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Gucci fashion show in Gyeongbokgung canceled after controversial fashion photo shoot at Cheong Wa Dae

Vogue Korea’s photo shot at Cheong Wa Dae, released Aug. 22 (Vogue Korea)
Vogue Korea’s photo shot at Cheong Wa Dae, released Aug. 22 (Vogue Korea)
After a recent fashion photo shoot by Vogue Korea on Cheong Wa Dae grounds sparked widespread public criticism, the Cultural Heritage Administration called off luxury brand Gucci’s fashion show in Gyeongbokgung, scheduled for Nov. 1, the CHA confirmed Monday.

According to CHA meeting minutes from Aug. 16, Gucci Korea had applied for the use of the Geunjeongjeon, the main hall of the Joseon royal palace, noting publicizing the “historical value of Gyeongbokgung, a place where world-class astronomy was studied, through the astronomy-inspired fashion show” as the purpose for the use of the venue.

The planned Gucci runway show, titled “Gucci Cosmogonie Fashion Show in Seoul, Gyeongbokgung,” connected the event’s underlying theme of mythical stories of constellations with the historical importance of Gyeongbokgung.

The committee had granted conditional approval, with guidelines that included “going through verification of historical facts explained in the show” and “accepting advice from relevant (history) experts.”

A person at the Gucci Korea‘s public relations agency familiar with the issue told The Korea Herald that the new date and venue for the show has yet to be confirmed. 

Meanwhile, the most recent Gucci Cosmogonie show was held in May at the 13th century Castel del Monte in Italy’s Apulia region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996.

On Aug. 22, some 30 pictures of models dressed in modernized and transformed hanbok and dresses, including top Korean model Han Hye-jin, were released by Vogue Korea. The fashion spread was created in collaboration with the CHA’s Visit Korean Heritage campaign.

Models were captured posing on chairs, pillars and stairways of the Cheong Wa Dae buildings and garden. Three days later, amid mounting criticism, Vogue Korea deleted the photos from its official webpage and social media. The September issue of Vogue Korea includes the fashion spread.

“In the case of cultural content, we evaluate their filming intention and present a clear guideline for using the historical site. But we cannot review each outfit and posture which are creatively thought out by the directing team,” a CHA official told The Korea Herald.

The official added that after a series of public uproars over the commercial use of Cheong Wa Dae, a mood of passive decision-making prevails at the CHA’s Cheong Wa Dae operations team.

By Kim Hae-yeon (