Showcasing historical Korean fashion and its modern reinterpretations, Couture Korea boasts an impressive collection of more than 120 works. The gallery opens to an exquisite array of traditional Korean clothing from the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910). Featuring various garments from skirts, vests and jackets to accessories such as hair pieces, pouches and shoes, the exhibit provides a comprehensive introduction to the traditional way of Korean dress.
In addition to putting on display the beautiful, vibrant skirts and jackets, the exhibit takes care to also show the intricacies of traditional Korean dress hidden from sight. Hanbok, the traditional Korean outfit, for females includes multiple layers of undergarments beneath the skirt and the exhibit arranges a mannequin in delicate, sheer undergarments lit from below to clearly showcase the complexity of the concealed details behind a billowy skirt.
The exhibit also presents work by contemporary fashion designers who draw upon traditional Korean fashion to explore new realms of fashion. On display, Karl Lagerfeld’s 2015/16 Cruise Collection for Chanel features work that is inspired by bojagi, wrapping cloth which often features brightly colored patchwork, and najeon chilgi, mother-of-pearl lacquerware. Jin Teok creates work that is reminiscent of Korean traditional dress while using materials and forms found in both Korean and Western clothing. Lastly, the gallery showcases work by Im Seonoc and Jung Misun, whose works reinterpret Korean fashion in a futuristic way with more muted tones.
Couture Korea comes to the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco at a wonderful time, as Korean fashion and pop culture is becoming more widely recognized internationally. Visually stunning, Couture Korea provides visitors insight into the deep, uniquely expressive world of Korean fashion. The exhibit remains open until February 4, 2018.
All photos courtesy of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco