Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Seoul Design Olympiad and The Cat That Came From Korea

Initially, the reason I wanted to go to Seoul was because of SDO (Seoul Design Olympiad). I wasn't aware until recently, but Seoul, in the next decade, is totally renovating itself, and getting hugely famous designers and architects to come in to help. So in an effort to keep Seoulites feeling connected, they hosted a "Design Olympiad" which was a crash course in all things design. (A design competition, exhibitions by Jamie Hayon and Zaha Hadid and an emerging designers market) It worked. I was enthralled.

Belinda and I went because of our late arrival, we had an extra day. We both were expecting to be disappointed, and if it wasn't for the damp, chilly weather, we would have had a completely flawless day. I did a bit of shopping, met up with Park Jong Chul (the completely English-less menswear designer) for some tea, and then dropped by the showroom of Lee Ju Young, who is Marilyn Manson's personal designer. But don't hold that against her - her eye for exquisite menswear details could give Marc Jacobs or Patrick Ervell a hint or two.

Then I met up again with Belinda for some sight-seeing, candy purchasing and worm smelling. Really, thats what I did. Exhausted, I limped into bed, with only the culinary delights of an impending breakfast to worry about the next day...

Belinda is entering the SDO. These are collected pieces of rubbish hung festively around the entrance. It was...effective, I suppose, if you like glittery bits of trash.

One half of the curvacious and ribbed conference center...

...the second half!

Here are a few of the "build your own bench" submissions, which encouraged citizens to come up with bench designs

The official (get this) FONT of Seoul. They have their own font.

Heh. Remember earlier when I said, "They use cute creatures to sell everything!" Welll....that's still true, but that one particular creature is "Arrrr...Ng." Yes, I'm spelling that right. He's some mysterious doorknocker, and he is certainly cute (well, maybe not here).

Belinda traipsing through the stadium. Watch her traipse!

I'm inside the conference center, which was awkward, because I said, "Take a picture of me! I'm inside the conference center!"

These kids were bloody talented. I kept peeking on their work, and I'm guessing art is taught with an iron fist in Korea.

JeeYoon taking a break, exhausted from leading us around.

This, my friends, is the most stylish life vest I have ever seen...If we gave up our orange things for one of these, I might be inclined to wear one more....

Ok, this is a dress for the military that converts into a tent. They don't offer any alternative to what you should be wearing when you are sleeping in your dress tent, which leads me to believe the military in Korea is mighty sexy.

A kind of janky but clever watering device.

Lights being all design-y.

Belinda and I sitting on a desk called the "His and Hers Desk", made for two people to work independently, but together!

Look closely, but that shirt has an imprint on the underside, allowing wearers to pull it over their head for a scary face.

Grossest clothes hanger ever.

This little guy was sitting in the corner reading his paper for over an hour.

This man (who didn't speak a lick of English) was painting shirts with biodegradable ink. He only made things out of refuse, and he gave Belinda and I a handpainted calendar.

Koreans love taking pictures of their pictures.

Arrrr...Ng in the flesh! He's adorable.

Inside of Lee Ju Young's showroom, which was a lush gothy fantasy (perfect for moi).

Leather embellishments.

Her men's color pallette

A shirt with netted ornamentation, very shipwreck-victim. Loved it.

When I headed back to Fashion Week, there were celebrities there and everyone was trying to get a picture. Koreans love their celebrities...

Doing something New Yorkers never do...waiting in line.

Seoul streets.

A Korean arcade.

Rice wine, which I brought home to discover it tastes monumentally better when served out of a clay pot with a wooden ladel.

The epilepsy attack that is a 7/11.

Belinda: "Should I get the one with the smiley little creature, or the one with the smiley little creature?"

Ok, maybe zoom in or click the picture for this one. That ketchup was SO pristine it looked like a food ad.

And, as promised, snail shells and stinky bugs. Those bugs smelled like rotting, I don't know...bugs?

Last morning!

Our dining view.

On the bus to the airport, toting the cat I bought from the Young Design Mart. That cat was the bane of that day, but I brought it around the world to hang out in Brooklyn.

Well, there's my trip. It was epic and a bit anti-climactic. I didn't learn Korean boxing nor did I get caught in a international heist, but I did learn a lot and come up with a zillion pitches. And I made a few friends too.

And the cat. Don't forget the cat. I came out of this with a lovely cat (and more press schwag than I can measure...).

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