Luxury fashion brands blend into bustling Korean art scene

Luxury fashion brands are expanding their presence in the vibrant Korean art scene through collaborations and sponsorships in an effort to court art collectors who gather in Seoul for international art fairs.

European fashion brands have a busy week of art exhibitions and VIP events at various venues across Seoul this week, all timed to coincide with the second edition of Frieze Seoul. The art fair returned to the COEX convention center in southern Seoul on Wednesday for a four-day run, with over 120 international galleries.

On the sideline of the art fair, French luxury brand Chanel partnered with Frieze Seoul to present “Now & Next,” a video series featuring established and emerging Korean contemporary artists.

The video series, the second collaborative project since last year, captures conversations of six Seoul-based artists sharing their artistic practices and shedding light on their relationship with the capital city.

“Chanel is delighted to extend its support of Frieze Seoul, in a joint effort to celebrate Korean creators across disciplines and generations,” Yana Peel, Chanel’s global head of arts & culture, said in a release. “We are honored to play a role in capturing the vibrant exchange of ideas taking place this week, and to extend Chanel’s promotion of artistic innovation and commitment to the conversations that drive culture forward.”

As part of its sponsorship program, Chanel also joined hands with the Korean heritage preservation society Yeol Foundation to host a Korean craft arts exhibition, titled “Woobomanri: An Enduring Walk Towards Purity,” in downtown Seoul, which runs until Sept. 23.

To coincide with the art fair, Italian luxury fashion house Prada on Tuesday kicked off the 10th iteration of contemporary cultural series “Plural and Parallel” at KOTE on Insa-dong street.

The cultural space showcases site-specific installations by esteemed Korean film directors Kim Jee-woon, Yeon Sang-ho and Jeong Da-hee, recreating scenes of contemporary cinema through each director’s idiosyncratic perspective.

“Film is a medium that can be enjoyed by everyone and shows the sensibility of the generation,” its curator Lee Sook-kyung said in a press conference Tuesday. “I wondered how Korean films, which have been widely known for decades, would be expressed when they meet the new genres of art and fashion.”

Last week, French brand Dior unveiled a new exhibition, “Lady Dior Celebration,” at its pop-up store in Seongsu-dong, featuring works by 24 Korean contemporary artists.

On display are 42 pieces of famous Lady Dior handbags recreated by reputable artists, including Lee Kun-Yong, Lee Hun-Chung, Yesum Yoon and Zadie Xa.

Among notable exhibitions is one by visual artist Kang Seo-kyeong that opened earlier in the day at Leeum Museum of Art in partnership with Italian luxury brand Bottega Veneta.

The exhibition, titled “Willow Drum Oriole,” is Kang’s largest-ever solo to date and the first brand-sponsored exhibition held at Leeum, the nation’s largest private gallery, run by Samsung Foundation of Culture.

Source: Yonhap News Agency