Andre Kim was born in Goyang, Gyeonggi, Korea, as Kim Bong-nam. The son of rural farmers, Kim attended Hanyeong High School and graduated from the Kukje Fashion Design Institute. Kim has been in fashion design since 1962. At the age of 27 he opened Salon Andre in Sogong-dong, Central Seoul, becoming Korea’s first male fashion designer. In 1966 he became the first South Korean to hold a fashion show in Paris. He would later go on to hold many other fashion shows in New York, Washington DC, Barcelona, Cairo, Sydney and Beijing. In 1981, Kim was selected as Chief Designer for the 1981 Miss Universe beauty pageant. In 1988, he designed the uniforms of the Korean athletes for the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. Following this, he became a repeated invitee for occasions held by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). In 1997, he was presented with South Korea’s Presidential Culture and Art Medal for his contributions to the fashion industry. In 2003, he was awarded Italy’s Cultural Merit Award and was elected as UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassador.
In February 2006, Kim hosted two elaborate private shows in Hawaii called, “Fashion Fantasia in Hawaii,” at the Turtle Bay Resort during the SBS Open featuring over 140 garments. Gov. Linda Lingle and Mayor Mufi Hannemann attended and stayed until the wedding finale, which featured seven unique gowns and a groom. The hairstyles were fashioned by Aveda Salon and Spa and Liberty Salon Hair and were in keeping with Andre Kim’s “signature style” of parted hair embellished with rows of braids wound around the models’ heads. In the first show, four LPGA players and Korean actors, Shim Jee-ho (Stained Glass), Kim Min-jung (Fashion 70s), and Hawaiian favorite, Jung Joon-ho (The Twins, Marrying the Mafia) modeled in Kim’s show. At the second show, hosted at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Coral Ballroom, Kim’s fashions were the centerpiece of a major fundraiser for the University of Hawaii at Manoa of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources apparel product design and merchandising program. Kim’s shows also served as part of the 20th anniversary celebration for local television station KBFD.
In November 2006, Kim showcased his costumes at the Angkor Wat temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Siem, Reap, Cambodia. The show was titled “Fashion Fantasia: Angkor Watt” and was the first fashion show held with the ancient temple as a backdrop. This fashion show was part of the Angkor-Gyeongju World Culture Expo 2006 that kicked off in November 2006 and ran through Jan. 9, 2007. The 50-day event was titled “Ancient Future: The Myths of the Orient” and featured exhibitions on the Khmer civilization and the Silla culture “to provide an insight into the culture of Korea and Cambodia.”; special guest models were actress Kim Hee-sun, who starred in 2005 Hong Kong Movie The Myth with Jackie Chan, and actor Kim Rae-won (Love Story in Harvard,Rooftop Room Cat). That same month Andre Kim also held a fashion show at Kyeongbok Palace on the 13th of 2006.
On February 10, 2007, Kim presented his menswear collection and was a celebrity judge for Manhunt International 2007 held at South Korea’s Kangwonland International Convention Centre, a newly opened ski resort bidding for the next Winter Olympic Games. In March, Kim appeared in Shanghai, China to hold a fashion show and then arrived in Washington, D.C. on June 19, 2007 to hold a charity fashion show to benefit the UNICEF. On May 7, 2007, Kim held a fashion show at the Big Pallet Convention Center in Koriyama, Japan to mark the year of Korea-Japan friendship. He also designed uniforms for the Hankuk Academy of Foreign Studies in Yongin and took a foray out of clothes into designing washing machines, refrigerators, and air conditioners for Samsung. Kim also has launched lines in cosmetics, golfing goods, sunglasses, and interior design of apartments.
Kim hosted at least two fashion shows during the summer of 2007. On July 12, Kim held a fashion show in Wuxi, China at the invitation of the Wuhsi municipal government and the large shopping mall ITFM (International Textile & Fashion Megamall) to celebrate both the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 15th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between Korea and China. The show was the tenth Kim has held in China so far since his first in 1993 to mark the first anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries. The show was entitled “Four Seasons Fantasy” and showcased some 180 costumes highlighted by several themes such as “White Night,” which held Kim’s clothes against a snowy backdrop, and the “World’s Immortal Masterpieces,” which featured medieval paintings on clothes. Several Korean celebrities modeled; singers such as Choi Siwon of Super Junior, Ivy and Son Hoyoung walked down the runway as special models, in addition to all 65 contestants of the 2007 Miss Korea Beauty Pageant. In August, Kim staged a show celebrating the opening of a large art hall at Seoul National University.
In the fall of 2007, to celebrate the coming of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, upon invitation from the Chinese government, Kim presented his designs, modeled by Korean actor Kim Rae-won, making this his second appearance on an Andre Kim fashion show, and actress Kim Tae-hee (Love Story in Harvard, Stairway to Heaven), at a fashion show in Qingdao, China in the September On September 15, 2007 a fashion show was held in Sabuk, South Korea. On November 27, Kim held another fashion show featuring Korean actress, Choi Ji-woo of Stairway to Heaven and Aircity fame. On June 13, 2008, Andre Kim held a fashion show in Kyonggi-do, South Korea. Several Korean celebrities modeled including Honey Lee, 3rd runner up in Miss Universe 2007, Tim, a Korean ballad singer, actress Lee Eun-sung (Evasive Inquiry Agency, Que Sera, Sera) and actor Ha Seok-jin (Hello! Miss). Interestingly, Lee and Ha later co-starred in the 2008 Korean drama, I Am Happy. In March 2010 Andre Kim made one of his last public appearances serving as a judge for the Miss World Organization alongside Julia Morley for the Mister World 2010 Pageant held in Incheon, Korea. The contestants of the Mister World 2010 Pageant were models for an extravagant Andre Kim fashion show.
He died in Seoul, South Korea in August 2010 due to pneumonia and colorectal cancer at age 74. His wake service was held at Seoul National University Hospital on 12 August. The Korean press described his death as a loss of a Korean fashion icon. Upon his death his son, Kim Jung-do continues the Andre Kim brand as CEO, through the Andre Kim Design Atelier located in Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, managing their various licensed brands.
- August, 24, 1935
- South Korea
- Goyang, Gyeonggi
- August, 12, 2010
- Seoul, South Korea
Cause of Death
- pneumonia and colorectal cancer