“Hallyu” arrives at New York Fashion Week.
The Korean cultural wave, also known as hallyu, has hit new heights in recent years. Korean-language movies and series, notably Parasite and Squid Games, have garnered international acclaim and awards, and become cultural touch points. K-pop is a sprawling $5 billion dollar global industry with groups Blackpink and BTS beating out American acts like Taylor Swift, Drake, and Adele as best-selling performers. In fashion, their influence can be seen from haute couture to the streets.
Louis Vuitton bagged the septet BTS in 2021, with the group even walking for their Menswear Fall/Winter 2021 spin-off show in Seoul, while each of the four members of K-pop girl group Blackpink has their own endorsements with fashion houses—Lisa for Celine, Rosé for Saint Laurent, Jennie for Chanel, and Jisoo for Dior. Squid Game‘s Lee Jung-Jae was also recently tapped as a Gucci ambassador, alongside Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha‘s Shin Min-a.
At the recent New York Fashion Week, Korean stars once again made headlines at the Spring/Summer 2023 shows.
Jeno, Shohei, Eunseok, and Seulgi at Peter Do
Jeno, a member of “Without You” band NCT, became the first K-pop idol ever to open a runway show at the prestigious event for Peter Do on the designer’s September 13 show. wearing a backless satin smoking tuxedo, wide-leg draped trousers with slits, and platform boots. Peter Do himself wrote in his press release that “It was a natural choice to have JENO open the show. JENO embodies the Peter Do man—multifaceted, confident, and a trailblazer.”
The singer wasn’t the only one Do tapped. Members from SM ROOKIES joined him on the catwalk with Shohei dressed in a wrap-around button-down and Eunseok in a bib front tuxedo shirt and cape. Even the show’s front row had Korean stars including Seulgi from Red Velvet who attended wearing clothes from the brand.
Meanwhile, Jeno’s fashion week experience also included an appearance at Vogue World, the magazine’s 130th-anniversary event. He proudly posed with celebrities on the occasion with designer Do, actor Sabrina Carpenter, and singer Ellie Goulding. The K-pop star wore his fringe down with a tailored tuxedo jacket and black trousers, opting to forgo the dress shirt. He wore a chain necklace to tie off the look.
Kim Donghyuk at UL:KIN
At NYFW’s Concept Korea showcase, upcoming Korean designers like UL:KIN showed upcycled bags alongside their theme “Magnet Fishing” in relation to the trend of fishing for metal garbage in bodies of water. Kim Donghyuk of K-pop group iKON (“Love Scenario” and “Killing Me”) walked as the special model for the show, wearing a blazer overlaid with a fishing vest and jeans, carrying one of the brand’s sustainable bags.
Dahyun at Michael Kores
TWICE singer Dahyun, of the girl group that popularized hits like “Talk That Talk” and “I Can’t Stop Me,” made her NYFW debut at the Michael Kors show. The designer is known for hosting a bevy of celebrities front row at every show and Dahyun was a welcome addition to his mix. After much fan speculation about her attendance, she arrived at the event wearing a short and sparkling one-shoulder black dress. She even shared the “amazing” experience on Instagram alongside photos with Kors.
Lee Minho at Fendi
K-Drama was also well represented at New York Fashion Week. Pachinko‘s Lee Minho, who first shot to fame after Boys Over Flowers aired in 2009, attended Fendi’s show which honored the 25th year of its “It bag,” the Baguette. The actor has been the Italian luxury house’s ambassador since 2021 and he definitely looked the part in a classic Fendi monogrammed trench coat.
Song Hye-kyo at Fendi
Seated front row beside Lee was Descendants of the Sun actor Song Hye-kyo, who became the brand’s first Korean global ambassador. Ahead of her comeback show, The Glory, Song turned heads in a black leather coat and Fendi stockings.