source: koreatimes / YouTube
BYJ & CJW walking the catwalk in Andre Kim's Winter Sonata Fashionshow in Sydney 2002
By Chung Ah-young
Korea’s iconic fashion designer Andre Kim, known for his bold and elegant evening and wedding gown collections, died Thursday evening at a hospital in Seoul. He was 74.
Kim, who had been battling colon cancer, was hospitalized at Seoul National University Hospital last month after he developed pneumonia. He failed to recover and died at 7:20 p.m. Thursday, 20 days after hospitalization.
Although his health worsened from earlier this year, he took part in various events and activities.
In March, he unveiled his 2011 spring-summer collection at this year’s CHIC, Asian’s largest annual fashion exhibition held in Beijing, but rarely made public appearances since then.
Despite his weak health, he was known to have been preparing for a fashion show in China in October.
Kim always featured the nation’s top stars in his shows and received respect from the public for his frequent donations of profits to the underprivileged.
The designer held fashion shows in high-profile venues such as Angkor Wat, Cambodia and with the Egyptian pyramids as a backdrop.
At his last fashion show in China, he said that he wanted to hold a show at the Forbidden City in Beijing one day.
Renowned for his signature white, he preferred to exhibit glittering and romantic dresses in the color at his shows.
Kim garnered popularity not only from the fashion circle but also from the general public. His eccentric style — wearing heavy black eyeliner and all-white outfits — and his unique tone of speaking were often parodied by many comedians.
Born to a humble family in 1935, Kim, whose birth name was Kim Bong-nam, held his first fashion show in 1962 before opening “Salon Andre” in central Seoul. He was the first male designer and the first Korean to hold a fashion show in Paris in 1966.
Kim is survived by his son, Jung-do, 30, who he adopted in 1982, and two grandchildren.