Sunday, August 29, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Hongdae is a cheap, cheerful and eclectic area to shop. With small boutiques and vintage shops in dilapidated buildings, this area is charming. Beside Hongik University, a prestigious arts university, the main clientele is creative students, hunting for the latest trends. Seoul's indie scene is based here too and so, you often see cool rockers and odd characters among the stylish students. At the weekend, the Saturday Free Market attracts families and visitors alike. Principally organised by students, the market sells handmade jewellery, customised clothing, artwork and other creative bits and pieces: purses, notebooks and hats. Innovative, frivolous and original, the produce here is ideal for gifts or if you would like something unique.
The main street in Hongdae, Eo Ulmadang-gil, is minutes away from the subway. Here has the highest concentration of boutiques. The surrounding streets are a meandering maze. Every time I go to Hongdae, I discover new, winding alleyways lined with small, quaint boutiques. I really enjoy wandering about here, perusing the unusual clothing and vintage accessories.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
When I was 16, I eagerly attended my first music festival, welly boots and navy rain jacket in toe. Back then, music festivals were not popular with the masses. You could wait a week before the festival to buy your ticket and more importantly, it did not matter what you wore.
Eight, long years have passed since those blissful days and how things have changed. Tickets have tripled in price and sell out so quickly, the line up has not even been announced. In addition to this stress, we are expected to get the "festival look" championed by none other than Topshop. Constituting Hunter Wellies, a Barbour jacket and denim cut offs, this look was made popular by Kate Moss and Alexa Chung. Forget about battling the elements, rain and mud, we have to look fashionable too, without a VIP area, rock star boyfriend or shower for three days. Shops in Britain are now dedicated to selling clothes and wellies purely for festivals whilst magazines hunt for the best dressed festival goers. Scared of judgment, my friends and I have carefully planned our outfits for each day of a festival without considering the weather. Consequently, we have frozen or got very bad tan lines. I admit this ashamedly.
So, last Sunday, wearing obligatory denim shorts and Ray Bans, I went to a free rock festival in Seoul. Like the magazines, I hoped to find some unusual style. However, I was surprised to find no carefully, executed fashion, only grannies, grandpas, families and spotty teenagers. People were only there to enjoy the music, not to look cool. Although I was slightly disappointed I didn't get photographs for my blog, it was very refreshing and reminiscent of my young, festival days. Maybe Alexa and co at Glastonbury could learn a thing or two from Korea.
(Photo taken by me)
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Conscientious but extravagant, Kim was renowned for his beautiful, wedding dresses and evening wear. A French journalist even characterised him as a "Magician from Fairyland". His design aesthetic was Asiatic in detail, applying cherry blossom, lotus flowers and birds to his designs. Utilizing a bold colour palette, Kim's collections featured swathes of luxury fabric, embroidered, pleated and ruffled, adorned with sequins and jewels.
Considering fashion, Kim said, "Fashion should portray grace, intellect, artistic beauty, and youthful energy. Not too classic. I don't like 'old.' Even though I was born in 1935, I don't feel my age. I feel like a teenager who is 10 or 15 or 20 years old in a fairy tale, a fantasy, young and brilliant." And Kim certainly produced beautiful, artistic designs, that will continue to be worn with delight and gratification by women everywhere. A detailed account of Andre Kim's life can be read here http://news.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNews/Asia/Story/A1Story20100814-232066.html and his collections can be viewed here http://www.andrekim.co.kr/portfolio_02.php?b_id=2&s_field=1&page=4.
Chaotic, bustling and immense, Dongdaemun is one of Seoul's most notorious shopping destinations for locals and tourists alike. Consisting of five towering malls, this area is packed with shoppers at the weekend. I would suggest going early, if not, you will have a very stressful shopping experience. Furthermore, because of the sheer immensity of clothes, it may take a while to find what you are looking for. The fashion ranges from affordable to purse breaking, tacky to beautiful.
One of my preferred malls is Doota, which is full of boutique style shops. Although it is slightly more expensive than the others, it is extremely more organised with each floor catering to a different age group. During my perusing on a Sunday morning, I have found some interesting pieces such as a petal, silk dress and printed harem trousers. In comparison to Doota, the other malls are crammed, hot but cheaper. Unfortunately, this is the only photograph I took of Doota before being told I needed a press pass. Very annoying. In fact, I was so annoyed I didn't buy anything!
And yet, my love had waned slightly over the last few months. Topshop is now ridiculously expensive. Exhibit number 1:
Aviator jackets are one of the key winter trends and I realise they are going to be expensive considering the detailing, leather and sheepskin. At 325 pounds though, this is very pricey for Topshop. Sorry I digress.
More importantly, I now live in Korea and so far, I have only referenced British online stores. Very silly since this first and foremost is a Korean fashion blog. Korea does not have a high street per se, instead it has malls, department stores and boutiques. It does have very popular brands only available online though. Two of the most prominent are Sechnua and Rowky. Sechnua has some stylish tees whilst Rowky can be characterised as skater girl meets 80s punk princess. Not for the sophisticated or old. Unfortunately, these stores to do not ship abroad. However, the other Korean brands below are available at http://www.yesstyle.com/ and do ship to the UK and the US, quite cheaply. This website stocks affordable to designer fashion from Korea, Japan and other Asian countries.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
The seasons are so extreme here that I wish for Scottish weather. At home, summer constitutes one or two hot days, average temperatures, no humidity and drinking in the park until it starts raining. Although, my fond recollections are better than the reality in Scotland of no summer at all.
So, to distract myself from the 91% humidity outside, I have been looking forward to one of the major trends of winter, capes. Think military officers, Russian Czars or 1940s fur stoles as opposed to superheros. From short capelets to long 60s style ponchos, capes were awash on the catwalks in gothic leather, luxe velvet and camel tones. There are many styles to choose from- military, hooded, embroidered or preppy. Lets have a look.
embroidered cape from Alexander McQueen's last collection. So, capes are one of the definitive winter pieces. However, there are certain hazards to wearing capes, as Edna from The Incredibles shows.....perhaps avoid wearing on planes....
So, investing in a cape is not the best idea if you want to become a superhero. As for me, there is only three months until freezing temperatures, red noses and wishing for summer again.... but at least I can wear a cape.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Shimmer, sequins, vivid, fairytale and timeless.... these are a few words that can be used to describe Doii Lee's work. In a recent interview, the Korean designer defined her work as "sexy and fun with an innocent edge" and an "ultra feminine touch". Doii Lee graduated from Central St Martins with a BA in fashion design and knitwear in 2002. She was chosen as one of the top 10 most promising graduates of the year for the Victoria and Albert Museum 'fashion in motion' show. She began her career, working for John Galliano in Paris and was then headhunted by Antonio Marras, the art director for Kenzo. She established her first collection for her line Doii Paris in 2006, on the runways of Paris itself. Since then, she has appeared in fashion shows in Paris and Seoul. Now, Doii lives and designs in London, although her pieces are made in couture studios in Seoul.
Doii's Spring/summer 2010 collection was inspired by a painting by the Japanese artist Ikeda Mana, from his exhibition "Neoteny". Featuring a vivd colour palette of pink, turquoise and black, Doii's collection is exceptionally feminine, with busy, detailed geometric prints applied to simple, elegant shapes. The unique prints of hearts, flowers and plants are designed as if looking through a kaleidoscope. Doii suggests this as an inspiration "when the world dazzles and glitters as if ones looking through a kaleidoscope, it passes its infinite energy to me." In addition, embellishments and transparent sequins were added to create movement and shine. Small cute, bows and pleating were also featured quite prominently, emphasising the clothes appealing girlishness. In a collection mainly comprising of dresses, there are a few notable, distinctive pieces. The kimono sleeve trench coat is beautiful as is the black leather dress with cut out back, high collar and contrasting, embroidered belt.