Retail in Asia


Art and Seoul: Fashion, luxury players flock to South Korea’s capital in time for Frieze art fair

Serving as creative expressions of culture and individuality, the worlds of art and fashion are naturally intertwined. Fashion frequently draws inspiration from art movements, utilising colors, patterns, and concepts, while art has found a reliable canvas in fashion, with designers using garments as a medium for artistic exploration.

Fashion’s biggest luxury players have had stakes in the art business: Kering owner François-Henri Pinault, through his holding company Artemis, also owns a majority share of the auction house Christie’s, while Christie’s competitor Phillips was at one point owned by LVMH’s Bernard Arnault. 

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Source: Frieze Seoul

Over the duration of Frieze Seoul’s second edition, taking place from September 6 to 9, fashion brands will be making their presence felt – and not just because Seoul Fashion Week SS24, running from September 5 to 9 at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, is now also scheduled to coincide with the fair.

Taking place alongside Kiaf Seoul, Frieze Seoul will showcase over 120 renowned galleries from around the globe, including a significant representation of local exhibitors highlighting art from across Asia. Frieze Seoul will also offer curated programmes delving into the diverse creative landscape of Korea.

Atelier Hermès in Seoul. Source: Hermès

While brands such as LG OLED and BMW are directly partnered with Frieze, others are seizing the opportunity presented by the event to engage with an international audience and capture the attention of highly connected fairgoers. 

A central component to Frieze Week’s event programme, which spans activations and partner projects across the city, includes evening openings in Seoul’s gallery districts. One such space being highlighted is Atelier Hermès, an art exhibition space within the maison’s boutique in Dosan Park. “These special projects anchor Frieze’s identity as an artist-driven organisation and promise to secure the fair’s position as an unmissable moment in the international arts calendar,” said Patrick Lee, director of Frieze Seoul.

Source: Dior

Among the unofficial events coinciding with Frieze, Dior kicked off on September 2, ahead of the fair’s opening, with “Lady Dior Celebration,” an exhibition at its Seongsu-dong boutique. First reported by Women’s Wear Daily, the exhibit brings together 24 contemporary Korean artists’ commissioned pieces inspired by the iconic Lady Dior handbag. A sculpture by Korean artist Lee Bul, originally created for the Miss Dior exhibit at Paris’ Grand Palais in 2013, takes centre stage at the show. 

“The ‘Lady Dior Celebration’ exhibition, which runs parallel to Frieze, is a unique and exceptional event, celebrating the powerful ties forged between Dior and South Korea, as well as the many unfailing affinities that unite our house and the art world,” Dior chief executive officer Delphine Arnault told Women’s Wear Daily.

Source: Prada

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On September 5 and 6, Prada brings the tenth edition of Prada Mode to Seoul, titled “Plural and Parallel,” at the cultural venue Kote. Launched at Art Basel Miami in 2018, the Prada show has travelled to Hong Kong (via Art Basel), London (via Frieze), Shanghai, and Tokyo. Curated by Lee Sook-Kyung, the Seoul iteration features site-specific installations by renowned directors Kim Jee-Woon, Yeon Sang-ho, and Jeong Dahee. 

It’s not the first time art fairs such as Frieze have drawn global fashion houses to a city – Frieze’s London edition in 2022 similarly drew luxury brands hoping to attract the well-heeled collectors visiting the art fair, leading the New York Times to write Frieze had become, at least for some, the ‘Fifth Fashion Week’.