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J. Paul Getty Museum Celebrates 2,000 Years of Korean Fashion and Culture

J. Paul Getty Museum Celebrates 2,000 Years of Korean Fashion and Culture in Hanbok: Mesmerizing Beauty. On March 22, the Getty and the Korean Cultural Center, Los Angeles, present the rich and colorful history of Hanbok, a form of traditional dress in Korea, in a fashion show featuring 200 costumes by renowned Korean designer Hyun-Sook Lee. Inspired by Lee’s extensive research and profound knowledge of historical royal garments, this journey through Korean culture also includes dynamic performances by professional dancers and the thrilling sounds of the traditional Korean percussion ensemble U-So. The program complements the exhibition Looking East: Rubens’s Encounter with Asia, on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center March 5–June 9, 2013.

Featured in the event will be replica costumes from the Three Kingdom period (57 BCE) to present day. The event also includes replica costumes that provide a sense of how Korean clothing from the Joseon dynasty was worn, with examples of a long-sleeved cheollik and a short-sleeved dapho, luxurious silk coats that are layered to stunning effect. These types of garments are thought to be worn by the figure in Peter Paul Rubens’s famous drawing Man in Korean Costume, which is the focus of the Getty’s exhibition. There will also be a small re-enactment of a traditional Korean wedding ceremony.

“This fashion show brings historical Korean clothing to life—the sumptuous silk garments are vibrantly colored and intricately layered,” explains Stephanie Schrader, curator of the exhibition. “We are grateful to Heeseon Choi of the Korean Cultural Center in Los Angeles for putting together such a spectacular program.”

Hyun-Sook Lee, president of Hanboknara Namgaram, is one of the most sought-after costume designers in Korea. Her film and television work includes modern and historical dramas: Heo Jun, Sang Do, Hong Googyung, Cheondungsori (A Sound of Thunder), Seodongyo (Song of the Prince), Seondukyeowang (Queen Seondeok), Jjakpae (The Duo), Gye Baek, Haerulpumundal (The Sun and the Moon), Sindeuluimanchan (Feast of the Gods), and Ma-eui (Horse Healer), on Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), Moonhwa Broadcasting Company (MBC), and Seoul Broadcasting Company (SBS). Lee’s academic credentials include advanced degrees from the Academy of Korean Studies, the National Folk Museum, and on-going research on costumes in portraits of kings at the Nansa Research Center. Her exhibitions and fashion shows have been presented in Paris, the United States and throughout Korea.

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