Thursday nights kick off weekendFriday and Saturday nights just aren’t enough for Korea’s burgeoning social scene, as Thursday nights are gaining momentum as the gateway to the weekend. Annoyed by weekend traffic and crowds, partiers see Thursday night as a good excuse to get out without the hassle.
As if to portend the lifestyle change, M2 ― the largest dance club in Hongdae in northern Seoul ― began opening three weeks ago on Thursday evenings instead of Fridays. Seoul restaurant managers say clients prefer events organized on Thursdays, as rent is cheaper.
Take last Thursday, which was all about socialites milling the town for various functions, from high-end to street-style to intellectual gatherings.
The evening started at sundown at Startower Gallery in Yeoksam-dong in southern Seoul, for a party to celebrate the publishing of a book by the Korean author and art critic, Oh Byeong-wook.
But as the evening progressed, the opposite side of the Han River got noisier, as fans of Korean celebrities crowded the entrance of Avenuel, an upscale department store in Myeongdong. Weeks before, everyone in Korea’s fashion industry had looked forward to Louise Vuitton’s grand opening party at the Avenuel department store.
For celebrities and industry professionals, parties organized by leading luxury brands, especially Louis Vuitton, cannot be missed, because it could mean handsome commercial endorsements for celebrities; magazine editors get photographs of the famous and beautiful. Over-the-top decorations and champagne are on-the-job bonuses.
Not surprisingly, Louis Vuitton Korea’s recent party last Thursday went full-scale. The company built a dance club housed in a makeshift tent in an outdoor parking lot, and a sister company, Moet & Chandon, served rose champagne for the strictly invitation-only guests.
One of the party’s publicity stunts included a rare public appearance of Lee Young-ae, the star of the Korean movie “JSA” and a current release “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance.” She was one of the “Louise Vuitton Friends.” Louis Vuitton Friends in other countries include Uma Thurman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ziyi Zhang and Maggie Chung.
But leaving behind the fancy store, the stars and the champagne, the fashionable crowd began disappearing by the dozens before 11 p.m., an hour considered wastefully early for revelers who used to stay until the DJs quit playing at previous Vuitton parties.
Thursday night didn’t obviously deter lively guests from party-hopping. Not too far from the Startower building was the Kenneth Cole party in Cheongdam-dong. At midnight, the spacious dance floor of Agua Club was packed with partiers who seemed almost a generation younger than the Louis Vuitton patrons. The Kenneth Cole managers were initially worried about having a party on the same day as the mega luxury brand, but were pleasantly surprised at the great turnout. “Unlike Louis Vuitton, which gets a lot of industry professionals, we had our VIP customers, in their late twenties and early thirties, from our six stores in Seoul,” said Byeon Sung-yong, publicity manager of Kenneth Cole Korea.
Past 1 a.m., tireless revelers, including some of those spotted at Vuitton, slipped out of Agua ―not to head home but to another event nearby. Into the wee hours, Nori People, a popular tent bar frequented by fashion people, was at the height of its third anniversary celebration. The atmosphere was ripe; this was where familiar friends connected with the simple elements of a great party ―dancing, dining and drinking ―on a midsummer Thursday night.
by Ines Cho