Actor Jang Dong-gun, left, and actress Ko So-young
By Jane Han
When actress Ko So-young showed up at the airport last month after vacationing in Hawaii with her beloved, heartthrob Jang Dong-gun, she sent a message to the wedding industry as to what kind of bride she intends to be.
Wearing a fancy Isabel Marant leopard-print fur coat, Ko sported metal-framed aviator shades by Rayban, a white oversized Givenchy bag and a gold metal Rolex watch. Striding comfortably in her black snakeskin kill heels, the star celeb was clad head-to-toe in bling.
Ko's bold fashion ensemble created not only an immediate stir, but also served as a hint to wedding vendors.
According to industry sources, premium dress shops, travel agencies, jewelry brands and beauty salons are all competing to let the 37-year-old bride-to-be know that they can provide her with whatever she wishes.
They don't seem to mind bending over backwards since the wedding between Ko and Jang is expected to draw a huge media spotlight in Korea and all over Asia.
"The PR effect is going to be massive," said an unnamed manager of Blanc, a dress drop in Cheongdam-dong, a posh fashion district in southern Seoul, "so everyone and their moms are trying to somehow get in touch with Ko."
Sources say the fashion icon is personally planning her own wedding, without hiring a professional planner.
To catch Ko's attention, marketers say free sponsorship is a given as they're competing to offer all kinds of added perks, promising her a better wedding experience. And with the clock ticking, they're starting to move faster.
The couple has reportedly already decided on their hair and make-up stylists for the big day, which is said will take place at the Shilla Hotel.
Ko plans to let her everyday stylist at Cheongdam-dong's W Purify handle her hair and make-up, while Jang is expected to leave the work to his favorite shop, Aura Hair.
The hair and make-up may be set, but the bride-to-be has yet to select her wedding dress shop.
Paparazzi have recently spotted Ko touring numerous boutiques in the Cheongdam-dong and Apgujueong-dong area, but sources say she hasn't made the final call yet.
Competition among wedding shops is the most intense since a bride's dress usually creates the biggest buzz.
For example, after popular actresses Kim Nam-joo and Shim Eun-ha wore dresses by Vera Wang in 2005, the New York designer's pieces became the No. 1 choice for brides for years. The same happened when top actress Kim Hee-seon wore Reem Acra's dress in 2007.
"The dress, along with even the smallest accessories that Ko chooses, will go down in fashion history," said a consultant at Esmeralda, a luxury dress shop.
Jang is set to announce the wedding details at a fan meeting on March 6.