NYFW: Move Over K-Pop, Here Comes K-Fashion at Concept Korea


Despite debuting right off the heels of the K-Pop phenomenon “Gangnam Style,” Fashion Week’s Concept Korea 2013 collective held its own on Thursday night with five new buzzworthy designers…and thankfully, they didn’t play Psy’s freaking song over the speakers.

As the show was running late and the traditional Korean music “gukak” was soothing me into Ambien mode, I was jolted by three fierce and pungently perfumed musketeers flanking my left side. The photogs went ballistic at their presence and publicists kowtowed to their every gesture…all the while, everyone else in the audience, including myself, was like: “Who the hell are these cats?”

At first glance, I thought the chick with the neon orange hair ensconced in Gaga-esque shades was Gwen Stefani and that sandwiched in between her was Vanessa Paradis and a chunkier version of Miss Lawrence from the Real Housewives of Atlanta…but alas, I found out their real identities after the show.

Apparently, the orange-haired gal was a British pop singer named Neon Hitch, and the Miss Paradis lookalike referred to herself as “The House of Cora” (Neon’s glorified makeup artist). As for densely packed Miss Lawrence, honey, I was looking at none other than Malik So Chic, a self-proclaimed “NYC nightlife icon” and “Couture Gayngsta,” who used to be on a short-lived CW reality show called High Society, opposite Tinsley Mortimer. And with that, I guess I better RuPaul-o-gize for my mistake.

But whatevs…let’s get on with the show…

Concept Korea 2013 represented a full spectrum of the cultural crosscurrents facing the small peninsula these days, giving a sartorial and musical bow to the traditional, the globally modern, and the youthfully Americanized urbane.

Kick-starting the show, designer Choi Bo Ko (Choiboko) blended his designs with modern floppy hats, high-collared cuts, and ancient Korean “hieroglyphical” emblems.

Diverging from the angular, form-fitting suits that have been a longstanding trend in Korea, Hongbum Kim (Cres E. Dim) offered some softer looks by introducing cocoon-shaped jackets and tops, along with a flirty blend of masculine leather, feminine silks, and pleated skirts.

For those who prefer a bit of Z-snappin’ fab-uh-lous-ness in their wardrobe, Son Jung Wan gave her designs wings to fly, with divalicious feather-filled sleeve ensembles and vests that were balanced with more conservative neutral tones.

If you’re looking for some sophisticated artsy fartsy in your wardrobe, Lie Sang Bong introduced architectural, industrial prints tempered with curvier silhouettes. His matrixial creations were an eye swirler, for sure, and made you feel like you were scouring the racks of the MOMA Design Store.

But for me, perhaps the most showstopping duds were the hip-hop aesthetics of Kathleen Hanhee Kye (Kye), who apparently watched too many reruns of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, as evidenced by her baggy, graffitied two-piece getups. Using a variation of bold colors, she made my eyeballs explode with a totally pimped-out Kool-Aid blue fur coat that I could totally see Kanye West wearing in no time.

So overall, was I impressed with Concept Korea? Well, let me say this: Having traveled to Korea and been witness to girls wearing T-shirts that inexplicably stated “Uncle” and adults wearing the brand name “Hamster Fashion” stitched into their jogging suits, I would say K-Fashion has come a long way, baby, and I’m crazy grateful to see its evolution.