clothes.
Lee was the first Korean to take part in the Prêt-à-porter Paris show in 1993 and has been invited to over 400 fashion shows around the world. "Although I am well past 70, there are still so many things I want to do," she says. "I want to let the world leaders at the G20 know how beautiful hanbok is by harmoniously matching traditional natural dye and modern design."
Meanwhile, Kim is touted as a wizard with the five traditional colors blue, red, yellow, white and black. To realize his childhood dream, he quit his promising career as an event organizer and embarked on the road to become a hanbok designer halfway through his 30s.
"I was sad to see that our folk culture was gradually disappearing," he recalls. "As I discovered the documents and objects that show the history of transformation of hanbok over time, I felt a calling that I should pass this rich heritage to the next generation."
For the G20 fashion show, Kim plans to minimize vivid colors and focus on the middle spectrum, which looks good no matter who wears it, while maintaining the quintessential Korean style.
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