André Kim (August 24, 1935 ~ August 12, 2010) was very well known in the expat community for his fascinating fashion shows and great interest in foreign culture. His fashion shows were often attended not only by Korean celebrities but diplomats and top foreign executives with their spouses and they all thought of him more as a friend than a designer. He was very active in supporting the needy, He was a regular support of many foreign expat charities and was an honorary guest for many years at the SIWA Annual Charity Bazaar, to which he contributed very generously every year.
From childhood, André Kim was different. For the son of farmer, he had a very unusual dream - he wanted to create gowns that would make women beautiful. In one of his interviews in his office in Sinsa-dong, he confessed that he didn’t like to dress up men as there is nothing “pretty” can do for them but for the ladies he is ready to create… and the proof of this was his marvelous fashion shows of deep colored satin, sparkling jute and exotic silk!
No matter what age, he always walked hand in hand with fashion. He was a true expert in his field as he was always up-to-date on the fashion trends on the runways around the world! We always wondered how a person of his age had the energy to keep with the fast pace of the fashion industry but he did…. and he did it perfectly. I remember him telling me and my friends at a charity dinner in 2008 that purple was very “in” this season. We laughed a lot when we met each other the next day - we all were dressed in purple!
But apart from being a world-renowned designer and one of Korea’s most famous sons, André Kim was a really good dad and funny grandfather. Again, as a flash, I remember Christmas 2009 when he invited me to join him and his family because, as my parents had left Korea, I would be on my own for the holidays. And, it was real Christmas for me. There was no “celebrity” in the air. It was a simple Christmas dinner with grandfather at the head of the table telling jokes and his family adoring him back. This is how I remember André Kim – as the head of a wonderful family and as an outstanding designer.
I would like to share his advice of success with you. He told me that if you know exactly what you want, every single thing will turn up to make your dream come true. And he is a real proof of a man living his dream!
From the whole foreign community in Korea, if I may, I would like to say that you will be greatly missed, Designer André Kim!
The author is the treasurer of the Seoul International Women's Association (SIWA).
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