Andre Kim Captivates Wuxi
By Cathy Rose A. Garcia
Wuxi,China _ World-renowned Korean fashion designer Andre Kim captivated Chinese audiences in the small city in southern Jiangsu province Thursday evening with a romantic runway show featuring top hallyu stars wearing his distinctive designs.
All eyes were on TV stars Park Sol-mi, Cho Hyun-jae, and K-pop's hottest singers Ivy and Son Ho-young, who were the main models of the fantasy-filled show held at the Wuxi International Convention Center.
With the theme ``Fantasy of Four Seasons,'' the one and a half hour program featured 170 pieces from Kim's 2008 fashion collection. The audience was mesmerized by the array of exquisite and colorful designs in a show divided into six stages.
The event started with a winter stage ``Festival of White Night,'' as models appeared wearing somber black and white pieces and fur stoles and fake snow swirled around them.
Much attention was given to Ivy's debut as a fashion model, and she charmed the crowd with her angelic smile. Park, co-star of the hit drama ``Winter Sonata,'' had a chance to show off her tan and curves on the runway. Actors Park Jin-woo and Jeong Dong-jin, as well as singer Tim, modeled Kim's designs.
Vibrant splashes of color, coupled with dashes of mystery and romance, punctuated each stage.
In ``Mystery of Oriental Dynasty,'' Kim paid homage to Chinese and Korean culture, history and art. ``I created gowns inspired by ancient Korea and Oriental kingdoms. We created colorful motifs like dragons, taken from the ancient Chinese culture,'' he told The Korea Times before the show.
For ``Fantasy of Immortal Masterpiece,'' Kim created gowns printed with famous works by masters such as Botticelli, Michelangelo, Ruben and Raphael. A highlight of the show was Kim's interpretation of the ``Legend of Seven Veils,'' where a model twirled around, peeling off one colorful coat at a time to finally unveil a pale blue gown.
Unlike his previous shows featuring only one main couple for the show's wedding finale, Kim said he decided to have two couples this time. Ivy and Son walked down the runway, looking like a match made in K-pop heaven, while Park and Cho looked like a picture-perfect couple in a TV drama.
Wild applause and cheers showered Kim as he took a bow at the end of the show.
Kim held his fashion show in this city located 128 kilometers from Shanghai, at the invitation of the Wuxi government and the International Textile and Fashion Megamall (ITFM), one of the world's largest fashion market and textile trading centers. Also known as Little Shanghai, Wuxi is the center of China's textile industry.
``This year's fashion show is very important because it is sponsored by the ITFM and Wuxi, which is a rising city for fashion in China. I am very happy that we are having a fashion show in Wuxi,'' he said.
Likewise, Wuxi and ITFM officials expressed their excitement at Kim's fashion show, which is expected to generate more interest in the ITFM and more business opportunities between Korea and China's textile and fashion industries.
Also, the event was meant to celebrate the 15th anniversary of China-Korea diplomatic ties and the upcoming 2008 Beijing Olympics. Kim said he has been invited to hold another fashion show during the Beijing Olympics next year.
This was Kim's 10th fashion show in China, having held shows in Beijing and Shanghai. Kim is known for staging romantic fashion shows in exotic locales such as Angkor Wat in Cambodia last year and at the pyramids in Egypt in 1996.
``Hallyu,'' a Chinese term coined to describe the popularity of Korean stars, dramas and music, continues to thrive in China. A handful of Son and Cho's fans even sneaked in the press conference to cheer their idols, as they spoke briefly.
On Wednesday, Kang Ta, one of the most popular K-pop stars in China, entertained crowds at the ITFM RNX Hallyu Concert at the Wuxi International Convention Center. Ivy, Son, Tim, Baby Vox Re. V, Mina, Jang Keun-suk, Han Jae-suk, Chae Eun-jung also performed at the event which was meant to generate publicity for the Global Korean Fashion/Beauty Expo on Aug. 8 at the ITFM.