Art embraces fashion
By Kwon Mee-yoo
The boundary of fine art is being blurred and becoming ever more diversified.
Incorporating fashion into art is the latest of this movement. Fashion exhibitions have become a part of major fine art museums across the globe. “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and “Balenciaga and Spain” de Young Museum last year were big hits and “Louis Vuitton — Marc Jacobs” exhibition is ongoing on at Les Arts Decoratifs in Paris.
However, fashion has not yet been integrated into the field of fine art in Korea and fashion exhibitions are scarce. There were experiments such as “Fashion into Art” last July, when Vogue Korea invited 15 designers and 15 artists to team up and create artwork.
The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea (NMOCA) is making an attempt to bring fashion and art close together. The NMOCA’s museum shop UUL collaborated with veteran designer Moon Young-hee to present a fashion show inspired by ongoing “Dansaekhwa: Korean Monochrome Painting” exhibition and limited edition costumes at the shop.
Moon launched her namesake brand in 1992 and moved to Paris in 1996. Since then, she has participated in Paris Pret-a-Porter for some 17 years and was awarded L’Ordre National Du Merite in 2008.
Six avant-garde dresses are on display at the art shop. The big white dress set up in the show window is a result of disassembling and recombining 10 trench coats. Moon said the reflection of the dress on the shiny floor is part of her work as well.
At the corner of UUL, Moon carefully reenacted her atelier in Paris, complete with small sewing machine and fabric swatches pinned on a cork board.
Moon Young-hee limited edition at UUL included knit dresses, tops and short pants. “The museum shop is more close to daily life, different from fine art pieces in the museum. I designed the limited edition garments for UUL in modern and simple ways, so customers will want to buy those unlike appreciating artwork in a museum,” Moon said. “That’s why I offer this collection at nearly production cost.”
In addition to the limited collection, more affordable items such as leather clutch bags, scarves and t-shirts with Moon’s sketches are also available.
At the fashion show held in late April, Moon presented 51 works chosen from her archive after watching the “Dansaekhwa” exhibition.
“I was moved by the color and texture at the exhibition. They looked general as well as unique to each artist. I handpicked costumes that would match the monochrome paintings,” the designer said.
Moon said she was inspired by the intense, contemporary red and black of Park Seo-bo’s paintings and various shades of white, and volumes of “hanji,” or Korean traditional paper in Kwon Young-ho’s works.
This is the museum’s first fashion-related event since 1988 in which Moon also took part. Moon hopes her collaboration with NMOCA will open up more opportunities for designers at fine art museums. “I hope people will recognize fashion as being equivalent to fine art,” Moon said.
NMOCA hinted at further cooperation in the fashion design field, including employment of a fashion curator. “Moon is known for her experimental, challenging style and we found it meets with the principles of contemporary art,” Kim Yoon-hee of NMOCA said. have hired a curator specializing in architecture and the same could be done for fashion.”
The “Dansaekhwa” exhibition runs through Sunday, while Moon’s dresses will be on display through summer. For more information, call (02) 2188-6114 or visit www.moca.go.kr/engN.