Old/new Korean fashion

While Koreans now wear Western-style clothing, on traditional holidays and at social functions, people of all ages still wear the colorful, traditional costume known as hanbok.

By MEIR RONNEN
March 30, 2006 08:33
1 minute read.
Il Soon 88 298

Il Soon 88 298. (photo credit: )

The Israel Museum is currently offering a display of Hanbok, traditional Korean dress designs, by visiting designer Il Soon Lee. While Koreans now wear Western-style clothing, on traditional holidays and at social functions, people of all ages still wear the colorful, traditional costume known as hanbok. For women, the hanbok consists of a voluminous wrap-around skirt with a high waist along with a bolero-like jacket, while the men's garment has a short jacket and roomy pants tied at the ankle. Both men and women sometimes wear a long coat over the garment. Because the hanbok have no pockets, men as well as women have always carried purses. The hanbok worn today is patterned on those worn during the Choson dynasty (1392-1910), which terminated with the Japanese occupation. The hanbok worn by the aristocracy was made of plain or patterned silk, but in summer could be made of tightly woven ramie cloth. Commoners were restricted by law to bleached hemp and cotton, and could only wear white and other light-colored shades. Unmarried aristocratic young women would wear a red skirt and yellow jacket. Newlyweds donned a red skirt and green jacket when greeting their parents-in-law. Today, brides-to-be usually wear pink hanbok for their engagement ceremony, for as brides they wear Western-style wedding dresses, and after the honeymoon still wear the traditional red skirts and green jackets that are a must when meeting parents-in-law. On other occasions, women wear hanbok of almost any color and any fabric, including embroidered, hand-painted and gold stamped silk. Among the exhibits are a green coat with silk and gold stamping, in the style worn by princesses during the Choson dynasty. Lesser women could wear a coat like this only on their wedding day. Other exhibits include: A girl's silk multi-colored dress, symbolizing wealth and prosperity, is of a type worn during holidays and festivals. A boy's silk wedding robe. A delicate embroidered silk robe worn by ladies at a wedding ceremony, still in use today. A scholar's summer robe in ramie, cloth spun and woven from the tough fiber of the Asian nettle; and finally, an official's silk robe with silk embroidery, based on the dress of court officials during the Choson dynasty. The cranes embroidered on the badge denote the rank of the official.


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