Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cheongdam--Korea's Trendy 5th Avenue

By Don Southerton, Editor
One constant theme of this blog has been Korean lux and up market trends. We've watched it unfold and develop over the years. We shared it a number of articles, too.

This Korea Times article--Cheongdam Sparkles...-- shares insights into Seoul own 5th Avenue.

The night view of Cheongdam Fashion Street features trees decorated with miniature bulbs and the red ribbon lighting of Maison Cartier. / Courtesy of Cartier

By Kwon Mee-yoo

The following is the last in a series of articles featuring tourist sites in Gangnam, southern Seoul, where both domestic and foreign tourists can experience an alluring blend of modern and traditional attractions. ― ED.

The Cheongdam Fashion Street stretches from the Galleria Department Store's Luxury Mall to Cheongdam crossroad. The 760-meter-long street is now decorated with dandelion seed-like lighting, attracting shoppers and tourists.

The avenue, already studded with fancy stores of well-known luxury brands including Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo and Gucci and rising new stores such as 3.1 Phillip Lim and Tory Burch, now shines brighter with the lights boosting the holiday mood.

One of the buildings with the most eye-catching Christmas decorations is Maison Cartiers, gift-wrapped with a red ribbon.

"We opened the flagship store in 2008 and have put up Christmas decorations for the last two years," Song Min-ki of Cartier said.
Maison Cartier is a complex of boutiques, service centers and a headquarters. "There are about five of them in the world and the Seoul one is the first in Korea," Song said.

The Maison sells unique items that are only available there, attracting customers who want limited goods. "Japanese tourists like to visit us because there is no Maison Cartier in Japan. They want to experience something only available in Korea," he added.

Cheongdam-dong portrays a modern and wealthy lifestyle of Koreans, especially young professionals who have studied abroad.

The Cheongdam Street is aiming to be a landmark street in Seoul. "There is Fifth Avenue in New York City and Roppongi of Tokyo. However, there is no such street in Seoul and we will try to be the one," Song of Cartier said.

Cartier wants other shops and restaurants on the street to join the project to boost the area. “This year, we led the lighting project and store exterior decoration and we expect more to join next year, letting more people creating winter memories here,” he said.
The decorative street lighting will remain up until the end of February.

The district office also supports their movement. "It is remarkable that merchants in the area voluntarily set up fairy lamps on street trees," a district official said.

Hippest place in Seoul

“10 Corso Como” is located across the road from the east building of the Galleria Luxury Mall. This was the first 10 Corso Como store when it opened in Cheongdam-dong in 2008. More than 200,000 people ― including celebrities such as CEO of LVMH Bernard Arnault, Nicky Hilton and Korean entertainers Big Bang and Ko So-young ― have visited the “coolest” store in Seoul.

The New York Times picked Seoul as one of the top 31 places to go in 2010 earlier this year and the 10 Corso Como was chosen for the best place to sample the design of the capital city.

The three-story funky building is full of unique men's and women's clothes and accessories from some 106 brands chosen by Carla Sozzani, founder of the head store in Milan.

However, 10 Corso Como is not just an Italian multi-brand boutique. It also has bookstore, cafe and restaurant.

The store offers a “slow shopping” experience. Visitors can actually sit on chairs designed by Verner Panton and Fritz Hansen and read through design books from across the globe, while they browse through selected items from designers brands.

"From outdoor lighting to a small interior decoration of 10 Corso Como are masterpieces of renowned designers. However, we want customers to enjoy the place as it is," a 10 Corso Como official said.

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