Seoul Fashion Week kicks off with modern take on hanbok

By Im Eun-byel

Published : Mar 20, 2018 - 16:05
Updated : Mar 20, 2018 - 16:05

The 2018 fall-winter HERA Seoul Fashion Week opened Monday with a showcase of modern interpretations of hanbok, or traditional Korean clothing.

Celebrated hanbok designer Kim Hye-soon traveled back in time for her inspiration to create a colorful jewel-toned collection of hanbok made contemporary, which graced the runway at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul. 

Models walk down the runway of hanbok opening show for the finale. (Seoul Design Foundation)


“This season, I wanted to promote the beauty of Korea,” said Jung Ku-ho, director of Seoul Fashion Week, before the show started. “The present cannot exist without the past. The show will showcase how Korean fashion will develop.”

At the entrance of the venue, Korean models wearing hanbok greeted visitors, providing a peek into the show’s concept. Around them, miniature dolls in hanbok made by the designer were exhibited.

Foreign models showed 32 hanbok pieces on the runway, with the model selection based on the designer’s belief that hanbok should be outfits that anyone can wear beautifully.

The works were bright in color, with an abundant use of vivid colors, such as pink, yellow and green. 

Designer Kim Hye-soon’s hanbok-inspired pieces in bright colors (Seoul Design Foundation)

Designer Kim Hye-soon’s hanbok-inspired pieces in bright colors (Seoul Design Foundation)

Designer Kim Hye-soon’s hanbok-inspired pieces in bright colors (Seoul Design Foundation)


The models all donned colorful pants inside skirts -- a hanbok look seldom seen today. The tops were also interpreted with a modern take, decorated with glitter and sequins.

While hanbok outerwear have been generally neglected by the public, the designer focused heavily on items that could be worn as coats or jackets.

Lee Hee-moon, a “sorikkun” (Korean folk singer) collaborated with jazz band Prelude, providing the right mood for the show. In the true tradition of sorikkum, Lee did more than just sing, playfully dancing and interacting with the audience.

For the finale show, all the models walked down the runway together, wearing sunglasses.

Kim has presented numerous invitational fashion shows abroad. She is widely known as the designer behind hanbok worn in the KBS hit drama series “Hwangjini.”

Seoul Fashion Week continues through Saturday. Show schedules and details can be found at www.seoulfashionweek.org.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)

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The Korea Herald by Herald Corporation