Korean Contingent Prominent at New York Fashion Week

Three Korean fashion models and five fashion designers participating in the Seoul-sponsored Concept Korea have added a distinctly Korean flavor to this year’s New York Fashion Week which opened Thursday.

Three Korean models displaying fall fashion for several top fashion houses were among 10 featured in New York Magazine as the most promising newcomers on this season’s runways.

Kim Sung-hee, 26, was dubbed “the first-ever Asian face of Prada” by New York Magazine. She had been personally discovered by Miuccia Prada, head designer of the luxe Italian Prada and Miu Miu lines. Kim was one of the world-class models shot by Steven Meisel for a book featuring Miu Miu’s 2013 collection. Her long curves are ideal to drape the slouchy look favored by Chinese American designer Alexander Wang, NYM opined.

Park Ji-hye, 25, has been strutting for Chanel and Christian Dior this season after modeling for Louis Vuitton and Diesel. She was the pick of model casting director James Scully as the model most likely to light up this year’s Vogue pages. Her angular frame was deemed well suited to display the gowns of Jason Wu, Michelle Obama’s designer of choice for both inaugurations.

Soo Joo, 23, is a relative newcomer, having broken into the international modeling scene in 2010. Her locks, dyed platinum, have overdraped the runway offerings of Chanel and Vivienne Westwood and have also been featured in photo shoots for the trendy BCBG.

NYM’s picks to become the rising stars of the season’s runways also incude two Russians, and one woman each from the US, Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Angola.

The other half of the Korean presence at New York Fashion Week — one of the world’s four major fashion extravaganzas along with Milan, Paris and London — are the five Korean designers chosen to participate in NYFW’s opening show Thursday at The Stage at Lincoln Center as part of the “Concept Korea” presentation.

Designers Lie Sang-bong, Son Jung-wan, Choi Bo-ko, Kathleen Kye and Kim Hong-bum will present their fashions on the runway to the strains of Korean fusion which combines traditional music with more upbeat modern rhythms. The Concept Korea show is in its seventh season. It is presented by Seoul’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Korea Creative Contents Agency, the city of Daegu and the Korea Research Institute for Fashion Industry.

Korean American designers have already been making waves on the New York fashion scene for years. Among them are Richard Chai, Gemma Kahng, Doo-Ri Chung and Elaine Kim. During the past decade Asian Americans collectively have become a prominent source of fresh concepts and aesthetics on the American fashion scene.