Chanel finds new inspiration in Korean aesthetics

By Lee Woo-young

French fashion house’s first Seoul runway show features hanbok-inspired looks

  • Published : May 6, 2015 - 18:32
  • Updated : Jun 1, 2015 - 15:54

The Chanel Cruise collection for 2015/16 was a tribute to Korean aesthetics.

Models wore large braided wigs, or “gache,” a key accessory for women of noble birth during the Joseon period.

The elegant decorations traditionally worn on the wigs were reinterpreted as brooches and accessories that added a Korean character to each look. 

Chanel Cruise Collection 2015/16 at Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul on Monday. (Chanel)

Drawing on Korean traditional aesthetics, Karl Lagerfeld filled his latest collection with bright colors of red, fuchsia, yellow, blue and celadon from traditional Korean palettes, and silhouettes inspired by the Korean hanbok dress. 

Chanel Cruise Collection 2015/16 at Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul on Monday. (Chanel)

Chanel’s signature tweed ensemble featured large sleeves, round shoulders and high folded collars ― distinct silhouettes of hanbok blouses. Geometric patchwork, traditionally used in accessories and covers, found a new place in an airy dress and a jacket. 

The empire waist line of hanbok added sophistication to evening dresses. The black see-through organza blouses and dresses turned into glittering statement pieces with mini versions of Korean accessories. 

Chanel Cruise Collection 2015/16 at Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul on Monday. (Chanel)

The show, held Monday at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, was one of the most upscale events hosted by venue, which was designed by architect Zaha Hadid and opened in March 2014.

A DDP official said Chanel decided on Seoul as the destination for the 2015/16 Cruise collection after they saw a huge response to an archive exhibition on the French fashion house in August last year.

The “Culture Chanel” exhibition that traced Gabrielle Chanel’s life and her design inspirations drew about 150,000 visitors.

“Right after the exhibition finished, Chanel went through an internal review of the exhibition and concluded that DDP was the right place to hold a large global event and choose it to be the spot for their upcoming Cruise collection,” said Yoon Day-young, director of the governance division of DDP.

The Monday show drew 1,000 guests and a slew of top international celebrities such as Kristen Stewart, Tilda Swinton, Gisele Bundchen and Gaspard Ulliel, as well as K-pop stars Choi Si-won of Super Junior, G-Dragon and Taeyang of Big Bang, Crystal of f(x), CL of 2NE1 and Yuna of Girls’ Generation.

By Lee Woo-young  (