Han Ahn Soon Casts Her Fairy Tale

Though born and raised in Japan, designer Han Ahn Soon is inspired by her ancestral Korea’s colorful traditional garb. As a fashion designer, her rainbow collections stick out like an abalone shell in a sea of black jade.

Fans of cerebral Japanese mode will be put off by Ahn Soon’s girly take on clothes, but her designs sit comfortably with the booming Shibuya-girl style, which flies the flag of super short hemlines, sparkle and a strong penchant for color. The difference with Ahn Soon’s high-end incarnation is the pricey department stores where her merchandise sells, the tall western models that walk in her shows (a deciding factor in determining market class for a brand) and, of course, their excellent craftsmanship.

The spring/summer ’09 collection was titled “Bibbidi-Bobbidi Boo?!” and featured a story about a princess getting bored with palace life—without any expected Cinderella references. Ahn Soon instead presented a poppy homage to retro Americana with circus stripes, blocked colors and “Peace” sign motifs. She also pulled straight from Korean culture by reworking the “hanbok” into a flowy dress in bubblegum colors for the final showpiece.

It doesn’t take a magic spell to see that this up-and-comer will live happily ever after—even after the clock strikes midnight.

—Misha Janette

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