PLEIADES AW18-19 : UNDERWATER TREASURES by Min Heo

 

    Pleiades A/W18-19 'Underwater Treasures' !

    Being "Craftsmanship, Historical References, Art, Fantasy and Storytelling" the core DNA of the brand, each of Pleiades collection delivers a story around the season's concept.

    The second chapter, A/W18-19 is called 'Underwater Treasures', inspired by a shipwreck discovered back in 1975 at Sinan seashore of Korean peninsula.

 
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    Pleiades AW18-19 collection is full of rich colour and texture, translating the atmosphere of underwater treasures found from the shipwreck. Departed in 1323 from Chinese Ningbo harbour and heading to Japanese Hakata harbour, the ship was loaded with ceramics, metalworks, scented wood and other treasures to satisfy the taste of 14C high society in Japan.

 

    Scholars who studied the relics from the shipwreck describe the discoveries as 'The culture of tea ceremony - scent - and flowers'. Although biggest portion of the findings were tableware, significant amount of incense burners, flower vases and utensils for tea ceremony are found together. Frequent political and cultural exchange with China had influenced Korean and Japanese culture among high society. Especially the fashions of drinking tea, enjoying scent and flowers were widespread, and simultaneously, the craft of ceramic and metalwork have thrived.

 

    The designer - I - was especially fascinated by the black glazed ceramics, rusted bronze weights, lacquered woodwork, scented wood, glasswork and wooden tags.

 
 

    Followed by a photographic exploration of construction sites, adding on to the adventurous, earthy, deconstructed mood.

 
 

    Artist Cai Guo-Qiang's fabulous work of gunpowder drawings also have influenced the collection.

 
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    Hope you enjoy the Adventurous, Rebellious, but most of all, Charming collection of AW1819 Pleiades - Underwater Treasures :D!

 
   LUNA Grey

LUNA Grey

   IRIS Burgundy

IRIS Burgundy

   TASHA Fuschia Pink

TASHA Fuschia Pink

PLEIADES Opens at Dreams on Air, SoHo NYC ! by Min Heo

 

    Pleiades is delighted to introduce our new partnership with Dreams on Air, a retail showroom based in SoHo, NYC !

 

120 Wooster Street, Soho NYC

 

    From 1st of August, JOANNE Camel, KEIRA, TASHA and HARRIET are available from 120 Wooster Street retail showroom, while the new LUNA Navy & Grey, TASHA Gold & Fuschia Pink, IRIS Blue, CATHERINE and KEIRA are ready for press pull anytime. (contact press@dreamsonair.com)

 

    Online purchase will be available with Dreamsonair.com soon !
You can always have your pair from our own e-shop too, just click on the 'SHOP' button above ;)

 
 HARRIET Orange & Taupe, JOANNE Camel with Pink Straps

HARRIET Orange & Taupe, JOANNE Camel with Pink Straps

 

JOANNE Camel, KEIRA, TASHA and HARRIET

 

    Selected by Dreams on Air, Joanne pumps are from our very first collection, Gisaengs.
Inspired by women performing artists and mistresses from early 20C Korean Dynasty, the collection is full of soft colours, silk satin straps, silk organza straps, sheer ramie called 'Mosi', and laced ribbon details.

 

    Joanne is high heel pumps with 2cm platforms, introduced in camel calf skin or ivory cow hide.
Detachable double satin straps are included, 100% top quality silk fabric. 2 colour options are available for each colour, and the straps can be used as bracelets, hairband etc.

 

    Tasha slippers are one of our signature items. From Dreams on Air, you can meet them as Gisaengs version, either Turquoise or Beige quilted velvet. Each pair is embellished with hand-dyed silk ribbons, instantly blessing your outfit with colour and charm !

 

    Keira and Harriet are from our second collection, AW18-19 Underwater Treasures.
You can choose from the tomboy chic of Keira - our signature pumps with loafer details and shiny velvet - or elegant comfort of Harriet loafers. No matter which one you go for, all-day comfort is guaranteed ;)

 

Pleiades @ Dreams on Air : Intro Video

 
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 Keira Aqua at Dreams on Air window display ;)

Keira Aqua at Dreams on Air window display ;)

 

Keira Intro Video !

 

    Located in the heart of Soho, at the junction of Prince St and Wooster St, Dreams on Air Showroom features beautiful collections from emerging talents worldwide.

 

    You can instantly feel the vibrant energy from everywhere - glamorous shoppers, cyclists, busy commuters and wonderful staff of Dreams on Air. Visit and check Pleiades collections !

 
 Wooster Street view from inside

Wooster Street view from inside

 At the junction of Wooster / Prince St

At the junction of Wooster / Prince St

 

Catherine - S/S18 by Min Heo

    Introducing Catherine - our signature pumps for S/S18 Gisaengs collection.
    Catherine is named after Catherine Deneuve, the symbol of elegant sensuality and loveliness. Imagine her dreamy big eyes and hair tied up with a huge bow - With our signature toe shape and top line, Catherine is an 8-cm kitten heel with distinctive quilting and lacing details at the front.

 
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    The first Catherine was made with baby calf nubuck, but you can meet them in ivory sheepskin now. The combination of mud pink and ivory brings a feminine and vintage look.
    They can be worn with a pair of jeans, shorts or even with an evening dress, Pleiades shoes are quite free to style, you will find out :)!

 
  This is how Catherine was first designed ♥︎

This is how Catherine was first designed ♥︎

 

    Like all other shoes from our collection, Catherine does not torture your feet, thanks to the relaxed shape at the front, mid-heels and enough cushion in the insoles. Catherine represents the quirky, vintage loveliness of our S/S18 collection. I would wear them for any occasions - to work, to concerts, to parties etc. to add a special finish to my entire look -

 

    The idea of Catherine come from Gisaengs in Korean Empire - when the conservative Confucian country started open up the door for Western culture. While the costumes, architecture and popular culture were still preserving the traditional format, Western influences were evident. The way rooms were decorated, and how people dressed were very particular, distinctive characteristics of this era that did not last for a long time.

 
      A gisaeng girl wearing Western coat, gloves, and a fur scarf holding a little clutch.

    A gisaeng girl wearing Western coat, gloves, and a fur scarf holding a little clutch.

 
  Gisaeng girls painting orchids and writing poetries.

Gisaeng girls painting orchids and writing poetries.

 
      A gisaeng girl posed for photography. A pair of gloves are distinguishing, while the new hair style and a tiny top represent the era.

    A gisaeng girl posed for photography.
A pair of gloves are distinguishing, while the new hair style and a tiny top represent the era.

 
      A gisaeng girl ready for going out. The fastening of the top is Westernised - from tying up to buttons. The sun umbrella was a symbol of gisaengs back then.

    A gisaeng girl ready for going out.
The fastening of the top is Westernised - from tying up to buttons. The sun umbrella was a symbol of gisaengs back then.

 

    In order to create Catherine, a thorough research was done for old European lingerie. The concept was to describe a Gisaeng girl 'who was given a beautiful brasserie and a corset as a gift from a man - probably from Europe or just returned from a trip across the oceans'.

    Lacing details, ribbons, tapings and cutting of patterns were done to reflect such ideas.

 
   TANGO CORSET   - Cotton, Silk satin ribbon, Machine lace, Metal circumference / ca. 1914 France, for  Debenham & Freebody , London (V&A:T.64-1966) * Size  - waist: 67cm / hip: 88cm / Length front: 25cm / back: 33cm  Worn and given by Heather Firbank

TANGO CORSET - Cotton, Silk satin ribbon, Machine lace, Metal circumference / ca. 1914 France, for Debenham & Freebody, London (V&A:T.64-1966)
*Size - waist: 67cm / hip: 88cm / Length front: 25cm / back: 33cm
Worn and given by Heather Firbank

 
   COLETTE GIRDLE   - Elastic net and nylon, Satin elastic back panel, with Machine nylon lace and Cotton velvet / 1957-9 Britain (Leicestershire),  R. & W.H. Symington & Co. Ltd , under license from  Chistian Dior,  Paris (V&A:T. 140-2000) * Size - Underbust: 71cm / Waist: 67cm / Hip: 91cm / Length front: 46cm / Back: 50cm  Given by Caroline Wren

COLETTE GIRDLE - Elastic net and nylon, Satin elastic back panel, with Machine nylon lace and Cotton velvet / 1957-9 Britain (Leicestershire), R. & W.H. Symington & Co. Ltd, under license from Chistian Dior, Paris (V&A:T. 140-2000)
*Size- Underbust: 71cm / Waist: 67cm / Hip: 91cm / Length front: 46cm / Back: 50cm
Given by Caroline Wren

 
   CORSET   - Floral brocaded silk, Silk ribbon, Elastic / ca.1905, England. (Jill Fields,  "Fighting the Corsetless Evil: Shaping Corset and Culture, 1900-1930" , Journal of Social History 3, Winter 1999: 355)    CHEMISE   - White Cotton, Silk ribbon / ca. 1905, USA. ( "Dainty Lingerie",  Pictorial Review, February 1900: 11)

CORSET - Floral brocaded silk, Silk ribbon, Elastic / ca.1905, England. (Jill Fields, "Fighting the Corsetless Evil: Shaping Corset and Culture, 1900-1930", Journal of Social History 3, Winter 1999: 355)

CHEMISE - White Cotton, Silk ribbon / ca. 1905, USA. ("Dainty Lingerie", Pictorial Review, February 1900: 11)

 
      A page from the sketchbook, 'Oriental Sensuality (2016)'.

    A page from the sketchbook, 'Oriental Sensuality (2016)'.

 

    Now meet Catherine, the lady-like, sophisticated lady with a vintage touch.

 
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A Century of History - Silk Factories in Jinju by Min Heo

    Jinju is a suburban city about 330km away from Seoul, taking three and a half hours on express train. The quiet city produces more than 70% of silk fabric manufactured in South Korea, although it is surprisingly unknown to many people.

 

    When you get off the train at Jinju station, you will be surprised how calm it is. There is a single queue for grabbing a cab, while the drivers are entering the station one by one, at the interval of few minutes.

    There are two contradictory parts inside the city. One is a serene side of Jinju with Nam river runnig along the Ji-ri mountain. On the other side, there is a city with a shopping district and a university, leading to a factory complex where the silk fabric is being produced.

 

    The most popular spot for visit, Jinju Castle is located by the river. Built in 1379, the castle is a famous historical site, where one of the biggest victory took place during Im-jin-wae-ran, the war against Japanese invasion back in 1592 - 1598. In 1592, 3,800 soldiers of Chosun (a kingdom of Korea) won over the force of 20,000 Japanese army. Inside the castle, a shrine is built in memory of a heroine, Non-gae. A beautiful woman with courage, she allured the captain of Japanese army to the riverside, held him in her arms and dived into the river. The pavillion became one of the most beloved place in Jinju. When you ask where you should go during your visit to a local person, anyone would tell you to go to the castle.

 
 

    Visiting the city for the second time, I skipped the castle and directly headed to the factory to meet Mr. Park, the second-generation CEO of a silk factory. I post some of the pictures took from the castle from my first visit for you though.

 
 

    Pleiades purchases some of the silk fabric - used for covering the wedges of Iris, making straps for Joanne and Joe - from the Jinju factory. Mr. Park has been one of the crucial partners for Pleiades, from the beginning of the brand. He has been an active entrepreneur of the factory for more than 20 years, inherited from his father. The man behind one of the major silk factories operating in Korea, the man with ambitious eyes and tanned skin, constantly pacing back and forth while answering to his non-stop phone rings. Yes, he is the boss.

 

    Pleiades interviews Mr. Park, asking about the history of silk production in Jinju and how he is looking at the industry, where it is now and in which direction it should be going.

 

    1. Why and since when is jinju the centre of silk production in Korea ?

 

    The history of silk production in Jinju dates back to a century ago, when Japanese people were seeking for a place to build silk factories with less cost comparing to their own country, whlie maintaining the good quality. Jinju was perfect for the location, because it is close to the coast and has an access to an abundant source of water, Nam river. The ratio of women among population of Jinju is pretty high, which is also a benefit for producing fabric.

 

    The town was also famous for gisaengs, ranked as one of the cities where the most popular gisaeng institutions were located. When there are many gisaengs, the fashion industry soards.

 

    Most importantly, the natural conditions are ideal for sericulture. Nam river and Ji-ri mountain are surrounding the town, providing clean and warm ource of water which is around 36 degrees celsius. The waterflow keeps on circulating via the mountains through to Nak-dong river, functioning as the natural purifying system. Clean water allows the colour of dyed fabric to be brighter and last longer.

 

    2. How did the silk manufacturing industry evolve through time ?

 

    Factory workers earned a fortune until the beginning of 90's. They often went on a luxurious field trip to Jeju island, which even the biggest corporation groups did not dream of. The owners of the factories drived European vehicles (which was a symbol of wealth), and everyone stocked cash in their saves.

 

    However, the good times were called off, when synthetic fabric industry rised in Daegu and people started to substitute silk with cotton fabric for lower price and better practicality. Soon, when a financial crisis struck the nation in 1998, everything was torn down to the ground. Coming from the technicians' background, the former bosses were not ready for the sudden difficulties.

 

    The industry needed new leaders with entrepreneur minds. The leaders who could re-brand the Jinju silk and turn the failure into an opportunity. Nowadays, Jinju people are working hard to become the better, keep developing new materials and trying to understand the international trend.

 

    3. What materials are you developing recently ?

 

    Actually, we have always been coming up with new materials constantly. Do you see the table over there? Every morning, I cut pieces from our new samples. Whenever a new idea comes to my mind, I discuss with our technicians to weave it out into materials. About 20% of the samples become products. The other 80% is being stocked in the secret room to be re-developed or just to be kept! We are working hard everyday to catch up the decades that we have lost in mannerism.

 

 
    Inside Mr. Park's office, there is another door with a sign saying 'Entry unaccompanied by an employee strictly prohibited'. Mr. Park showed me around the 'secret room', storing both the 20% and the 80% of samples produced. "Feel free to look around. Someone is on the line, I'll be answering it outside." The colours, textures, prints, embroidery, and unprecedented mixtures of fabric.

 

    There was a section of projects commissioned by clients with higher profiles. However, most of them had logos of the companies that they could not be used for other products. What a pity. I had to ask Mr. Park what they were for, because the luxurious and soft texture instantly captured my eyes. Some were commissioned by big companies to make a new year's gift for VIPs, while some others were made by orders from Italian manufacturers.

 

    4. Where do you see the current position of Jinju silk ? Where do you think it should be going ?

 

    To be honest, Korean silk is not highly valued internationally yet. Although we are confident with the quality, former Jinju silk industry did not care about the branding. They lived day by day with a narrow vision, focusing on maintaining the machines and repeating the same process over and over again. We should come up with a stronger brand image. That is why we are working so hard on new materials, despite of the cost and difficulties.

 


    We also need human resources. I am the only CEO from the second generation of silk industry in Jinju. I first stepped into the industry 20 years ago, and for the whole 20 years, I am the youngest member of the silk union.

 

    Government support is also required, which is too much focused on the 4th Industrial Revolution. No matter how much computers, semiconductor and Artificial Intelligence evolve, we still need chopsticks, toothbrushes, shoes and clothes. Not investing in manufacturing industry means 100% dependency on imported goods.

 

    First time I visited Jinju, I was deeply sorry to see how depressed the atmosphere is, and how such beautiful fabric and techniques are falling behind. However, there is a new force of silk manufacturers working every hour with passion and care for what they do. Looking back on the history of modern fashion, we have been losing on so many beautiful things with priceless values. That is why Pleiades is working closely with local manufacturers and artisans, bringing materials that are considered 'old fashioned' to the front, to prove it is not. We believe that the genuine never fails.