New Emissary

Sung Yeonju’s ‘Edible Fashion’

It may sound kitschy, but this emerging Korean artist’s food-based fashion is actually far from it.

Shrimp couture? Chive frock? Cabbage corset top?

It may sound kitschy, but Sung Yeonju’s ‘edible fashion’ is actually far from it. Just look for instance at one of my favorite pieces: the delicate mini-dress she’s created using only egg as her primary material. At first glance it looks like it could have been constructed from gold leaf or some other exotic metal, that’s been pounded into paper-thin and purposefully textured into just-the-right fabric for the elegant piece. But no, it’s not, and even after knowing it’s egg, you’re still left wondering how it was cooked to look so…high-fashion. There’s another favorite, the single-strap tomato dress whose lower portion explodes out in a flattering pouf of bright red tomato peels that look like they’ve each been carefully at first inverted by hand to bring out their best potential shape, something slightly different from what we’d expect, perhaps more tropical flower petal than salad scrap. Amongst her other pieces includes a Tree Ear Mushroom blouse, a backless bubble gum dress, and a bread party gown.

I started to notice quite a bit of interest being generated around the contemporary South Korean artist—who currently lives and works in Seoul—toward the end of last year.

She’s now being represented by Art-merge, a Los Angeles-based art consultancy, which is also running a Korean Contemporary Group Exhibition featuring her work called Ahn-Nyung | Hello that runs through February 19. It is the first time Yeonju’s work is being shown in the United States.

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I’m definitely going to be following this artist, and am most interested in seeing whether she sticks to the food or fashion theme in her work, or goes in an entirely different direction.