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Lee Young-hee’s Stuff of Dreams, at the Guimet

A day trip away on the Eurostar is an exciting exhibition featuring the work of fashion designer Lee Young-hee (1936-2018), pioneer of the contemporary hanbok. The following text is a slightly edited Google translation of the official notice on the Guimet website.

Lee Young-hee’s Stuff of Dreams

Musée national des arts asiatiques – Guimet | 6 place d’Iéna | 75116 Paris |
4 December 2019 – 9 March 2020
Open every day except Tuesday, from 10 am to 6 pm

Lee Young-hee's Stuff of Dreams

Thanks to an exceptional textile donation, the MNAAG is the recipient of the world’s largest collection of Korean textiles outside of Korea.

Honoured in her country as the greatest figure in Korean fashion, Lee Young-hee (1936-2018) propelled onto the international scene the image of a modern and uninhibited Korea, proud of its illustrious past and its refined tradition . Drawing her inspiration and philosophy from the hanbok, the traditional clothing of Korean women, her art flourishes in a constantly renewed modernity, passing from the perfect mastery of traditional forms to the aerial figures of a liberated hanbok.

Lee Young-hee began her career as dressmaker-stylist almost by accident. Korean clothing would quickly become a passion that she deepened through historical research conducted with Seok Ju-seon, a recognized specialist in the history of costume. Together they set out on a meticulous reconstruction of clothing from the scroll paintings depicting court ceremonies at the end of the Choson period (1394-1910). The costumes of the officials and the court costumes of this period are extremely rare. Lee Young-hee set up a process of “recreating” these pieces which included the manufacture of identical silks, the use of natural dye, sewing and hand embroidery; her work also fed on a collection of precious historical Choson pieces – clothing or accessories – which she gradually assembled throughout her career. In 1993 Lee Young-hee showed a collection of ready-to-wear in Paris, and presented a haute couture fashion show the following year. Her “fabrics of winds and dreams” would enchant haute-couture fashion shows until 2016 in Paris, as well as in New York.

She explored all traditional materials (ramie, silk) while experimenting with new blends (banana fiber and silk), playing in turn on the effects of transparencies and rough materials, making the traditional combination (a broad, broad dress under the chest and a very short bolero tied with ribbons), a versatile vocabulary, freely and constantly reinvented.

The National Museum of Asian Arts – Guimet received in 2019 an exceptional donation from the textile fund of LEE Young-hee from her daughter, Chungwoo LEE, with the support of the DARI foundation.

(automatically generated) Read LKL’s review of this event here.

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