Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Hangul Day Fashion Show, with King Sejong the Great

October 9th was National Hangul Day in Korea. Hangul is the Korean alphabet, which was created during the Joseon Dynasty in 1443 by King Sejong the Great.

To celebrate the day and its creator, a friend and I had the happy chance to attend a fashion show (in the VIP section!) at Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), complete with musical entertainment and a display of Korean hanbok by designer Soon Hwa Lee.

The runway and stage were set, and we were outside underneath part of the spaceship-like DDP structure - very cool (and shiny!).

Our emcees for the evening (in spoke Korean and the other repeated everything in English) got us started with the welcome speeches and introductions, including a number of ambassadors and congresswomen.

I did not get a video, but these two lovely Korean children performed the Korean National Anthem - on cello and voice - and it was beautifully pure and simple.  Click above to hear a sample.

The entertainment started, and oh, it was wonderful - first was a traditional Korean mini-drum dance - very colorful, energetic, and fun to watch.

- and I did get video of this one - it features percussion and the piri (think REALLY loud oboe), so check your volume first!

Next up was ballet, with two sets of dancers - one somber and one joyful.  I think the first pair was really sad due to the chilly weather - she was visibly shivering, the poor thing.

The last pre-show entertainment was from a K-Performance called "Grandpa is a Superstar" was a mix of rap, b-boy, and a "grandpa" who tries to do all of the dances - very funny!

Next came the actual fashion show, which was split into two parts - the old and the new.  The first half of the clothing worn was from the period of King Sejong the Great - and showcased the clothing worn by various people within his family and court, including children, military, performers, and advisors.

Hanbok is the traditional clothing of Korean, marked by clean lines and beautiful patterns/fabrics. It is worn today mostly on holidays and for weddings.

I'll let the pictures, that show the beautiful fabrics and designs, speak for themselves:

This next one was my favorite of the entire show - she also danced in it, which made it even better.


This next gentleman performed a traditional Korean martial art, with a fan as his weapon, 

Military attire from the period:

King Sejong the Great's clothing:

The actors re-eacted a story of the king giving his outer cloak to a scholar he found sleeping in the cold.

The king and his court, when hangul is proclaimed the official written language:

To introduce the next half of the fashion show, a Korean TV drama star came out to sing - a new style of music for the new styles of hanbok.

As you can tell from the next few photos, there was a marked difference between 
old and new - no sleeves!

And some very interesting head pieces - this one is one of the science instruments that King Sejong the Great used and is also displayed in the town square.

picture from S. Henley

This next one was another favorite. I think the model liked it, as well - she had a sassy smile the entire time.

Some outfits were missing more than just sleeves...

picture from S. Henley

There were a few more dresses that had Hangul and the Korean flag on them, but by then my poor phone battery had given up.  So these pictures are care of my friend, Sharamie:

picture from S. Henley

Check out the headpiece on this one!

picture from S. Henley

Designer Soon Hwa Lee taking her bow at the end.

picture from S. Henley

I had a great time and learned a little bit more about hanbok - 
hope you enjoyed it, as well!

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