Hanbok Designer Lee Young Hee to Hold Fashion Showcase

Kyung Ho Kim, Sept. 21, 2015, 10:52 a.m.

When Lee Young-hee, one of the most celebrated designers of the traditional Korean clothes, or "hanbok," showed her collection in Paris for the first time in 1993, she was shocked and upset at a French fashion magazine's description of hanbok as a "Korean kimono."

She later held an exhibition there to showcase the beauty of hanbok that is unique from kimonos or traditional clothes of other Asian countries. The exhibit was a success, leading more and more French fashion press to use the name of hanbok as it is.

She had a hanbok fashion show in New York's Carnegie Hall in 2000 and opened a museum of Korean culture named after her in Manhattan four years later. In 2007, she donated 12 sets of her own-designed hanbok to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, in the hopes of setting up a Korean gallery, which was opened the following year.

In 2010, she became the first designer to put hanbok onto the stage of the French Haute Couture show. An exhibition scheduled to open at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in central Seoul on Wednesday will look back on her 40-year-long career as a hanbok designer.

The exhibit titled "Lee Young Hee-Baram Baraem" will showcase more than 60 sets of hanbok selected from those put on during her Paris fashion shows as well as traditional Korean accessories which inspired her, such as bojagi (wrapping cloth), binyeo (ornamental hairpin) and jokduri (bridal crown).

The last corridor of the exhibition displays photographs of the last four decades of her career and people she met along the way. Also, visitors will have a chance to review some of the most beautiful moments of her career through fashion magazines and photographs that captured her hanbok that breathed life into the traditional dress and inspired other fashion designers.

"I hope many young people will come to see this exhibition," Lee said during a press conference to promote the event at the exhibition hall. "They'll be able to conceive many good ideas if they deeply understand the Korean tradition through hanbok."


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