A Couture Christmas at the V&A

Every year to celebrate the festive period, the Victoria and Albert Museum commissions a designer to create a Christmas tree for the museum's Grand Entrance at Cromwell Road.

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Christmas tree installation, designed by Miss Sohee © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Over the years, the unique installations have ranged from lavishly decorated real trees to hand-crafted twists on the traditional. Previous Christmas trees include designs from Alexander McQueen, Es Devlin and Jasper Conran, and as we step closer into the festive season, we share the story behind this year’s tree designer: Miss Sohee.

The V&A unveiled a dazzling Christmas tree installation, designed by London-based Korean fashion designer, Miss Sohee, whose work also features in the museum’s major exhibition, Hallyu! The Korean Wave. On display in the V&A’s iconic Cromwell Road Grand Entrance, this showstopping design reimagines the traditional Christmas tree into a dramatic couture gown, reflecting the V&A’s tradition of showcasing innovative craftsmanship from around the world.

The three-metre ensemble combines Miss Sohee’s signature style of vibrant silhouettes and intricate embroidery with religious statuary found around the museum. Composed of a crepe-de-chine inner dress and a cascading snow-white silk chiffon cape embellished with star-inspired embroidery and Swarovski crystals, the gown is a striking and ethereal structure. Lit from above by a series of spotlights, the full splendour of the ensemble is revealed as crystals sparkle and shimmer.

“I feel honoured to be invited as a guest designer to be a part of such an exciting project, especially one that is centred around such a beautiful time of year. When I think of Christmas, it evokes nostalgia, angelic shades of white and familial warmth. To be able to constantly collaborate with the V&A has been such a wonderful and inspiring experience, and when it came to designing this Christmas tree, I really wanted to reinterpret the tree through my lens,” said Miss Sohee.

Celebrated for her voluminous gowns, enchanting designs and sustainable practices, Miss Sohee’s garments have captured the attention of the design and fashion worlds. Her ‘Peony Dress’ from her Central Saint Martin’s graduate collection in 2020 is currently on display in the V&A’s Hallyu! The Korean wave exhibition, and her breath-taking eveningwear has garnered a significant celebrity following, with fans including Ariana Grande, Naomi Campbell, Bella Hadid, and BLACKPINK.

Miss Sohee
Christmas tree installation, designed by Miss Sohee © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Rosalie Kim, curator of the exhibition said: “We're delighted to work with Miss Sohee for the V&A Christmas tree this year, whose ‘Peony Dress’ is a showstopping finale to our exhibition on Hallyu! The Korean Wave. I hope that visitors to the museum's Grand Entrance this Christmas will enjoy her glittering reinvention of the festive form in her own signature style.”

Hallyu! The Korean Wave showcases the colourful and dynamic popular culture of South Korea, exploring the makings of the Korean Wave and its global impact on the creative industries of cinema, drama, music, fandom, beauty and fashion.

As a proud Corporate Patron of the V&A, we are delighted to see the return of their annual Christmas installation this year and the fascinating link it has to the fashion of the Korean Wave.

The Christmas Tree installation is on display in the V&A’s Cromwell Road Grand Entrance until 5 January 2023. Miss Sohee’s Peony Gown couture ensemble is on display as part of Hallyu! The Korean Wave until 25 June 2023.

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