Our fashion show in Paris 2011 – Le Grand Opera Ballroom and the Korean ‘Uigwe’

Paris is a place that holds great memories for me. I remember the city of Paris that I first encountered. It was an astonishing sight. However, the third time I set foot on the cobbled grounds of the city was different. My third visit in 2011 to Paris was one of the busiest trips I’ve been on, and one of the most important, too, since I was caught up somewhere between preparing for a historical fashion show that featured my own handmade costumes and costumes of people in the Korean Royal Costume Research Institute at the InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hotel and marveling at the remnants of architectural tradition of the building.

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Le Grand Opera Ballroom

The famous InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hotel. It was built in 1862 in a ‘Napoleonic palace style’.

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The chandelier and lights seemed to add to the elegance of the room. Many, including myself, wouldn’t hesitate to call the Grand Opera Ballroom of the hotel the most beautiful room in the world.

Paris and the Korean “Uigwe”

Uigwe: Wikipedia says that the ‘Uigwe’ is the generic name given to a vast collection of approximately 3,895 books recording in detail the royal rituals and ceremonies of the Joseon(Chosun) Dynasty of Korea.

The Uigwe, the records of Korean history, had come back to the open arms of Korea in 2011 after a long period of waiting. The French finally made an agreement to return the ancient artifacts to Korea after a series of diplomatic talks and activism from Korean citizens and political representatives. (To read more about this issue, click HERE.)

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So in return, we decided to show and reenact the wedding garments that the queen of Korea wore in the Chosun dynasty. I had studied the traditional wedding costumes of the Korean king and queen for ten years and recreated the clothes myself. For the fashion show, I checked the royal family’s, servants’, and their wives’ clothes again for historical accuracy.

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The queen is receiving her crown.
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The show took place in the Grand Opera Ballroom.

And then I carried out the cumbersome process of using the Uigwe as a guideline to create a fashion show that presented the queen’s wedding process of three~four months in 40 minutes.

When all was ready and practice for the show was over, we unpacked our luggage in the Intercontinental Paris Le Grand, which apparently used to be a palace. I finally got the chance to at least get a few glimpses of the most beautiful hotel in the world without the hustle of work. The intricacy and beauty of the hotel was just like that of Korea’s traditional clothing. Maybe that’s why Paris couldn’t let go of the Korean Uigwe so easily.

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The detailed decorations on the ceiling.
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These mallard ducks were brought from Korea, but the hotel’s atmosphere seemed to absorb their beauty, blending it in. Just like how my handmade Korean traditional clothing ironically suited the beauty of the Grand Opera Ballroom perfectly.

Credits: Wikipedia, InterContinental Paris Le Grand, National Museum of Korea

All other photos or information belong to this website and may not be copied without the writer’s permission.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Love your costumes and the pictures you take.. they are so amazingly precious… hope to be able to see it in person someday

    Liked by 1 person

    1. K-Silk Kim says:

      Thank you so much! : D I hope to be able to show you my work someday too. Let me know next time you visit Korea!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. At first it sounds incongruous, but as you stated how appropriate to see the lush Korean royal costumes in the midst of Parisian nineteenth century opulence! Wonderful work.

    Like

    1. K-Silk Kim says:

      Thank you so much! It means a lot to me that you appreciate my work. I enjoy reading your posts – I hope you continue to visit my blog too : )

      Liked by 1 person

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