Seoul Mates

Lie Sang Bong

Lie Sang Bong. Photo courtesy of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs.

France has long marked its friendships with other nations with art—take, for example, the Statue of Liberty. In honor of its 130th anniversary of relations with Korea, France is committing to an entire year of celebrations, kicking off with an exhibition of 700 works by 150 artists at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. The exhibition features design objects made using both old techniques (najeonchilgi mother of pearl inlay and hanji, paper handmade from paper mulberry bark) interpreted by contemporary Korean artists and artisans, as well as a few new ones (Lee Kwang-ho’s lighting, knit in thick PVC tubes)—but fashion that takes up nearly half of the show. The artistic director Suh Young-Lee asked 5 rising Korean fashion designers to channel one of the five cardinal colors of the Korean spectrum: Lie Sang-bong used red in an elaborate decoration inspired by shaman magic ritual; André Kim’s opulent tailoring came in golden yellow; Juun.Ji incorporated a fusion of Western and traditional Korean styles in blue; Lee Suk-Tae was inspired by punk, the ‘50s and K-pop in black; and Jin Te-ok embodied purity and lightness in white. It’s going to be a colorful year.