GWU’s Textile Museum showcases Korean fashion, old and new

There’s a purpose the illustrations of 15th-century outfits search so glamorous in “Korean Vogue: From Royal Court docket to Runway,” at the George Washington University Museum and the Textile Museum. The sleekly personalized and gold-embellished outfits are in fact costumes from the 2011 hit South Korean Tv set sequence “The Princess’s Man,” a interval romance that took some liberties with standard Korean garb. The precise historical products in the demonstrate are subtler, but no significantly less fascinating.

Individuals dubiously exact get-ups aside, “Korean Fashion” addresses a minor more than a century of the nation’s clothing. The oldest items are royal and aristocratic clothes that had been exhibited at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. (Like numerous objects proven at that party, they then entered the selection of the institution that turned the Area Museum.) It was the 1st time that Korea, regarded from 1392 to 1897 as “the hermit kingdom,” participated in a world’s honest.

At the time, Korea upheld the stringent proprieties of neo-Confucianism, so extravagant clothing and self-expressive trend ended up not appropriate. Korean clothing, regarded as hanbok, denoted social status, but did so discreetly. Shades have been muted and adornment was unusual. Additional notable men and women distinguished themselves with the luxurious high quality and exquisite detailing of their hand-woven and hand-assembled attire.

Whilst Korea is culturally very close to neighboring China and Japan, hanbok is singular. Its unique goods consist of billowing skirts, black stovepipe hats and women’s jackets cropped so significant that they are small much more than sleeves. Of the 19th-century attire in this variety, the parts that look most like the apparel of Korea’s neighbors are ornate bridal robes embroidered with images of bouquets.

If the 1893 expo was the initial time Korea displayed hanbok to the world, it was also a little something of a final stand for the nation’s common outfits. In 1895, the country’s officers switched to Western garb, and hanbok became reserved for unique events, as the show’s curator, Lee Talbot, notes. (A more wrenching change came in 1905, when Korea began the transition into currently being a colony of imperial Japan, which imposed its society and language.)

The leading ground of this two-story exhibition is devoted to the modern period, noteworthy for hallyu, the “Korean wave” of entertainment and manner that surged beyond South Korea’s borders. Two movie screens doc the latest K-pop performers and today’s youthful streetwear, respectively, whilst a 3rd gives a quick-slash historical past of South Korean manner from the stop of the Korean War to the 1990s. This incorporates pics of an official police crackdown on extensive hair for adult men and brief skirts for ladies all through the 1970s.

Amongst the far more current objects are 1980s hanbok-type togs for small children — manufactured in shiny hues, since this kind of shades are meant to safeguard children from evil — and hanbok-encouraged modern day school uniforms. There is a quilted jacket built by Julie Lee, an American lady who in 1959 married a single of Korea’s previous crown princes, and sleek attire by Nora Noh, South Korea’s initially key postwar girl designer.

An additional dress on exhibit was devised in the 1990s by the designer known as Icinoo (a phonetic contraction of Lee Shin-woo), just one of the very first South Koreans to current a collection in Paris. It’s regular not in define but in product: hanji, or handmade Korean paper.

Also on show are illustrations of bojagi, which is built of colorfully adorned fabric but not intended for wearing. The decorated wrapping cloths, which have been generated in Korea for at the very least 600 years, are used to offer items and for many other ritual reasons. The show features some examples of up to date recent bojagi, as nicely as a bojagi-encouraged dress crafted in 2016 by the German designer Karl Lagerfeld, longtime artistic director of Chanel. That striking gown signifies Korea’s lengthy journey from hermit kingdom to global manner trendsetter.

Korean Style: From Royal Courtroom to Runway

George Washington University Museum and Textile Museum, 701 21st St. NW. museum.gwu.edu.

Kenneth Proto

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