By Han Sang-hee
Fashion lovers who enjoyed the film "The Devil Wears Prada" will have a new television drama to satisfy their fashion cravings, beginning next month.
"Style" is based on the Korean hit chic-lit novel of the same title written by former fashion reporter Baek Young-ok. The glamorous world of the fashion industry is the backdrop for the drama, which stars top actors Kim Hye-soo, Ryu
Si-won, Lee Ji-ah, as well as newcomer Lee Yong-woo.
"We were looking for a plot that contained the loves, lifestyle and trends of people in their 20s and 30s, when we finally discovered the book `Style'" said Oh Jung-rok, the producer of the drama, at a press conference in northern Seoul. He added that work on the project has been underway since April 2008.
The venue for the press conference was packed not only with members of the media, but also Japanese fans who had flown over to get a glimpse of one of the show's protagonists, Ryu. The excited fans, from seats arranged for them by the production company, erupted when Ryu walked into the room.
The storyline involves an assistant to a top fashion magazine vice editor who gets tangled up in a complicated relationship with her boss. A competitive stance is maintained between the two characters, with some romance and jealousy in the mix over the male characters.
Lee plays the part of the aspiring assistant, Lee Seo-jung, who, like Andrea in the film "Devil,'' runs around on coffee errands, huffing and puffing to please her boss.
Kim, who returns to television for the first time in five years, plays the ruthless and perfectionist boss, Park Gi-ja.
"Park is very edgy, both in life and style," Kim told reporters. "Unlike other characters, she starts off as a perfectionist in terms of fashion, which can be a burden as I had to look perfect and fashionable from the very start! But we have a professional stylist there to help, so not to worry.''
Indeed, Kim looked ravishing at the press conference in her one-shoulder, green-sequined mini dress and super short hair, while the other actors looked like they had
just jumped out from a photo shoot. Kim later changed into a violet mini dress with a large bow on the shoulder, complete with gold heels and matching earrings.
Lee, who admitted that she wasn't a style connoisseur, showed off chunky black-and-white bracelets, rings and black gladiator kill-heel sandals. Meanwhile Ryu rolled up his jacket sleeves, a style he's maintained since making his debut.
When Kim was asked about her trademark charismatic roles and image, the 38-year-old actress smiled shyly and said that she sometimes regretted the stereotype.
"I'm an ordinary person who enjoys spending time with my young cousins, and sometimes I think my glamorous image can work as a minus for me, personally. I only hope that I can help address the difficulties many successful women have through this drama,'' she said.
Ryu, who had to wait for his fans to settle down, looked thrilled to be back in Korea and on the small screen as a top chef with a mysterious past.
"I have been busy working in Japan," he explained. "I think it's been five years since my last drama, and I'm as worried and nervous as ever. I feel like I'm starting all over again,'' he said.
Meanwhile, fans will welcome newcomer Lee Yong-woo, a former dancer and model, in his television debut, as a handsome photographer and Park's confidante, Kim Min-jun.
"I didn't know where to look or how to behave in front of the camera, but luckily,
my fellow actors and my producer have been helping out,'' Lee said.
Those looking forward to a fashion showdown between the two female characters will have to wait, as it will take some time for the clumsy Seo-jung to transform into a stylish assistant editor.
"It will be fun to watch the different styles. I'll be going for a more tomboyish look, while Kim will go for a more glamorous look. But it's not just about our fashion styles, but the styles of the two different characters' lives, relationships, and careers,'' Lee
Style will begin airing on SBS on Aug. 1 at 10 p.m.
SBS - STYLE