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The biggest gift my mother gave me is to know how to be independent. She always threw me in a situation where I needed to figure things out and move on. Mother always empowered me and reminded me that I am capable: I can do anything. And I do it well. I may be even the best of all. Ego? Naaa. She taught me to trust myself of doing anything and I do it well and I may be the best of all so I was able to be independent. Always.

In Seoul, My mother used to send me off to a public bath house just myself  with a bag of shampoo, conditioner, soap and a towel . I was 6 years old. She gave me something like $7.00 then so I could pay the entrance fee and also buy a cold milk if feel hungry or get tired during my weekly visit to the bath house. Of course it was much safer then than now for a kid to walk around and do things, but this was kind of thing that most of other moms would not do even then. I was already independent. I was already doing things. Growing up as a little kid, I never had someone come to pick me up when there was an unexpected heavy rain. No umbrella.  I knew we were poor and my mother always worked. So I learnt to deal with things. I walked home. Rain would dry. I was more looking forward to a warm bath after I got home rather than worried about the rain.

Careless mom? Naaaa. I always knew my mother trusted me. She trusted me about my career path. She trusted me about Emiliano. She trusted me that I could figure things out. Right there, that empowered me to carry my life on and now, I am a 38 year old woman and a mom who is confident and independent and yes I know how to figure things out and I do it well.

Mom, you should be proud of yourself! Look how you raised me! You taught me and showed me the most priceless quality that I could have ever asked, and I have it in me, Mom.  That is Independence. Like I know you will survive in a middle of desert left alone, I will too, Mom.

I’ll figure it out. I love you mom. Happy Mother’s day to you..!!!!!!!

IMG_25821977, When I was 5 years old. Walking into the Kindergarten birthday party. I was bit shy. Mom So Stylish!!


IMG_2453Mom, Dad and Brother. Mom looking amazing here.

IMG_2464 Early morning of my wedding day. 1999, Italy


IMG_2478A moment with mom, Emi and Me. Before the wedding dinner.




IMG_2306Packing Dress: Isabel Toledo, Spring 1998


IMG_2305Yeohlee, Infanta Dress, 2005

IMG_2308Yeohlee, Mercury Bellows dress, 2007

IMG_2309Isabel Toledo, Apron Dress, silk chiffon, Spring 1997

IMG_2311Jean Yu, Deeper Gown,2008. At Museum at F.I.T Museum Purchase.

IMG_2314Charles James, Clover Evening Dress, 1953, Museum at F.I.T Museum Purchase.

IMG_7930Isabel Toledo


May 4, the day after the Gala. So I went to Met today to see the Exhibition. The weather was gorgeous by the way, so I really enjoyed the walk from the #6 train station to the museum. And…no that lady is NOT me in the picture! haha anyway, bit excited walking in…!


IMG_2212Here’s the Invitation for the Membership Preview: Which means less crowded!


IMG_2214The entrance. It’s so nice to see that one line on the wall” The Exhibition is made possible by “GAP”!!

During the research for the Tee project,  I had read so much about each era/the theme, woman of the Show, but here I am walking through the exhibition, everything feels new again. And the Costumes are absolutely gorgeous!!

IMG_2216The Heiress opens up the Exhibition: Sorry… I don’t have the pic of Heiress costumes. But! It is all about the “hour glass shape” accenting the smallest waist ever possible by having “corset-ed bodice with boning structure”. I am pretty sure the mannequin is specially made for such an era because the waist measurement easily looks like only 18″!!!

IMG_2217The Gibson girls:  Luuuuuuuvvvvv the entire room. By the way, each room is in oval shape with tall ceiling and life size back ground either that is photo printed wall paper or the real fresco painting! Look at the first 2 outfits completed with leather strapped ice skates! And the rabbit caplets and the jacket. These 2 ladies look absolutely put together.  The details with hints of contrast colored striping and lines make them look even more interesting. Love them!!


IMG_2226Here’s the other side of Gibson girls: The room is set up around her interests in Sports: Ice skating, Tennis, Bicycling, Golf, Riding…  Here multi paneled long linen skirt and band collar shirts, also where Gap’s Gibson Girl Tee’s inspiration has come from.  And I can’t get over how small their waists were!!

IMG_3867The Gap’s Gibson Girl Tee. And the below, Gibson Girls, Rowing!


IMG_2231Jason and Nancy, I SO thought of you two! Look at this sweater!!!. The sleeve , The stitch!  And I want the sweater….!


Now, moving onto Bohemians:  Look at these shoes and the velvet covered shoe box and wooden shoe forms keeping the shoes in a perfect condition. We are talking about 100 years of history here.  So decadent and so rich!


IMG_2234This dress is out of the world. You have to see it yourself. The bottom hem is twisted and balloon like draped with placed mini tassels hanging. Absolutely stunning!

IMG_2238Her rich and flamboyant taste comes through these costumes. The details, drapes and volume…  And below, the Gap Bohemian Tee. We doubled up the tee in simple cotton jersey to give that twisted hem by rotating the inner layer about 30%. And added hand done looking details by applying raw cut jersey pieces and running stitches.



Next… Flappers, one of my favorite:  There are so many more costumes at the show. So You need to go see them yourself!


IMG_2240The slender line, the fan, the length of the skirt, the sexy T-strap shoes: Ahhh, I love it! And Can we talk about PRADA!!?!  By the way, The first costume on the very left was “The Inspiration” for Gap’s Flapper Tee.

IMG_3856The Diamond Paneling on the front. Pleats and ruffles replaces the intricate skirt detail of Flapper’s ones. The view of the Flapper’s room below.



The lastly, The Screen Siren: All the dresses are Drop-Dead-Gorgeous!! Absolutely Stunning.  Screen Siren looked the most modern to me because somehow I believe the big screen star attitude and that elegance continues through the world of the Cinema today. Even though then was just 100times more beautiful but, hey, it’s year 2010 now, Right?

IMG_2243I remember my first year at F.I.T making the final project for the Draping class, the mushroom pleated silk dresses. You put your fabric through the pleating machine with sheet of paper. The machine pretty much” Bakes” the fabric with that sheet of paper all together. Aren’t these dresses amazing? I really love the metal chain details on the dress in the middle. This hard edged detail beautifully compliments the superbly draped mushroom pleats. The Goddess.

The Exhibition features video footages from the movies, amazing accessories and bit of history per era. A great show! I am only covering a portion of the exhibition here and I encourage everyone to go see the show. The Show opens to Public Today. A beautiful one. And don’t forget to stop by at Picasso Exhibit as well. Have fun!

IMG_2298One of the Gap window for the Limited Edition Met Gala tees. 



So it has been always a big pride for me that Gap, the “it” American brand I have been working for now 9 years going in, leading a cool modern culture for America. And now the newest best thing that Gap is doing is Co-chairing the biggest American event of the year, Metropolitan Museum Gala with Anna Wintour and Oprah Winfrey. The Monday, the May 3rd. Today!

Not only the Gap will be rocking the night of the Gala at the Met but also Gap had created a Limited Edition Tee Capsule to celebrate the event, Costume Institute’s Spring 2010 exhibition, American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity, the first drawn from the newly established Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at the Met.

And I was the super lucky one to work on the Tee shirt capsule of total 8 pieces with Patrick Robinson, the EVP of Design and my big boss at Gap!

First the quick down load about the whole event then flipping a heavy binder of fabulous images put together by Andrew Bolton, the Curator of Costume Institute of Met.  Wow, there are ton of information in this!  From prominent oil paintings, posters from the turn of the century, countless images of amazing costumes, historical drawings and black and white photos of real women in the history and the list goes on. The assignment? Design a limited edition tee inspired by each era or the women in American history ( 1890-1940) who changed the women in America and made the America today to be sold at specific Gap stores.

A tee? One tee? It has to be more than one tee. We are going to do a tee per each inspiration from the Met event : Patriot (1910s), Suffragists (1910s), Flapper (1920s), Heiress (1890s), Screen Siren(1930s), Gibson Girls (1920s) and Bohemian (early 1900s). Plus we create one more, one exclusive tee for Met museum only,” the Celebration tee” inspired by Norman Rockwell’s all American Woman image.

Our( Gap’s) biggest focus on this project was to create the tees that are modern and relevant to the women in the Society today. And our process goes as below…

We pick the best couple inspiration images per the era to focus on the specific details: Below, ” The Bohemian” loving the 3 dimensional skirt detail from the image of the costume from the early 1920s and recreated for the tee. ( a page from our sketch book)


Below, “The Heiress”, We focus on the corset detail. Then give a little modern twist by switching the boning detail to simple zipper. We made it even longer so you can wear it with your newest Gap leggings!


Here take a look at the photos of Very First mock ups done in back in September, 2009! The work in progress….!

IMG_3854The Bohemian: Raw cut jersey pieces with stitch detail and twisted double layered tee.

IMG_3856The Flappers: Focus on classic diamond panel detail and flirty woven pleat and ruffle details.

IMG_3867The Gibson Girl: All about the small fit and woven shirt layered underneath look. But It’s only a trick! It’s still a tee!

IMG_3864The back of the Heiress Tee: It’s all about the modern “Corset” idea and the zipper detail adds extra cool edge.

IMG_3881The Suffragist: She fought for her right to Vote. The Tough one!

IMG_3875The Screen Siren: She got all the glam she needs but in a very down town way. Completely double layered and draped in bias cut. Quite chick Ha?

IMG_3876The Back view: The origami detail as bit of drama on the back.


IMG_0779Trying out our top pick, Norman Rockwell’s image of all American fierce and strong woman for Met exclusive tee.  I really relate to this image because this is me everyday. And this is you everyday as a woman. I may not wear American flag outfit, but I do what this woman does. I mean look at her! She looks rather ” Do It All! ” than struggles. She’s strong, responsible, enduring, loving, creative and intelligent. I see my mother and grandmother. I see myself and all the women out there. What an amazing women we are!!

IMG_0728Coming all together.. The sample on the front and the inspiration page on the back. Get my system going…

And the final product ready to be shipped! As you can peek at from the photos, each tee has specific stamp label inside to capture where each tee’s inspiration has come from.

IMG_2195The Bohemian and Patriot. All tees are retailed around  at $44.50.

IMG_2196The Flapper and Heiress.

IMG_2198The Gibson girl and Suffragist.

IMG_2201The Screen Siren.

The Last but not the least, The “Celebration Tee” for Met Museum shop Exclusive.




Now, Where to Buy these?
Remember these are limited edition. We had produced only limited numbers of tees and only the specific Gap stores are carrying these tees.  So here’s the list of those locations.  On May 4th the Tuesday, the window will be up and tees will be in the stores below. So, Go buy them! Also shop on line


Also check out the site, “Press Room” of Met museum for more details around the actual exhibition:http://www.metmuseum.org/press_room/full_release.asp?prid=%7B32D789A2-4C41-4146-BA91-1F1A6AE0AF98%7D

And here’s the list of other related programs to this big event: Patrick is judging the high school student’s Tee shirt design competition along Anna Wintour and I’ll be also participating in a discussion program, “Conversation with Two Artists” with Andrew, the curator at Costume Institute of Met:

*Related Programs

An audio tour, narrated by Sarah Jessica Parker, provides additional insight into the exhibition and the birth of the modern American woman. It is available for rental ($7, $6 for members, and $5 for children under 12). The Audio Guide is sponsored by Bloomberg.

A two-day symposium celebrating the historic collection-sharing program between the Met and the Brooklyn Museum takes place May 21 in Brooklyn, and May 22 at the Metropolitan. The events are free with Museum admission.

Two documentary films accompany the exhibition – Charles Dana Gibson: Portrait of an Illustrator (1997) and The Flapper Story (1985) – and will be shown at 2 p.m. on certain Tuesdays and Thursdays (schedule available on www.metmuseum.org).

Programs for teens include a T-shirt design competition for high school students (deadline June 14). The winners will be celebrated at a Teen Festival of Fashion: From Suffragists to Sirens featuring related fashion activities on July 17. A Conversation with Two Artists: Fashion! featuring a discussion between Andrew Bolton and Jaehee Park, a design director at Gap, takes place on May 14 from 5 to 7 p.m.

A book, High Style: Masterworks from the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection by Jan Glier Reeder, accompanies both the Met and Brooklyn exhibitions. It is published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art – $50 for hardcover and $25 for paperback – and is available at the Met (including www.metmuseum.org) and the Brooklyn Museum (including www.brooklynmuseum.org). The hardcover is distributed to additional outlets by Yale University Press.

The Metropolitan Museum’s website (metmuseum.org) features the exhibition and additional information on these programs.

A T-shirt designed by Gap on the occasion of the exhibition is available in the Museum’s on-site shops and www.metmuseum.org for $30.

And here’s a few of the press so far:











IMG_2207 The May Vogue Issue.

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