Spotlight on the first lady and her clothes during a trip to Madrid

First lady Kim Keon-hee visits a Korean fashion exhibition at the Korean Cultural Center in Madrid on Tuesday. [JOINT PRESS CORPS]

MADRID, Spain — First lady Kim Keon-hee took her first chance at soft diplomacy on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Madrid with a tour of a Korean fashion exhibit.

Kim visited the Korean Cultural Center on Tuesday afternoon during her first official activity in Madrid. She and President Yoon Suk-yeol began a five-day trip to Spain on Monday.

Kim, who worked as an exhibition planner, thanked the Cultural Center staff for their efforts to promote Korean culture and encouraged efforts to promote “K-pop, K-fashion, K-beauty and K-food” in Spain.

It was the first visit by a presidential spouse since the center opened in 2011.

Kim visited a Korean fashion exhibition at the center’s Han-ul gallery, showcasing clothes by designer Kim A-young, founder of the CAHIERS brand, which puts a contemporary twist on Hanbok, the traditional Korean dress. The exhibition “The old dresses with the new” will run until July 29.

“Spain is known around the world as the homeland of Velázquez and Picasso,” Kim said. “I am very happy that the first Korean fashion promotion exhibition is being held in Spain, a leading fashion country in the world.”

She noted that the fabric used in Korean clothing is “exceptional” and pointed out that “Korean culture is developing creatively.”

A staff member at the center told Kim, “There is a lot of interest in architecture, film, music and the Korean language, to the point that even a small town in Spain has a demand for an event. hallu.”

Kim visited a hanbok exhibition, workshops and a hangul (Korean language) school at the center.

President Yoon Seok-yeol, second left, and First Lady Kim Keon-hee, far right, pose for a commemorative photo with King Felipe VI of Spain and his wife Queen Letizia at the Royal Palace in Madrid Tuesday evening. [NEWS1]

President Yoon Seok-yeol, second left, and First Lady Kim Keon-hee, far right, pose for a commemorative photo with King Felipe VI of Spain and his wife Queen Letizia at the Royal Palace in Madrid Tuesday evening. [NEWS1]

Later Tuesday evening, Kim and Yoon attended a dinner hosted by Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia.

Kim is also due to attend a series of events planned for the wives of leaders of NATO members and partner countries on Wednesday, including a tour of the Royal Palace and the art center of the Queen Sofia National Museum. Kim was also scheduled to visit a recycling store in Madrid and accompany Yoon to a dinner with Korean residents in Spain later that evening.

On Monday, Kim greeted reporters on Air Force One en route to Spain, her first contact with the press as first lady. She and her husband disembarked from the presidential jet hand in hand.

Kim’s wardrobe got a lot of attention. She wore a white one-piece dress when she arrived in the country and a black and white houndstooth suit paired with a black belt at the cultural center. For dinner, she wore a short-sleeved white cocktail dress paired with white gloves, a black clutch and black heels.

When US President Joe Biden visited Seoul last month, Kim briefly greeted him at the National Museum of Korea, but did not attend a state dinner because his counterpart, US First Lady Jill Biden , was not on the trip.

At the time, Biden told Yoon that they had both “got married.”

BY SARAH KIM [[email protected]]

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