SEOUL — Korean fashion continues to churn out new talent. Gu_de, a handbag brand based here, is one of the latest to receive global recognition, having been picked up by Net-a-porter for fall 2018.Founded by Ji Hye Koo, the brand's collection is manufactured in South Korea, enabling Koo to offer quality product at a moderate price. Bags — fabricated from richly colored leather, stamped with crocodile or lizard patterns — retail between $400 and $700.Koo founded the label in late 2016 after working within the fashion design departments of conglomerates like Samsung. Gu_de’s retail debut came shortly after launch, hitting the shelves of Samsung-owned Beaker in early 2017.Koo said that Korean consumers’ thirst for newness has pushed her to create intriguing designs. “There are so many brands in Korea, some are operated by a big company and some are small, individual brands like us. Koreans are always looking for something new. People want unique designs, so I feel a little bit of pressure. It’s motivating; we are trying very hard all the time.”The majority of Gu_de’s bags are inspired by Seventies structured shapes, with petite proportions and removable, interchangeable straps. According to Koo, they appeal to a new, sophisticated type of Korean consumer.“In former days, most people here were looking for bags from a big company, but now this is changing. People are looking for bags that are unique and new. They want a new style and don’t want the same bag as others — she wants her own thing,” the designer explained.“Quality is important, as well as good design with a good price,” said Koo’s husband and Gu_de’s head of overseas business development Ethan H.K. Song.This ethos aligns Gu_de with other rising companies in the developing mid-range handbag category, which have seen success with designs offered for under $1,000. According to buyers who recently assessed spring 2018’s accessories offering, this category of handbag is poised for significant growth.“We want people to know about our brand but we don’t want to go too fast. We have seen that with some brands — they are booming at the beginning and later they disappear; we don’t want to do that,” Song said.The brand, which takes its name from an antiquarian Scottish pronunciation of “good," invites consumers to shop its showroom located within a quiet Seoul neighborhood, and says it has no intention to open a store on a busy retail drag. Instead, Koo plans to allocate resources to ramp up Gu_de’s handbag business overseas.She plans to experiment with shoes — the category with which she has the most design experience — in the coming seasons.
"'Dynasty' is all about gowns, the diamonds and the scandal, so it's a bit like the fashion industry. When we come to Cannes it's all about the red carpet dresses too, so it all fit really well," said designer @philippplein78 on the theme of his high-glamour resort 2019 show at his mansion in Cannes. #wwdfashion #cannes (📷: @zefashioninsider)
"I think Spike is such a brilliant director because he holds up a mirror to society and reflects these issues, yet he doesn't shove it down your throat, he doesn't tell you what to think," says @lauraharrier on her latest film @Blackkklansman. Harrier was at the Cannes Film Festival – for the very first time – with @officialspikelee. #wwdeye #cannes (📷: @zefashioninsider)
“I would think to myself, Are you happy? Yes, I’m wildly happy. I go to this studio every day and, in my inside voices, I’m giggling; I’m singing. Yes, it’s a lot of work, it’s a [huge] volume of material. It wouldn’t be for everybody. But I was very happy,” said soap opera star @therealsusanlucci of checking in throughout the years with her career trajectory. Lucci spoke to WWD about her decades-long career, love for pilates, motherhood and her QVC activewear line. Read Bridget Foley’s full piece on Lucci on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: @celestesloman)
@balmain has taken a stand at the #cannes Film Festival, dressing 16 actresses at a press call for the project “Noire N’est Pas Mon Metier,” or “Black Is Not My Profession.” The multimedia project includes a book, photo exhibit and documentary, which aims to expose discrimination in the French and American entertainment industries. “The moment I was asked to participate, I knew it was right for me, and for this brand, to form a part of this moment,” Balmain creative director @olivier_rousteing told WWD. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
"I always feel curious and I feel like there's more to learn. But I think being relevant, feeling relevant, I personally always feel that there's just so much more to know. And maybe that's the key.” — @themarcjacobs #wwdsummits #wwdbeauty (📷: @patrickmacleodphoto )
“The most amazing thing about her is that, regardless of all the things that have happened to her, her spirit is so undaunted by all of it. She is the most cheerful person you will ever meet. She doesn’t see problems, she only sees solutions,” said @ajanaomi_king of activist Ifrah Ahmed, who she plays in a new film “A Girl from Mogadishu.” WWD caught up with King at Cannes — Head to WWD.com to read more about her new role, personal style and how she uses social media for causes like Time’s Up and Black Lives Matter #wwdeye
WWD asked a number designers to share their thoughts on what Meghan Markle’s wedding gown will look like this Saturday. Here, Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli sketches his look. #wwdfashion #royalwedding #meghanmarkle