Carolina Herrera's NYFW Show: Hanbok Inspired!

Often times fashion designers take huge risks with their ethnic-inspired lines that become too literal and off-the-mark. One designer who was completely amiss was Alberta Ferretti with the fashion house’s Chinese-inspired line which had models walking down in cheonsam gowns and cooley hats with prints that were border-line Christian Audigier-like concoctions that would make anyone from the Jersey Shore take a second glance. Tacky. To hit the nail on the head would be to actually use an Asian model to don the designs down the runway, but perhaps using one would be offensive and too well, literal?

But then there are designers who put a lot of thought and effort into designs, seamlessly meshing together wearable, chic pieces of art by translating traditional ethnic attire into modernized frocks and dresses that are intelligent. This was the case for Carolina Herrera who showed her Spring RTW 2011 line heavily inspired by Korea today at Lincoln Center where models sported flowy gowns that had heavy influences from the Korean han bok.

Taking beautiful bold florals, the designer merged the Korean han bok and muted Eastern colors into modernized, western attire. The ongoing motif throughout the show seemed to have been the goreum, the bow that wraps the jeogori (short coat) together. Not only were some of the slim-cut dresses perfectly wearable, the gowns that Herrera created were just as beautiful and chic as the entire collection, like the bouncy, full, chima-dress.

It is one of the many examples in the collection where the traditional han bok is taken, deconstructed, and then sewn together for modern fare.
And to top it off, Herrera took traditional Korean menswear and accessorized most of the pieces with a gat, the hat that most yangbans would wear for style.

With muted colors like gray, purple and tan, there were pops of bold, brazen splashes like rouge, orange, and salmon that created a collection full of promise, grace, and bravado. Never have I personally witnessed such a modernized version of han boks that are modern and wearable until now. We applaud you, Carolina!