Louis Vuitton seems to have been ahead of the curve in utilising some of the heavyweights in Korean entertainment across various initiatives. Doona Bae, the actress and photographer first introduced to international audiences in Park Chan Wook’s cult classic Sympathy for Mr Vengeance, is currently a Friend of the House, along with Goblin and Train to Busan lead actor Gong Yoo, and opened Louis Vuitton’s cruise 2018 show in Kyoto this summer.
Loewe has raced to the front of the pack, appointing Victoria Song of girl group f(x) and Huang Zitao of boy band EXO as ambassadors in the Asia-Pacific region.
The power of K-drama is undisputed, reaching the far corners of Scandinavia and even deepest, darkest America, where the KCON Korean Wave festival is held annually in both Los Angeles and New York. Loewe seized the opportunity to loan its Navy Puzzle bag and electric-blue Elephant Bag to Gianna Jun in the TV drama The Legend of the Blue Sea. Jun is arguably South Korea’s most famous fashion/TV figure of recent years, thanks to her 2001 hit film My Sassy Girl and the more contemporary runaway TV series success My Love from the Star. Needless to say, both bags sold out.
Boucheron also seized upon this marketing strategy and loaned its Reflet watches to actress Kim Ha Neul, who starred in the 2016 hit TV drama On the Way to the Airport.
Karl Lagerfeld is renowned for being able to match relevant talent to Chanel. Korean music-fashion wunderkind G-Dragon is Lagerfeld’s pick for ambassador, giving a contemporary pop edge to the storied brand.
Chanel’s beauty division jumped into the fray, enlisting model-turned-actress Han Ye Seul as the face of its new Les Beiges foundation compact across print, digital and social platforms.
Both G-Dragon and Han Ye Seul were invited to Chanel’s Mademoiselle Privé exhibition in Seoul in June, along with a slate of Korean entertainment’s best and brightest. The list included K-pop poster children CL and Taeyang, alongside actors Park Shin Hye, Lee Je Hoon and Ji Chang Wook.
Valentino pursued another strategy. Hong Kong is renowned for having its pulse on the hottest and trendiest. With Seoul being just that, the Italian brand sought out television sensation Lee Dong Wook of Goblin fame to be guest of honour at its Hong Kong store opening in May. Hordes of fans descended on the boutique that evening and the event became the talk of the town.
Nirav Modi caused a furore in 2016 when it invited one of the forerunners of imported K-pop, Rain, to the opening of its store
in Tsim Sha Tsui’s 1881 Heritage mall.
Of course, Karl would never let Fendi miss out on all the fun. One of autumn’s most anticipated collaborations is Taeyang’s Young Bae project with the brand. The hip singer’s star power will draw a new group of fashion-savvy fans to the colourful label.