May 22, 2008

Seoul: Fashion

Women's fashion in Seoul this spring is characterized by a softness of color and drape. The main color palette is a blend of neutral gray and khaki with pastels, mainly blush tones. The styles are anything but body-conscious, with modest necklines and lots of play on volume, through released pleats, gathering, and sometimes layers on layers of fabric. Flower prints are popular, mostly of the quiet, romantic variety, as are flower appliqués and lace and ruffles as trim. Sportier styles, too, are soft and drapey, as at center right. 

An androgynous look also prevails, characterized by a more severe black-and-white palette and by a profusion of vests and blazers, often cutaway. Even these more tailored looks are made very feminine through the use of loose, oversized pockets, soft linen, and by layering them with blouses or enormous white shirtdresses.

Printed T-shirts abound for the younger crowd, often with lovely, hand-drawn illustrations, or with graphic prints simply copied from American posters or tees. These are typically paired with jeans or cutoff shorts, or with a matching tee for one's boyfriend.

As with T-shirts, brand trademarks get little respect; the fake Zara above predates the real Zara, which just opened several locations in Seoul this month. Designer labels are held in high esteem, so Prada, Marni, and Alexander McQueen labels are slapped onto all kinds of creations completely unrelated to the original designers' work.

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