Colorful Hanbok – this drama is full of them! It’s not like any other Korean historical drama I have ever seen for this point alone. They took a traditional story, flipped it on its head, made a villain into a heroin, and incorporated a whole fashion-oriented theme into a mostly make believe story. Essentially they took this historical Korean concubine who was known for being a bit fashionable, and turned her into the Asian Marie Antoinette.
This type of (historical) drama has more or less been done so many times before, most of the previous ones with much more success, and in my opinion this one has virtually no chance of being nearly as good as any of those other dramas.
If you look at it through traditional eyes, it’s not that accurate. It’s all about the visuals and making things as beautiful and artistic as possible. Serene settings, the most exquisitely designed Hanboks, and men fighting each other with cherry blossom branches. Historically accurate? No. Entertaining? Somewhat.
I’ve never really liked Hanbok personally. An American friend here once told me that she wanted to buy a Hanbok but I couldn’t understand why. They are really expensive and I didn’t consider them attractive at all.
Coming to Korea initially I was actually disappointed because Hanbok are designed to hide the female figure, not accentuate it at all. I didn’t really see anything all that beautiful about them. Many are made in the color pink for women, and I’m not a fan of pink. However, since moving here they have been growing on me.
One of the first ones that I ever liked I witnessed when I was window-shopping one day. There’s this area near where I live in Suwon where tons of women go shopping for Hanbok when they get married. All these Hanbok shops are located in the same place and you can’t miss them. I came upon one that had a black top and a deep burgundy skirt with silver swirls of embroidery. It was on display in between a bunch of other Hanbok that I thought were ugly. I stared at it for a moment, took a deep breath, and I thought to myself ‘I could wear that if I had to.’ Since then I have been seeing more and more Hanboks here and there that I consider lovely.
In this drama, I LOVE THEM ALL.. except for the pink ones. So yea, they’ve definitely grown on me, but I still like Kimonos better.
I was initially really excited to see Jang Ok Jung because it stars Kim Tae Hee. She starred in Iris and she’s beautiful and glamorous. She’s considered one of the top beauties in South Korea and so I wanted to see how she would present herself in a more traditional context.
Overall I am happy with this drama for what it is: it is not a traditional saeguk. It’s more of a modern story that has been thrown back in time. They have taken a lot of artistic liberties with this one. But really, it is supposed to be completely fictional. It’s a re-telling of an actual historical time in Korea.