The Australian Embassy brought in Australia Day in style on Thursday night with Jessica Gomes opening a fashion show developed by Korean-Australian designer Bae Yeojin.
The event took place at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Seoul and showcased Bae’s new Australian winter collection ― with some Korean touches. The models sported the characteristically Australian barracudas in outfits made from Australian Merino wool, while walking the runway to the music of Psy’s “Gangnam Style.”
Since being awarded Young Designer of the Year by Tiffany and Co. in 2007, Bae has showcased and sold in London, New York and the United Arab Emirates as well as Australia with such labels as Saba, Harper’s Bazaar and U.S. Elle.
Despite the differing climates of Australia and Korea, Bae believes that her range is a perfect fit within the Korean fashion industry.
|Model Jessica Gomes (left), designer Bae Yeo-jin (center) and Bae’s niece, Shin Hyeon-ji, walk the catwalk hand-in-hand at the conclusion of a fashion show during an Australia Day reception at Grand Hyatt Hotel in Seoul on Thursday. (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)|
“I do use color and I think that the tailoring and the fit is very suitable for Asian women,” she said. “I think that’s probably because I make things for myself as a designer.”
“I very much design collections very trans-seasonally, and it’s about layering, so you could be wearing the pieces for several hemispheres and just add layering depending on the season.”
The star of the runway, Jessica Gomes, starred in On-Media’s reality television show “My Name is Jessica Gomes,” followed by her appearance on Korea’s “Dancing with the Stars” in 2011. The model says she loves the youthful elegance of Bae Yeojin’s collections.
“I love fashion and I love doing runways and I love Yeojin’s clothes ― they’re so beautiful ― so I’m really excited to be wearing her amazing pieces,” said Gomes. “She just uses the most amazing color palette and amazing florals. It’s just really feminine, sheek, classy ― but then also sexy at the same time.”
With a father from Portugal and a mother from Singapore, Gomes has been adopted by Koreans as one of their own. And while Gomes still sports an Australian accent with pride, she always looks forward to her visits to Korea.
“I love the fact that the Korean culture is such an up-and-coming culture in the Western world. I feel like it’s just a really cool place to be right now and it’s got this energy, and I feel like I can be a part of this new wave of interesting talent.”
Over 20 million people in Australia today will celebrate the public holiday in the heat of summer, with temperatures expected to reach 31 degrees. It will be a very different affair, however, for Bae, who will spend the day in Seoul with her family.
“My mum and dad have just arrived, and my husband is here, so it will be very much a get-together with the family, but in Korea and eating Korean food,” she said.
Growing up in Australia with a Korean upbringing, Bae is very much in between cultures. “I love lots of cuisines but I’ll add kimchi, like many Koreans do,” she said. “I think lots of Koreans will probably relate to that.”
By Lara Pearce, Intern reporter