Let no more summers wither, Wang can make any girl ripe

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Let no more summers wither, Wang can make any girl ripe


Jung Mi-ri, chief executive of Vera Wang Korea. By Ines Cho

A Korean princess’s official coronation as a member of Korea’s high class requires that her wedding gown be fit for a queen. That means the question of who makes the garment is a tricky one for the would-be wife of a tycoon.
For years, it was a few noted Korean couturiers who oversaw private fittings for the bride and her proud mother. The society designer is then invited to the private wedding at a five-star hotel, and that’s how the dressmaker maintains his or her position among the country’s most elite families.
But curiously, for the past few years, such couturiers have been missing. Guests whispered questions like, what happened to the designer? Who made that gorgeous dress? Where can I get mine?
It should be no secret now that the American designer Vera Wang officially launched her full bridal collection in Korea last week. Vera Wang is globally recognized as a luxury brand. The company specializes in all things bridal from exquisite wedding gowns to cocktail dresses for bridesmaids, fine jewelery and hotel honeymoon suites. Watching an array of Hollywood princesses ― like Jennifer Lopez and Jessica Simpson ― wearing Vera Wang gowns has certainly inspired those trend-savvy Korean brides-to-be who are able to spend top-dollar on the special occasion. In the United States, Vera Wang’s made-to-measure gowns can cost over $12,000.


The 2007 Vera Wang wedding gown, and the Lavender Label for bridesmaids

“It was the customers who kept on asking for Vera Wang,” said Jung Mi-ri, who now heads Vera Wang Korea. “I’d never heard of the name before.” Importing several Vera Wang dresses was the beginning of Ms. Jung’s relationship with Vera Wang. Back in 1988, she used to make budget wedding dresses for students at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. “A lot has changed. Now high fashion has become an integral part of bridalwear,” said Ms. Jung, who in 2000 opened a store selling various labels from around the world.


satisfy fashion gurus and the innermost desires of Korean brides.

“Vera Wang dresses embody the mood and taste of what high class women seek,” she said.
For two years Vera Wang in Seoul has been the preserve of Korea’s super-rich families, who ordered the “Luxe” line or made-to-measure dresses from the United States. Ms. Jung said she coordinated the design and fittings of the made-to-measure dresses, a process that takes at least three months. In Korea, a Luxe wedding dress, sold in two boutiques inside Avenuel and Shilla Hotel Arcade in Seoul, starts at 15 million won (about $16,000). I meet Ms. Jung during a wedding show at the Shilla Hotel. The event demonstrated precisely what Korean brides want, from coveted Vera Wang gowns to Mozart performed by chamber musicians to lavender-colored rose bouquets.
Juliet’s father in “Romeo and Juliet” advises Paris, who seeks his daughter’s hand, that they should “Let two more summers wither in their pride, ere we may think her ripe to be a bride.” Old Capulet may have taken a different view if he had been at the Shilla show. There were wedding gowns in the delicious hue of vanilla ice cream. Cocktail dresses in whispering hues ― from lilac and willow green to lemon ―resembled the finest Wedgwood porcelain.

The show also promoted a culture new to rich Korean women: bridesmaids (ladies, think of your girl friends and sisters!). Most dresses emphasized long, slender silhouettes that are flattered by empire-line dresses. Heavier taffeta dresses were layered with ethereal chiffon, some of which had heavy French embroidery. There was also branded lingerie, silverware and porcelain for brides who can’t get enough Vera Wang on their wedding day.
“Vera Wang is so in demand in the Korean bridal market that we have included the affordable ‘OPP’ (Opening Prince Point) line, in addition to the more expensive ‘Collection’ and ‘Luxe’ lines,” Ms. Jung said. “So ladies from upper-middle class families can also savor Vera Wang.” So how much for a Vera Wang couture wanna-be? Just five million won. As they say in New York, my life, what a bargain.

Reporting by Sonya Gee
By Ines cho Staff Writer [inescho@joongang.co.kr]
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