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It's Hanbok, but not as We Know It

2007/06/04 Source

Hand-painted with big flowers, the A-line skirt flutters whenever the model takes a step. The model wears a splendid crystal bangle on her arm to add a highlighting touch to the dress. But this is no fashion for summer vacation: it's a traditional Korean costume or hanbok. Designer Kim Hee-soo recently introduced a modernized, sexy version of hanbok at a charity fashion show at the Grand Hyatt Seoul Hotel.

The designer broke away from the traditional notion that a hanbok somehow represents grace and modesty by infusing Western elements into the traditional Korean garment. Traditional designs of flowers, bird and animals like peacocks, tigers, dragons, peonies and magnolias, were hand-painted by Kim on skirts and jacket sleeves. But the colors and details are anything but traditional. The clothes were dyed in vivid colors like fluorescent pink and green. For jackets, sparkling beads replaced breast-ties, making them look like boleros. The Jokduri, the traditional headpiece for brides, was decorated with crystal like a tiara. One black hanbok painted with a forest of condominiums looked like the black chiffon dresses now in fashion.

The designer says a growing number of young brides buy hanbok to wear at the wedding banquet. "You look cool if you wear hanbok made of summer silk in vivid colors with a crystal bangle and a clutch bag", Kim says.

Hanbok made of thin transparent Korean nobang (silk organza) is a good choice for summer. Short-sleeved or shawl-like hanbok jackets also featured in the show. A teardrop accessory is a good match with summer hanbok.


Actress Kwon Min-jeong poses in designer Kim Hee-soo's hanbok fashion show at the Grand Hyatt Seoul Hotel this week.

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