For one night, the glitziest parking lot in Gangnam

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For one night, the glitziest parking lot in Gangnam

It was quite a night for Kay Kim, a Korean fashion designer, who presented her latest winter collection on a recent Monday evening.
For a salon show for private customers and the press, the scale of the event was impressive.
The 20 runway models, including several top local models and actresses, wore more than 100 outfits in 14 different themes. It had taken a production company two days to build the makeshift stage, tent cover and seats on a parking lot in Gangnam.
After the fashion show, invited guests were led to Ms. Kim’s restaurant and bar, Cafe de Coree, opposite the parking lot and feasted on a lavish banquet consisting of pan-Asian cuisine ― from samosa to dim sum to grilled Korean barbecue, plates of assorted French cheese and Spanish sparkling wine.
Since she returned to Korea from Paris in 1993, Kay Kim’s collection has been known for fancy and decorative evening and party wear for mostly Korean socialites and celebrities. She has sponsored beauty pageants and hotel balls as well as private events in the past.
“I dress not only actors and actresses, but also a lot of Korea’s ‘hidden’ millionaires and young, successful and rich businessmen and women,” Ms. Kim said while monitoring the show near the camera podium.
For this season, she presented colorful arrays of feminine, body-conscious outfits, from city wear made with stretchy, shiny PVC in grey, green, brown and gold to clingy purple-and-pink print dresses with fox fur trimmings, to embroidered cheongsam, or traditional Chinese robe in black and red.
A series of floor-length evening gowns featuring bold floral prints was reminiscent of vintage Valentino, but with light and stretchy lycra as its material, the dresses were modern and sexy.
Men’s collection included easy-to-wear suits in soft grey, beige and taupe; jackets came with a simple zipper closure in the front.
Some 500 spectators shuddered in the nippy outdoor temperature, but did not forget to occasionally break into appreciative applause, creating a warm, supportive atmosphere for the socially active, French- and English-speaking Korean fashion designer.
The number of the Kay Kim fans wearing her fancy numbers gradually decreased, and by 11 p.m. only a dining table full of her friends remained. The Polish ambassador to Korea, Tadeusz Chomicki, who was one of the final, privileged few, said, “I’m very happy to be here to the very end, with some of the most powerful people in the Korean social scene.”


by Ines Cho
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