For the Chanel Resort 2016 runway show, Karl Lagerfeld showed the rich cultural movement of ...

May 8, 2015

For the Chanel Resort 2016 runway show, Karl Lagerfeld showed the rich cultural movement of South Korea, a relatively unchartered territory.

“I think people don’t know so much about it. They know everything about China and Japan, but I think they don’t know so much about [South] Korea. I thought it was a good idea,” the designer said during a fitting ahead of the Korean-inspired Chanel Resort 2016 show at the futuristic Dongdaemun Design Plaza, a curvaceous spaceship-like structure.

The voluminous shapes and bold color combinations of hanboks, the South Korean equivalent of the kimono, inspired the designer. He delivered his own high-fashion versions of these full, high-waisted dresses in patchwork silk — including one in a smattering of pastel hues and another version in soft pink that closed the show.

Delicate beading reminiscent of the embellishments on old Korean trunks adorned a sheer blouse with patent leather trim. Bold strips of color similar to those found on the sleeves of hanboks were a key design motif – they added a jolt to several dresses as well as a sequined dress and a flap bag. The styles in tweed, rendered in punchy weaves of bright hues, were also standouts. “It’s an updated Korean version of the Chanel jacket,” Lagerfeld noted.

In a nod to the historical hairdos featured in South Korean period dramas, there were bold headpieces made from thick braids of black hair, some in crown formations and others in buns similar to mouse ears. Chunky low heels with squared off toes and mary janes with built-in leather socks were the key footwear items; they, too, derive from traditional Korean garb.

Chanel staged the show on a modernist, minimalist set – a colorful expanse of polka dot-shaped stools and light fixtures that transformed the space into a giant Twister mat. Lagerfeld said he wanted to break with Asian traditionalism for this aspect of the show.

“I wanted something that was the modem part of Korea,” Lagerfeld explained during a preview.


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