There’s a rationale the examples of 15th-century outfits seem so glamorous in “Korean Trend: From Royal Courtroom to Runway,” at the George Washington College Museum and the Textile Museum. The sleekly tailored and gold-embellished outfits are essentially costumes from the 2011 strike South Korean Television set sequence “The Princess’s Male,” a time period romance that took some liberties with classic Korean garb. The genuine historical objects in the present are subtler, but no much less appealing.
Those people dubiously exact get-ups aside, “Korean Fashion” addresses a minor much more than a century of the nation’s clothing. The oldest products are royal and aristocratic clothes that were being exhibited at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. (Like a lot of objects proven at that event, they then entered the collection of the institution that grew to become the Field Museum.) It was the 1st time that Korea, recognized from 1392 to 1897 as “the hermit kingdom,” participated in a world’s fair.
At the time, Korea upheld the strict proprieties of neo-Confucianism, so extravagant garments and self-expressive fashion were being not acceptable. Korean outfits, recognized as hanbok, denoted social status, but did so discreetly. Colors were being muted and adornment was rare. Much more prominent persons distinguished themselves with the luxurious quality and sophisticated detailing of their hand-woven and hand-assembled apparel.
Though Korea is culturally very near to neighboring China and Japan, hanbok is singular. Its distinct objects involve billowing skirts, black stovepipe hats and women’s jackets cropped so large that they’re very little far more than sleeves. Of the 19th-century clothing in this range, the items that search most like the outfits of Korea’s neighbors are ornate bridal robes embroidered with photos of bouquets.
If the 1893 expo was the first time Korea displayed hanbok to the environment, it was also one thing of a very last stand for the nation’s regular clothing. In 1895, the country’s officers switched to Western garb, and hanbok became reserved for particular occasions, as the show’s curator, Lee Talbot, notes. (A more wrenching change arrived in 1905, when Korea started the changeover into staying a colony of imperial Japan, which imposed its lifestyle and language.)
The prime flooring of this two-story exhibition is devoted to the present day era, notable for hallyu, the “Korean wave” of entertainment and style that surged further than South Korea’s borders. Two online video screens document latest K-pop performers and today’s youthful streetwear, respectively, whilst a 3rd delivers a swift-lower historical past of South Korean trend from the stop of the Korean War to the 1990s. This includes shots of an formal law enforcement crackdown on long hair for gentlemen and quick skirts for girls all through the 1970s.
Between the additional recent objects are 1980s hanbok-fashion togs for young children — produced in dazzling hues, since this sort of hues are meant to secure young children from evil — and hanbok-motivated up to date faculty uniforms. There is a quilted jacket created by Julie Lee, an American lady who in 1959 married one particular of Korea’s very last crown princes, and smooth attire by Nora Noh, South Korea’s very first big postwar lady designer.
One more costume on display was devised in the 1990s by the designer regarded as Icinoo (a phonetic contraction of Lee Shin-woo), one of the initially South Koreans to current a collection in Paris. It is common not in outline but in product: hanji, or handmade Korean paper.
Also on exhibit are examples of bojagi, which is built of colorfully embellished material but not intended for putting on. The decorated wrapping cloths, which have been manufactured in Korea for at least 600 many years, are employed to package gifts and for numerous other ritual needs. The demonstrate includes some illustrations of up to date the latest bojagi, as properly as a bojagi-impressed dress crafted in 2016 by the German designer Karl Lagerfeld, longtime imaginative director of Chanel. That placing robe signifies Korea’s extended journey from hermit kingdom to world style trendsetter.
Korean Trend: From Royal Court to Runway
George Washington College Museum and Textile Museum, 701 21st St. NW. museum.gwu.edu.