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Minjee Kim Sat Lecture 1/19/2019


Is Traditional Dress Modern? Hanbok in a Greater Cultural Context

Presented by Minjee Kim Saturday, January 19, 2019, 10 am Koret Auditorium, de Young Museum

Admission: Free for current members of the TAC; $5 for students and members of FAMSF; $10 General Admission

Infusing the wearers with ineffable dignity and allure, traditional dresses have been valued as a cultural heritage that embodies the collective identity of community members. This notion has often shed more light on the stagnant, preserved features than on their intrinsic, ever-transforming nature. Indeed, traditional dresses were daily wear during the pre-modern times developed in a way suiting the lifestyle of the members, lively responding to the external factors that impacted on the changes of style throughout history. Flipping the idea viewing traditional Korean dress as fixated, timeless cultural continuity, Minjee Kim will bring out the dynamism shown in the evolution of traditional Korean dress in a greater cultural context: from the provenance of the style and its acculturation into the then-current international trends to the fruition that has distinctively manifested the country’s cultural authenticity.

Drawing dialogue up to recent practice, she will continue to illuminate the responses of the traditional dress to the shifting cultural climate in modern times. She will unfold (1) the term, “hanbok” as a modern coinage, (2) the paradoxical aspect of modern hanbok ensemble, (3) the continuous incorporation of western and global elements into the cut, silhouette, colors, textiles and embellishments of hanbok construction, and (4) the history of appropriation of hanbok in world fashion through the works by Zandra Rhodes, Carolina Herrera, Karl Lagerfeld, and Jean Paul Gaultier.

Minjee Kim is a dress historian and lecturer specializing in Korean dress. Born and raised in Korea, she received her PhD from Seoul National University. She worked as a faculty member at Jeonju Kijeon College, a lecturer at Seoul National University, and conducted several projects on period costume reproduction for the museums in Korea. After moving to the United States in 2000, she has dedicated herself to raising the visibility of traditional Korean dress both in academia and for the general public. The venues for her past activities include J. Paul Getty Museum, University of Southern California Pacific Asia Museum, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, University of San Francisco, Rutgers University, Fashion Institute of Technology, and Bard Graduate Center. She is a board member of Costume Society of America Western Region and currently teaching in the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

Image: “Women’s Hanbok Ensemble (2018) Designed by Eunjoo Kim for Meehee Hanbok in Los Angeles, Photo by Jbro Studio.


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