With the ‘Gangnam Style’ dance perfected, an array of impressive catwalk collections under his belt and a fashion career spanning nearly three decades over three continents, Lie Sang Bong is certainly a fashion force to be recknoned with.
My Fashion Life caught up with the esteemed South Korean designer to talk wardrobe staples, favourite fashion cities and, of course, Gangnam Style.
Tell us about the inspiration behind your Spring/Summer 2013 collection
The Spring/Summer 2013 collection was inspired by butterflies, which represents transformation. Another source of inspiration was a sense of nostalgia for 60s fashion and my childhood memories; the collection explores retro elements and transforms them into modern shapes and volume.
Being one of Korea’s most esteemed designers you started your fashion career in your native country, later moving to Paris. What was this change in fashion culture like for you?
When I first started to show my collection in Paris in 2002, it felt like I was starting everything all over again. Although I love Paris and it was always my dream to show at Paris Fashion Week, nothing was easy and I kept asking myself if I should continue to do this or not. However, after a few seasons, I started to feel more comfortable working there, and fascinated by people who were excited to see my collection. Presenting my collection during Paris Fashion Week was like a dream come true.
What are your favourite fashion cities and why?
I love Paris, New York, and London the most. Paris has its own tradition and history of fashion that fascinates me; New York is a fun place where new trends are made everyday and London is so creative and funky.
In three words, style is…
Character, taste and harmony.
Tell us more about the Lie Sang Bong woman
The Lie Sang Bong woman is confident, beautiful and loves herself. She is not afraid of trying new things and loves to be fashion forward. I usually don’t want to specify the age – as fashion is more of a lifestyle than just clothing – but anyone who can pull off my designs beautifully and be herself, that’s my woman.
List three wardrobe staples you cannot live without
Black trench coat; leather pants (that I have been wearing for almost 20 years), and a sharply tailored white shirt.
Although the likes of Rihanna, Lady Gaga and the First Lady of Korea have worn your creations, which other influential people would you like to dress in your designs and why?
Natalie Portman. I was very into her character in Black Swan, and took so much inspiration from it that I even based one of my show’s on the film’s concept.
If there were a fashion era you could travel back in time to, when would it be and why?
The 1970s: it was the best era for fashion. There were diverse designs and the looks designers put out there were truly loved. Plus, I could still meet Yves Saint Laurent!
Tell us more about your involvement in the world of art. How did this come about?
I have always been interested in art, and I believe fashion is just another form of art. I have collaborated with many artists for my collections, and love visiting galleries whenever I travel. I feel working with artists to promote their work is a great idea.
Finally, have you perfected fellow South Korean Psy’s Gangnam dance?
As a matter of fact, I have! During a recent photo shoot for a magazine, I had a chance to show off my version of Psy’s Gangnam Style dance with top Korean actress, Kim Sun Ah, and I think I pulled it off pretty well!