Tonight I started swimming again, after work, and that was pretty uneventful except for some cute kids taking lessons and their teacher who was REALLY hassling them. He kept teasing them about being scared and then reassuring them they’d be okay. And of course they were.
But when I left the pool, I heard a REALLY loud ruckus coming from over where the students are holding their festival. Loud, sexy music… what else could it be, but…
YES! A FASHION SHOW! Now, this may surprise you. I used to hate fashion shows in Canada, I hated them with a passion. But in the last couple of years I’ve discovered that, seeing them live, I sort of enjoy them. If I hear one going on, I usually wander over and check it out, at least…
Why do I like fashion shows in Korea?
- Because they’re really weird.
- Because the girls are usually stunning, and graceful. (Usually. This time there were a few girls who walked like crippled chickens, but… still, most of them were graceful.)
- Because the audience usually gets really into it.
- Because the fashions are downright science-fictional. Which I believe tells me something about Korean culture.
- Because there is something beautiful, even if decadent (or perhaps moreso because of its decadence) about the way that fashion shows remodel the human body, and the way we adorn it, in our minds. There’s something very uncivilized about it, but also something that is very much about civilization in looking at people who are present only to be carriers for clothing, or in fact carriers and exemplars for a certain conception of how we ought to adorn our bodies and hide ourselves from (or show ourselves to) others.
- Did I mentioned that the girls look really good?
Tonight, there was one trend I noticed… a lot of recombining older styles, like for example the cabaret girl styles of the end of the last century (as seen in Moulin Rouge, most obviously, as the song during that line of fashions was from the soundtrack), and a lot of back-to-nature-ism… all mixed with a surprising amount of bare skin and body paint. At first, I thought the Moulin Rouge-esque line was purely lingerie, but realized that no, this was supposed to be club fashion or something.
Another thing I noticed was an interesting amount of fashion for bigger women. Some of the models were really thin, disturbingly thin in fact, but some of them were actually big, not only by Korean but also by North American standards. I also noticed that some of the designers who took the bow at the end of the show were bigger women, and I was impressed at this.
It made me remember a fashion show I attended last year, when my student Sun Hwa (not Judy, blogger Sun Hwa, but another Sun Hwa who now lives in Seoul) had her final project modeled among the many wonderful designs. I was so impressed by her work and I hoped she would be able to go overseas to study design. But, she is in the best Women’s University in Korea, so I’m sure she will learn a lot studying fashion design there. That night, like tonight, was really fun and impressive, too.