[Review] Fashion King – 패션왕


Fashion King is about a group of young, aspiring designers and the relationships and hardships they face on their way to achieving their dreams.

I think this may be one of the shortest descriptions I’ve written for a drama premise.  However, it’s less about the fashion world and more about the relationships of the four main characters.  I knew that I wouldn’t like this drama very much and I was prepared to rate it poorly but I just had to watch it for Lee Je Hoon and his foray into dramaland.

The main two rivals in the drama are Kang Young Gul (Yoo Ah In) and Jung Jae Hyuk (Lee Je Hoon).  They start out being indifferent to each other until Young Gul asks Jae Hyuk to help him out financially for his business.  Jae Hyuk dismisses him and Young Gul becomes focused on becoming a bigger success than Jae Hyuk.  It’s about pride and I guess somewhere in there it should have been about ambition but that message gets loss in the repetitiveness of the drama.

I had hoped the drama focused more on the world of fashion from the concept stages to fashion on a global scale but it just didn’t reach that level.  Really, you could take these characters and put them in any other occupation.

Yoo Ah In’s a good actor and he’s got a knack for being darkly comical.  Which was the direction that I thought this drama would go in but it settled for makjang.

While I’m not a fan of makjangs, I think it could have still made fun of itself and that would have been sufficient enough to entertain me.  However, it tried to be a serious statement on greed and ambition but it was so repetitive that I just got tired of watching it.  Can Young Gul and Jae Hyuk just whip it out already to see who’s bigger?

Not only was the business clash between Young Gul and Jae Hyuk repetitive but the love relationships repeatedly used the same themes.

I did find Young Gul and Jae Hyuk to be very similar with one another.  It’s just that they grew up in different classes.  I wanted to root for Young Gul because he was the underdog but his character stubbornly refused to change.  At least Jae Hyuk seemed to have matured a little bit by the end.

I also don’t know how many times Lee Ga Young (Shin Se Kyung) went back and forth between both men.  She doesn’t get what she wants emotionally from Young Gul so she goes to Jae Hyuk to further her fashion career.

Then Young Gul shows some remorse and she’s back with him again.

Although at one point, the drama was heading towards a love square but later both boys became focused on Ga Young.

However, it was almost like Ga Young was one of those abused women who believes in standing by her man and I grew annoyed of her.  Of course, Young Gul doesn’t actually hit Ga Young in the drama but to me she seemed like one of Young Gul’s possession as he climbs the ladder.  Young Gul with the fabulous condo with Ga Young by his side.  Young Gul with the hot convertible with Ga Young by his side.  And I found that to be extremely distasteful.

Sure, Jae Hyuk started out treating Choi Anna (Kwon Yuri) that way and I think that’s why their relationship didn’t work out.  However, I’d like to believe he learned something from his relationship with Anna.

I’m still not convinced that Jae Hyuk and Ga Young are suited for each other because the issue of Jae Hyuk and his parents will always be there.

But I like that he removed himself from that abusive situation in an attempt to make a different life for himself.

This is also Yuri’s first time out acting as one of the leads in a drama.  I don’t think she’s a terrible actress.  I felt that there was more material for her to work with towards the beginning of the series.

I wished the issue of her taking anti-depressants was developed further because I found that to be the most interesting thing about Anna.

Instead, the love triangle between Young Gul, Ga Young and Jae Hyuk edged Anna out of the drama.  I grew tired of her sneering looks and sideways glances.

The fashion in this drama wasn’t much to swoon over.  While I get that couture fashion is bold and daring, I just didn’t find myself fawning over the wardrobe here.  Perhaps it’s because I find Korean fashion to be tacky at times but that’s just my personal taste.  Some of the outfits here were downright fugly, while other outfits were just bland.  What I wouldn’t give for Patricia Field.

I think more than anyone else Young Gul’s clothes were the worst.  What is this?  Miami Vice?

I could go on and on about this one though.  This ain’t no 70’s porno taking place in a coke den.  Or is it?

Anna’s fashion choices is supposed to be simple, sophisticated and chic and I have to say out of everyone here I probably liked her outfits the best.  Plus, she’s super tall and it just seems like any fabric would look good draped over her.

Finally, I have to talk about that final episode again.  So on the plus side, I did not see that ending coming.  Kudos to the writer for throwing me off-guard.  However, I feel like the ending was more for shock value rather than trying to make a point.  As for the gunman, my theory is Young Gul made a run for it.  He had borrowed too much money from the mob and didn’t pay them back.  Young Gul had a long history of pissing off Hwang Tae San and he wasn’t going to stand for it anymore.  While it’s not good business to kill off someone that owes you money, Young Gul has a long history of not falling in line.  So it’s just better to off him and use him as collateral damage so that other debtors get the message.

I don’t blame the writers for killing him off as I had lost my patience with this protagonist.  Can we call him a protagonist anymore?  As he’s watching Ga Young exit the school and seeing Jae Hyuk pick her up, I’m surprised that he’s surprised.

Young Gul was too self-involved to get to really know Ga Young.  He seemed in love with the young Ga Young and frustrated with the adult one.  He had held on to that past too tightly.

Sure, I do think he loved her but to him, she had to fit within his parameters of their relationship.  She couldn’t have her own opinion that differed from his and therefore I can identify that behavior with those of abusive men.

I don’t have any problem with killing off a main character but I’m annoyed that this is the last impression we’re left of him and this drama.  I think it might have been better to end it with him crying on the stoop of their old apartment.


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