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Hanbok designer to hold show on Dokdo

Designer Lee Young-hee aims to show ‘our clothes on our land’


Designer Lee Young-hee will hold a hanbok fashion show in Dokdo, a rocky islet 87.4 kilometers east from Ulleungdo on East Sea, next month. It will be held on Aug. 9, in time to commemorate the Liberation Day of Korea on Aug. 15.

“We are planning the hanbok show in an aim to show the world our clothes on our land,” said the PR official at Maison de Lee Young-hee. The show is co-hosted by MIRAEMUNHWA Foundation, in which Lee serves as president, and The Korean Senior Citizens Association.
Lee Young-hee poses with her work. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)
Lee Young-hee poses with her work. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)

About 13 models decked in some 30 court hanbok from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), hanbok made of “mosi” or ramie, and 2011 S/S Paris Haute Couture collection will strut down the runways set on the plains and high up on the islet’s hills. The court costumes are to emphasize Korea’s dignity of having secured Dokdo long ago.

Lee is one of the most renowned designers of the Korean traditional costume, having introduced hanbok to the world and cleared its name from being “Kimono Coree” a name that an unknowing French journalist gave to hanbok in the early 1990s. Better yet, Lee had hanbok nicknamed “costume of the wind” after enthralling the media numerous times with her dazzling hanbok fashion shows.

She was the first-ever Korean designer to participate in Pret-a-Porter Paris in 1993 and the first-ever hanbok designer to showcase in Paris Haute Couture. She opened the Lee Young-hee Museum in New York in 2004 and was honored in 2007 to store 16 of her hanbok at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History for the next 100 years. Her boutique can be found in Sinsa-dong, southern Seoul.

Lee is not the least bit worried that Japan might react to the show or that her Japanese customers will be offended.

Dubbed the pioneer of the hanbok’s globalization, Lee is known for her audacity and innovative mind.

“The world is eying our culture now. There should be some fellow designers or juniors that I should be working with, but there isn’t a single hanbok designer who shares my thoughts,” she told The Korea Herald last year, mentioning that in terms of the hanbok, about 80 percent global penetration has been achieved.

The Dokdo show will not be open to the public because the number of people who can enter the islet at the same time is limited, said the organizers. About 80 including models, officials from Maison de Lee Young-hee, The Korean Senior Citizens Association members and press members will be present. Photographer Kim Jung-man will be in charge of the shoots.

By Park Min-young  (claire@heraldcorp.com)
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