The K-Fashion Odyssey exhibition is a contemporary Korean fashion exhibition that forms part of the 2014 International Fashion Showcase (IFS), a global celebration of fashion that is developed by the British Council and the British Fashion Council to coincide with London Fashion Week which was last month. This is actually the second time that Korea is joining the IFS, the first time being “A New Space Around the Body” held at the Korean Cultural Centre UK in 2012 which actually won the British Council and British Fashion Council’s IFS Emerging Talent Award 2012. This year’s exhibition presents a selection of works from some of the most exciting young talents from Korea.
This exhibition, created by Curators and Exhibition Designers Sofia Hedman and Serge Martynov as well as the many hard working people at the KCCUK, was designed to enhance the idea/concept behind the collections from the designers yet also tell a story about Korea. In the KCCUK Multimedia hall, you can watch interviews with each designers, a very significant part of the exhibition as each designer open up about their inner thoughts, reflections and reactions. You get to hear each designer talk about their work and pieces; a rare and very personal insight into each designer especially the elusive Narae Park. During the interview they talk about the inspiration for their pieces as well as their upbringing and Korean memories which reflect the Korean heritage in these designer’s processes.
The name K-Fashion Odyssey plays on the idea of a journey:
“To resonate with the adventurous voyages the designers have taken coming from South Korea, one of the world’s largest shipbuilding countries, to Europe.”
At the exhibition you will see wooden boat sections and copper piping as a symbol of this voyage which tie all the designer’s collections together. We have written introductions to the 5 designers in our previous post about the exhibition. But here is a bit more about their pieces on display at the Korean Cultural Centre.
When you first enter the exhibition you are greeted with a very interesting head piece created by GiGi Jeehyun Jung which really reflects her style; playful and colourful yet elegant and wearable, it definitely won’t look out of place in some of London’s trendiest districts. As mentioned before, Gigi is a child at heart and here you get to see Gigi’s humour and childhood nostalgia in all its glory. With little toy trinkets dashed everywhere as well as some extremely imaginative accessories, Gigi’s collection is said to be a tribute to her ancestors where South Korea is known as one of the hardest working countries with an exhausting work culture, here Gigi is giving all the adults a break:
… a tribute to her ancestors tireless efforts to bring Korea to the forefront of cultural and technological development at incredible speed. She wanted to “allow these adults, even just for a moment to reclaim their lost childhood fantasies.”
Chloe Kim’s collection has been described as romantic punk and this little corner of the KCCUK has been transformed into a beautiful heaven complete with fluffy clouds. The effort put into this exhibition is amazing and really brings the garments to life. Chloe has interned at major fashion houses such as Alexander McQueen and GILES Design Studio and her pieces reflect her amazing talent as they look like intricate pieces of art. On the half body mannequins, it’s hard to imagine how these items are actually dresses which can be worn, they just look like elegant and exquisite bundles of delicate fabrics; a modern work of art.
Chloe’s shredding of laces and unfinished skirts resonate with Korean drawing techniques, characterised by delicate lines and light colours.
Inspired by old tacky horror films, Hyein Seo’s Fear Eats The Soul collection feels very British, it reminds us of a time of anarchy and British punk rock; when Carnaby Street was the hangout for mohawks and Dr Martens. Featuring fabulous over-sized fur coats, bomber jackets injected with bright colours, in your face graphics, bold patterns and the uniform creeper, these upgrades to retro classic pieces is bang on trend at the moment. It’s for the cool gang of kids with rainbow coloured hair who spends their weekends watching cult classics such as The Rocky Horror Show and Clockwork Orange.
As previously mentioned, Hyein Seo designed the amazing black faux fur coat in GD’s Crooked MV and a similar version can be seen on display. But recently we have also spotted CL wearing Hyein’s white fur coat during a performance (source). Hyein fashionable piece’s would not look out of place on stage at a Kpop concert in fact, even with the skirts, it’s a collection that we can totally see someone like GD rocking.
At this exhibition we also see pieces from Narae Park’s Central Saint Martins Graduation show, we heard it was made from recyclable materials but these pieces could easily past for high fashion couture.
[Narae Park’s] work explores the plight of child labour and hybrids of sizing, fitting and application of industrial materials such as tarpaulin and neoprene. ‘Heung’, the emotion of cheerfulness, is running as a current through Park’s work. She portrays a labouring child still able to smile in her harsh reality.
Narae’s collection creates a new dimension to Fashion, bringing social awareness and philosophical undertones, her pieces are beautiful on many levels. It’s hard to believe that these pieces are environmentally friendly and were all once just pieces of rubbish.
The fifth designer is Rejina Pyo who is said to possess the “rare ability to design both commercial and experimental lines” and here we get to see her more experimental collection that was commissioned after winning the Han Nefken Fashion Award, as well as a video of her St Martin’s graduation catwalk show which is eccentric to say the least, showing she really has a pizazz for “Art Fashion Pieces”. Rejina’s collection on show displays strong use of colours and the hues really remind us of the colours often use in Korean hanboks as well as the simple yet bold colour blocking style. But Rejina show she’s talented in all areas as her commercial and more wearable collection is also getting very popular, after being sold in Fenwick. Make sure you check out her SS14 collection which has just come into stock!
This exhibition has been extended to 15th March so catch it whilst you can! This is your chance to witness the beginnings of some great designers who will no doubt take the fashion world by storm! To celebrate the success of this exhibition there will also be a very special event on Friday 14th March at 7pm.
< Artist TALK Party: Think in Fashion>
Friday 14th March 2014, 7:00 – 10:30 pm
This Talk Party is a showcase of young and emerging fashion designers, giving audiences the opportunity to discover and hear from the new talents in the fashion world. Almost all of the designers of this Talk Party have already participated in London Fashion Week and so we would like to discuss current fashion and hear their experiences as they strive to launch careers in the global fashion market. After the Artist Talk Party we will present a new pop-up fashion performance along with a DJ party.
It’s going to be one fabulously fashionable party and admission is FREE! If you want to join, make sure you RSVP via email – firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling +44 20 7004 2600
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