Thursday, June 11, 2009

I Heart Project Runway Korea

I miss Korea. There's just no denying it, and a show like Project Runway Korea makes me wish even more that I could still be there. I never got to see the waterway that now runs through Seoul. I never got to take a ride on Korea's high speed train, either. But a show like this makes me so proud to see just how far Korea has come since I first stepped foot in the country in the 1970s.

I am a huge fan of the American original. I thought the Canadian version hosted by Iman was, dare I say it, a bit more fabulous, thanks in no small part to what Iman brought to the show. But I have to say I was not disappointed by the Korean version. Hosted by Lee So-ra, one of Korea's premier superdmodels (I think she placed second in Elite's Look of the Year in Korea) (who I also saw trashed out of her mind at a bar in Itaewon one night with singers Uhm Jung Hwa and Koo Bon Seung), PRK showcased some really talented people. Many of the challenges were taken from the American show, but one of my favorites was when the designers had to create a look inspired by a world famous designer. I was so surprised to hear these young Koreans (a few of whom had never traveled abroad) speaking so intelligently and knowledgably about designers like Rei Kawakubo and Dries van Noten and Alexander McQueen.

Unlike the American version, there was very little cattiness. Overall, the atmosphere in the workroom was congenial and cooperative. In other words, the best of what makes Koreans Korean. I suspect that a few of the male designers were gay (not to mention their Tim Gunn-host) but that was never really touched upon. In this show, the focus was clearly on the clothes, not on personal dramas.

For all you die-hard Project Runway fans, here's the link if you want to download some, or all, of the series. It's only 10 episodes, and they're not subtitled in English, but you get a great glimpse into the Korean fashion aesthetic.