For all the drama you gotta put up with when you live in the San Francisco Bay Area — the hyper-inflated housing prices, the nerve-wracking traffic and the occasional tremblor — on the positive side, one of the most exciting, interesting cities in the world is nearby.
Yesterday I drove across the bridge to hang out with my friend Cindy and visit the Asian Art Museum, which is in the city’s Civic Center neighborhood (free parking on Sundays!). There’s a special exhibition going on now called Couture Korea, in which contemporary fashion designers create their own interpretations of traditional hanbok, the formal clothing worn during Korean holidays and special occasions.
“Beginning with ‘What Is Hanbok?’ (traditional Korean clothing), the exhibition examines history and tradition. Emphasizing mid- to late-Joseon dynasty clothing of the elite class (yangban), the varied and sophisticated hanbok in the Osher Gallery highlight proper ways of dressing for men, women, and children, with garments expressing social status, changing seasons, and special occasions or milestones in life.
The reproductions of hanbok in this gallery are based on wide-ranging research, including recent archaeological discoveries. In some cases, portraits and genre paintings are valuable sources for re-creating clothing of the past. Excavations of Joseon tombs in recent years have revealed many types of costumes that were used to dress the deceased. The conserved garments have served as primary sources for the re-created works throughout this gallery. Artisans at the Arumjigi Culture Keepers Foundation in Seoul employed authentic, historically accurate processes and production methods as well as historically appropriate fabrics for making traditional Joseon-period clothing. This research continues, reconstructing and reinterpreting the hanbok tradition, ushering in a new era of knowledge of fashion history.
The dresses were magnificent, but they also had displays of fabric swatches that you could actually touch, so you could get a sense of what the dresses feel like to wear, like whether they’re stiff, soft, heavy or light.
I thought was very cool, because whenever I go to museums, it KILLS me to not be able to touch the displays…
A lot of the hanboks were enclosed in glass cases, so you could circle around them and see the details in the back, too.
I also loved the children’s clothing, especially the ceremonial hanboks for first birthdays…
The exhibit is sponsored by two skin care brands — AmorePacific and Sulwahsoo — and runs through February 4th (so just a few more days). If you’re in the area, tickets to the museum are $15 each (there’s an additional $5 charge to see the Couture Korea exhibit). Tickets are available at the museum and online.
There’s also a lot more to see than the Couture Korea exhibit. There are sculptures, paintings and other works of art from throughout Asia. It’s a big museum. Cindy and I got lost on the upper floors a few times.
Before heading to the museum, Cindy and I had brunch first at a place called the Outerlands, which is in the Outer Sunset area of the city near where Cindy lives.
It gets written up all the time as one of the THE places to go for Sunday brunch in SF, and I can’t disagree. I thought it was delish! Unusual flavor combinations, too, like I had something called Eggs in Jail, which was a slice of big, delicious sourdough-y bread (which they make onsite) with a hole in it and a sunny side up egg inside, and on top it there was broccoli, bacon and dried cherries (!).
Yes, it was GOOD.
The menu changes all the time, so you’re always in for a surprise. Go early if you can to avoid the wait, because the line was long (we got there half an hour after it opened and had to wait 20 minutes to get seated).
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,