Hye Park rebounds, backed by Balmain

Last month, Park became the first Asian to model for two French houses that are reputed for hiring only Caucasians.

혜박, 동양인 최초 ‘발망’ 패션쇼 무대 섰다

Apr 18,2011
Hye Park walks for Balmain during Paris Fashion Week in early March. Provided by Hye Park
Top fashion model Hye Park, 26, reached a milestone last month when she became the first ethnic Asian to model for the 2011 Fall/Winter collections of two French fashion brands that are reputed for hiring only Caucasians - Balmain and Isabel Marant - during Paris Fashion Week March 1 to 9.

The two shows marked Park’s return to the runway after a one-year hiatus after her marriage to Korean tennis coach Brian Park in May 2008.

Since her re-entry into fashion, she’s had a steady stream of work, beginning with a fashion editorial for Vogue Korea last Friday in Los Angeles, where she currently lives with her husband.

The Korean-born model, who is represented by New York’s Trump Model Management, one of the world’s top agencies, began her career at the relatively late age of 20. But her Asian looks, refined runway style and 5-foot-8-inch height helped her to gain modeling gigs with such global brands as Chanel and Prada, which rarely take on Asian models.

The following are excerpts from the Korea JoongAng Daily’s recent e-mail interview with Park.

Q. What was it like to model for Balmain and Isabel Marant?

A. I had originally intended to take a break until the 2011 F/W season but I changed my plans because both Balmain and Isabel Marant wanted me to walk for Paris Fashion Week at the recommendation of Vogue Paris editor in chief.

I had been yearning to do Balmain shows ever since I became a model, so doing the Balmain show was like a dream for me because only a limited number of runway models have walked for that brand. Of all the work I have ever done, the Balmain show was the most meaningful to me.

Do you think the treatment of Asian models has changed compared to when you started modeling five years ago? And do you think the rise of the luxury market in China has affected the recent increase in the number of ethnic Asian models?

Chinese models’ involvement in fashion in recent years has been unprecedented because of the enormous growth of the Chinese luxury market. It is true that Chinese models are popular these days, given that some designers are showcasing Chinese brands and some luxury brands have actually been launched in the country.

Do you think that international fashion brands apply stricter standards for ethnic Asian models than they do for other models?

The standards do not seem to have become any more strict compared to when I first started modeling. But the competition among Asian models has definitely become more fierce.

What do you think your strengths as a model are?

I don’t think I could say but some fashion designers and photographers have praised my walking and posing ability.

What motivated you to become a model?

One day I happened to see a video of a fashion runway show, which fascinated me. Since then I dreamed of becoming a model.

You started modeling comparatively late at the age of 20. How has that affected your career?

It is true that many models start working at an early age but I’ve never felt that my age has had a negative effect on my career. In the fashion industry, the model’s image and the ability to walk and pose come before age.

Many models, including the late Kim Daul (another top Korean model who committed suicide in her Paris apartment in late 2009), have said that their work often gives them a feeling of emptiness. Have you felt that way? If so, how do you handle it?

There are times when things go well and times when they don’t. Of course when things don’t work out as I’d like, I get hurt and feel empty. But since I am aware that I won’t be able to remain a top model forever, I have mentally prepared myself for the situation and do my best in any given situation. That way I think I can overcome any emptiness in my heart.

You’ve said in earlier interviews that your goal is to be on the cover of Vogue. How close do you think you are to that dream?

I’ve been on the cover of Vogue Korea several times but being on the covers of Vogue USA and Vogue France is still my biggest ambition.

What do you want to do when you stop modeling?

I have no plans to quit modeling at this moment but should I do so in the future, I want to study fashion.

Who are your favorite designers?

Marc Jacobs, Dolce & Gabbana, Balenciaga’s Nicolas Ghesquiere, and Burberry’s Christopher Bailey.

Who is your favorite Korean designer?

Jung Kuho, who designs for the Kuho brand.

Have you modeled for Korean brands before?

My first show was at the invitation of Kuho. I want to do additional runway shows in Korea if fate allows.

Do you prefer being recognized as Korean or American?

I always think of myself as Korean and display my Korean identity with pride.

How would you describe your personal style?

I like simple styling. I mostly wear jeans and T-shirts.

What do you do in your free time?

I shop and travel with my husband often. I also love working out and going to the beach.

By Seo Ji-eun [spring@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [머니투데이]

혜박, 동양인 최초 ‘발망’ 패션쇼 무대 섰다

한국 출신 톱모델 혜박(26·한국명 박혜림)이 동양인 최초로 '발망(Balmain)' 패션쇼에 섰다.

혜박은 지난 3일(현지시간) 프랑스 파리 패션위크에서 발망의 2011 가을·겨울컬렉션 패션쇼 무대에 올라 워킹을 선보였다. 동양인 모델 최초로 '발망' 패션쇼에 등장해 최고의 모델임을 입증했다.

앞서 혜박은 2일 자신의 미니홈피에 "너무나도 기쁘고 가슴 벅찬 쇼가 될 거 같습니다. 내일 멋진 모습 보여드릴게요!"라고 포부를 밝히기도 했다.

성공적으로 쇼를 끝낸 혜박은 5일 미니홈피에 "저는 이번 파리에서 '발망'과 '이자벨마랑' 두 쇼만 하기로 했습니다. 정말 좋아하고 동경하는 두개의 쇼에 서게 돼서 너무나도 기뻤고 행복했습니다. 다들 응원해주시고 좋아해주셔서 고마워요"라고 소감을 밝혔다.

프랑스 명품브랜드 '발망'은 고소영 등 최고의 여배우들이 애용하는 브랜드다. 지난해 고소영이 신혼여행을 떠날 때 입은 '발망' 파워숄더 재킷은 500만원대로 밝혀졌다. 2009년 SBS 드라마 '스타일'에 출연한 김혜수가 입고 나온 청바지 가격이 598만원으로 밝혀져 화제가 됐었다.

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