Above: A space pod, avec DJ, lands at the W Hotel party in Seoul
Dear Shaded Viewers,
The second night of Seoul Fashion Week was full of giddy anticipation: Juun J, Karl Lagerfeld's favorite Korean menswear designer, was showing in a secret, off-site location. How would we find it? No problem, we were told by SFW organizers–we have a bus that will take you there. Huzzah!
What followed was a nightmare excursion through Seoul–or I should say, around and around in a circle in Seoul. Yes, Seoul is a big city….but the site of the Juun J show was not that far from the official venue, it turned out. But around and around we went, for over an hour, and the flabbergasted fashionistas aboard began comparing the ride to Freddie Krueger's ghoulish bus ride in one of the "Nightmare on Elm Street" films. I rocked back in forth in my seat muttering to myself like a character in "Marat/Sade."
When we finally reached the secret location–surprise!–the show had already started. In fact, it was nearly over. Being international press, we bitched and fumed and stomped our Lanvin-clad feet. To top it off, it was freezing cold out. Finally, a young woman, the PR, came out and announced, "Because you guys are very, very important, we're going to do the show again just for you. This is something we never do but we are willing to make an exception in your case."
"Wow, this is just like when they put on private shows for Anna Wintour in Paris!" I exclaimed.
"Well, it's not really…" Dominic started to say.
"YES, yes it is!" Adam interrupted. "It's EXACTLY like that!"
Finally, after more waiting, we were allowed to descend into the basement of the space to find that–miracle!–there was free champagne waiting for us. You're probably wondering, "Why is Glenn suddenly so excited about free champagne? He ALWAYS gets free champagne at the fashion weeks he attends." Well, gentle reader, I'm afraid I'll have to invoke the global downturn in this case–what other explanation could there be that on some days if you showed up at the SFW press room after, say, 2pm, there was no food (definitely no booze), no tea, no coffee and no paper cups if you wanted water from the water cooler. I began wryly referring to the whole thing as "Pyongyang Fashion Week." I'm sure even Mr. Kim would have put out some dumplings for the press during high tea. Nevermind you wouldn't want to know what kind of meat was in them. (To be fair, if you showed up at the SFW press room between Noon and 12:45pm, there was pasta and sushi–but it disappeared fast.)
So…free champagne! It was like Jesus had appeared and turned loaves into fish, water into wine! But as it turned out, the "champagne" tasted like lighter fluid but, oh no, we didn't let that interrupt our jet-set fantasy–we refilled our glasses several times, holding the flutes elegantly as we sat in the front row, exchanging witty bon mots and bawdy anecdotes, trying not to gag on the rotgut bubbly. And then the show began. Because the space was so small, I was able to take some of my own photos of the clothes, which were wonderful. (See? I'm not grumpy about everything!)
We all want to see Karl in the metallic suit. Juun did a nice job of applying '80s and '90s feminine silhouettes to menswear. And it's easy to see who Juun's inspiration was: Grace Jones. Juun originally made his mark as the chief designer for Club Monaco in 1996. In 1999 he launched his own brand, Lone Costume. Since 2007, he has been showing his JUUN J line at the Paris menswear collections. This show was definitely worth the wait and the lousy champers.
After the show, we all went over to the 10 Corso Como party. I can't for the life of me remember how we got there but I'm pretty sure it wasn't via Freddie Krueger's fashion week hell wagon.
I know I've almost completely devolved into the traveling curmudgeon at this point…but these vile, sticky Windex-colored cocktails were the only drinks served at the party (there was an equally noxious red version, too). Recession, blah-blah, recession. Their only redeeming quality was that they reminded me of the scene in "Boys in the Band" where Emory is mixing a "Blue Whale" in a blender. Oh mary, don't ask! Anyway, a certain soused "someone" at the party spilled a FULL one all over me, soaking everything I was wearing, my iPhone and my suede Lanvin sneakers. The party came to a grinding halt for me at that point. The rest of the evening involved delivering the seriously soused someone back to the hotel in one piece.
I think I spent most of the day Saturday in my hotel room sleeping and watching the G20 coverage on CNN–but luckily that evening I made it over to the venue just in time to catch Song Zio's terrific show. Song's show featured the week's sexiest clothes and the hottest male models, a treat all around. The silhouettes mixed slim with roomy in luxurious fabrics for a collection inspired by "young boys who yearn to be the light of this dark world." Song recently started showing his collections during Paris menswear.
Later that night we ran into Song Zio at the W Hotel party for SFW. Adam made sure that a copy of Stimuli made it into the shot. Song was beaming after the success of his well-received show.
Me having a happy beer moment at the party. No spilled drinks on me that night, thank Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
Above: Finally–a real zen moment in Korea!
On Sunday I decided I needed to take a break from fashion, so I met up with Bruce LaBruce's friend Kenny who is a programmer at the Seoul Gay & Lesbian film festival. He took me to some beautiful and interesting places around the city.
Of course we went to the famous Changdeokgung Palace where many buildings and a "pleasure garden" are spread out over wide, open spaces.
I was excited to see the cherry blossoms in bloom!
The next night we were off to the Generation Next shows, a showcase of young designers…
We loved the modern dancers who opened one of the shows.
During the finale of another show, a model mysteriously handed me a bird cage.
Later, after a dinner of beef noodle soup and fried intestines (j'adore intestines), we all headed to the famed all-night market to peruse the sometimes campy, sometimes convincing knock-offs (there was a "Galliano" bag from his infamous homeless-people-wearing-newspapers collection which was fab, but the vendor only had one sample and was not sure he could afford to produce them. Sorry, no photo of that–my camera battery was dead).
The fairy-tale forest setting made shopping at 2am all the more surreal.
Dream touch….look touch…sexy touch…
No joke: This is a famous Japanese tranny who hawks makeup all over Asia. She is rumoured to be 500 times wealthier than RuPaul.
Before we went into the all-night market, Adam said to me, "Okay, they have floors and floors of stuff in there…tell us what you're looking for so we won't be here all night." Originally, I had just wanted some funny Korean t-shirts with nonsensical, maybe unintentionally pornographic, English sayings on them, like "Cocks are very much happy time!" or "Brad Pitt lives in my Hollywood Alligator House!" But now I felt pressured into describing something more specific, so I said I wanted a t-shirt like the Vivienne Westwood Seditionaries gay cowboy one but instead of cowboys I wanted them to be two gay Japanese Samurai, drawn in the same style as Westwood's design. Needless to say, we did not find that. What I DID score was a Burt Bacharach t-shirt aaaaannnd…a "Marc Jacobs" SEARCH AND DESTROY hoodie for US $16–shazzam! Much better than the stuff he has in his cheapie wallet and key chain boutique in NYC's West Village.
On Wednesday, me and the Stimuli boys embarked on a "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"-esque wild goose chase to find Prada Transformer. The only thing we really knew was that it was next to an ancient palace that began with the letter "G." Or was it the letter "K"….?
Oops, wrong palace….
We drove to the next palace and finally found the elusive Prada Transformer…a smallish, Rubik's Cube-like object wrapped in white plastic. How are they going to have parties inside that thing?
Finally, the good stuff! During a yummy, kimchi-free Italian lunch at Macaroni Market, we were treated to some Moet Chandon. Adam de Cruz who is an editor at, you guessed it, Stimuli and Dominic Sio, creative director of Stimuli.
Hide and I shared the minimalist tiramisu.
After lunch, we swung by Song Zio's studio so that Hidetaka Furuya, Stimuli's Japanese editor, could interview Song for the mag.
That's all I gots, folks! In closing, I'm going to leave you with this photo of mozzarella-covered kimchi–because we all know that everything tastes better when it's smothered in cheese!
Thanks for reading!
Further reading: Seoul Fashion Week by Glenn Belverio, Part 1