Historic and contemporary Korean fashion in San Francisco

By Kim So-yeon
  • Published : Oct 26, 2017 - 17:57
  • Updated : Oct 26, 2017 - 17:57
Historic and contemporary Korean fashion will go on display in San Francisco next month.

“Couture Korea,” running form Nov. 3 to Feb. 4, is presented jointly by Seoul-based Arumjigi Culture Keepers Foundation and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. It aims to showcase the artistry of Korean traditional dress and its legacy in contemporary Korean fashion.

The exhibition seeks to connect the courtly costumes from centuries ago to those on the runways of today’s fashion capitals through more than 120 pieces, including a king’s robe, various 18th-century women’s ensembles and layers of silk undergarments, alongside contemporary clothing in modern materials. Veteran fashion designer Jin Te-ok will be showing works featuring denim while award-winning designer Im Seon-oc will present her signature neoprene pieces.

Ensemble inspired by traditional Korean wrapping cloth, or bojagi, from the Chanel cruise collection, 2016 (Chanel)
“‘Couture Korea’ elegantly interlaces the traditions of the past with contemporary clothing design to illuminate the ways Koreans -- and fashion aficionados around the world -- express themselves and their cultural affiliations through dress today,” said Asian Art Museum associate curator of Korean art Kim Hyon-jeong.

“By guiding audiences in identifying the unique shapes, materials and colors that distinguish the spirit of Korean fashion, we reveal fashion’s critical role in defining Korean cultural identity now and in the future,” Kim said.

This woman’s winter ensemble is a reconstruction based on an 18th-century genre painting by Shin Yun-bok. (Arumjigi Culture Keepers Foundation)
On Nov. 4, fashion designer Jin Te-ok and fashion historian Neil Wu-Gibbs will give a talk while a daylong celebration of Korean pop culture will be held on Nov. 19. Textile historian Lee Talbot and Korean dress historian Kim Min-jee will discuss 18th-century Korean fashion and its influence on today‘s fashion on Dec. 9.

By Kim So-yeon (