The Wooyoungmi Spring-Summer 2024 Collection takes Jeju Island as its muse, drawing inspiration from the island's unique natural beauty and contrasting cultural influences.
The Wooyoungmi Spring-Summer 2024 Collection makes Jeju its island muse. From a South Korean perspective, it prompts a premise of contrasts: On the one hand, Jeju island is known for its raw and rugged coastline, home to the haenyeo, or female divers who brave the cold waters to gather seafood. This sense of elemental strength is reflected in the collection's scuba gilets, girdles, trousers, and tops, which are cut in a body-conscious silhouette that accentuates the wearer's curves.
On the other hand, Jeju is also a popular tourist destination, known for its beaches, nightlife, and laid-back atmosphere. This more carefree side of the island is reflected in the collection's relaxed fit of lightweight tailoring and pyjama elements. Asymmetrically-tied, second-skin tops nod at bojagi, the traditional Korean art of wrapping with cloth, but are reinterpreted in a beach-centric way that evokes swimsuit constructions.
For Madame Woo, the Spring-Summer 2024 collection is a celebration of the historical meeting between South Korea and the West. In 1628, thirty-nine Dutchmen shipwrecked on Jeju Island, becoming the second group of Westerners to lay eyes upon the Korean peninsula.
This event had a profound impact on both cultures. The Dutchmen brought with them their own unique style and fashion, which influenced the development of Korean fashion. Madame Woo's collection reflects this cultural exchange, blending elements of Renaissance fashion with traditional Korean silhouettes.
Ruffles and ruches are imbued within the fronts and sleeves of transparent coats, jackets, and shirts, echoing the cascading flares of techno trousers. Dutch seaman's hats manifest in scuba, while the color palette is inspired by the natural beauty of Jeju Island.
“The worldwide fascination with my country is thrilling to me. As a South Korean designer, I was always interested in cultures and history different to my own: Parisian mentality, the Belle Époque, British literature. Now, I want to portray my own culture to the rest of the world, from a South Korean perspective. It’s a way for me to reflect on our traditions through the contemporary reality of the youth and pop cultures so distinct to our mentality. I do it in a way that stays true to my premise: by layering it with historical elements that bind together South Korea and my passion for European studies. This season, that impulse comes to life in the image of Jeju Island, with its 17th Century Dutch seafarers, its fabled female divers, and present-day partygoers.” – Madame Woo, Paris, June 2023.