“When The Camellia Blooms” Flaunts Soaring Viewership Ratings & Gong Hyo Jin’s Fashion Highlights
Gong Hyo Jin and Kang Ha Neul’s characters are sweetly falling in love with each other, but they’re not the only ones.
Viewers tune in weekly for more of Gong Hyo Jin cha, Dong Baek. According to Nielsen Korea, this week’s episodes of When The Camellia Blooms garnered a whopping 11% and 14.5% respectively. The October 9th episode recorded 13.1%, and the drama beat its own record the following day. The romance thriller keeps its viewers at the edge of their seat every week as the serial killer “Joker” closes in on Dong Baek.
Aside from the charm of the provincial life of Ongsan, much of the attention can be attributed to Gong herself. As Dong Baek, she positively commands attention. Despite her shy and soft-spoken demeanor, Dong Baek is actually fierce and brave. In the last few episodes especially, her character has been evolving into a stronger, more outspoken woman.
The Retro Charm of Dong Baek
Despite the challenges Dong Baek faces with her neighbors, she maintains a quiet poise and grace. Perhaps it’s the same demeanor that draws Yong Sik to her. He sees her quiet but firm attitude when she stands up to Mr. No, prompting Yong Sik to fall in love with her.
Dong Baek’s fashion sense also calls attention. Gong’s character is complemented by a retro fashion style. Coupled with her long hair most often flowing freely down her back, her laid-back retro style matches the sleepy town of Ongsan perfectly.
What’s unique about Dong Baek’s fashion is that she effortlessly pulls off a floral apron as part of her wardrobe. Gaining inspiration from the name of her bar, Camellia, Dong Baek often layers her clothes with different prints, mostly floral.
Often she’s seen in simple loose clothing with either plain or floral print. It’s an understated fashion sense but it’s effective. Instead of calling attention to herself because of what she wears, Dong Baek utilizes her outfits subtly to prove a point; “She craves for a simple life, but even in her simplicity, she’s eye-catching.”
In this particular scene, Dong Baek is in a bookstore when Yong Sik spots her for the first time. He can’t take his eyes away from her, it’s obvious that he’s smitten by her. And who can blame him? Gong’s wardrobe is a beautiful vintage dress, simple but elegant. Her blue and white polka dotted dress may seem out of place for a small provincial town like Ongsan. But perhaps it’s a slight reminder that Dong Baek is, after all, originally from Seoul.
With such a defined track for Dong Baek’s fashion, it’s important that the rest of her don’t overlap or compete for attention. Therefore, Dong Baek’s make up is more of a “barely there” style.
Not much is necessary anyway because Gong’s natural beauty shines through. Additionally, her hairstyles must emphasize her character’s job as the busy owner of the Camellia. Thus, it’s often either up in a bun, tied in a ponytail, or just loose down her back.
Reel Inspired By Real
Gong’s stylist Lee Bo Ram said that the actress’ style in the drama is a mixture of retro and vintage. Furthermore, they try to express it in a refined manner. Living in a rural setting, Gong herself had a hand in the outfits. She specifies that her outfits have that “everyday look”, casual and comfortable.
Spinning from her own personality, Gong has that same understated fashion sense as her character. As seen on her social media posts, Gong shies away from being loud and splendid. She’s a believer that she doesn’t have to use expensive brands to look put-together.
It’s her casual stance in life and her clothes that make Gong Hyo Jin so endearing to her fans. She’s often seen as their ‘unni’, or a big sister. Fans view her as someone they can warmly open up to and chat with.
This is Gong’s star power. Despite her success, she remains grounded. In her latest drama, When The Camellia Blooms, her character is inspired by her true personality, simple, quiet but fiery.
When The Camellia Blooms airs on KBS every Wednesday and Thursday.
Image credit: KBS