Inside ‘Hallyu! The Korean Wave’, the V&A’s playful exhibition celebrating Korean fashion and culture

“I wanted to mix traditional Korean clothes with European clothes, so I asked for the complete list of European costumes and models that the V&A has to know what to match,” says acclaimed stylist Suh Younghee of her contribution. For Hallyu!, she combines multiple layers of petticoats, underwear, and summer hanbok undergarments with an 18th-century European hoop skirt to create a unique look called Beyond Underwear. Meanwhile, Tchai Kim, who started the “fashion hanbok” movement to give high status to traditional costumes (her dresses are the most coveted for Korean brides), transformed a cheollik, or riding coat to men, into an exquisite feminine ensemble using luxurious silk. .

Miss Sohee’s Peony dress.

Daniel Sachon

You can also glimpse the future of K fashion with works by young designers. Ji Won Choi’s hanbok-influenced leisurewear, made in collaboration with Adidas in 2019, was worn by Beyoncé. Fresh out of Central Saint Martins, Miss Sohee’s Sohee Park is shaping up to be a new-gen designer. Her sculptural silhouettes are carefully crafted and hand-embroidered using deadstock and upcycled fabrics.

With so many flows and contrasts in Korean culture, it’s hard to cover so many facets, and sometimes there’s a lack of cohesiveness in the staging. However, throughout Hallyu!, there is an abundance of dynamic energy that echoes that of Korea itself. It will make you want to dance and sing – and it will make you want to remix like the Koreans do.

About Dawn Valle

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