The Royal Tailor

The Royal Tailor (Korean상의원; RRSanguiwon) is a 2014 South Korean period film directed by Lee Won-suk, and starring Han Suk-kyu, Go Soo, Park Shin-hye and Yoo Yeon-seok.[4][5][6] It tells the story of a rivalry between two tailors at the Sanguiwon, where the attire worn by royalty were made during the Joseon era, plunges the court into scandal and tragedy.[7][8][9] The film was released in South Korea on December 24, 2014.[10][11]

The Royal Tailor
The Tailors Character Poster
Promotional poster for The Royal Tailor
Revised RomanizationSanguiwon
Directed byLee Won-suk
Produced byKim Su-jin
Yun In-beom
Written byLee Byoung-hak
StarringHan Suk-kyu
Go Soo
Park Shin-hye
Yoo Yeon-seok
Music byMowg
CinematographyKim Ji-yong
Edited byNam Na-yeong
Bidangil Pictures
Waw Pictures[1]
Distributed byShowbox (South Korea)
Finecut (worldwide)
Release date
  • December 24, 2014 (2014-12-24)
Running time
127 minutes
CountrySouth Korea
BudgetUS$10 million[2]
Box officeUS$5,406,469[3]


The film starts with a modern-day press conference, in which Jo Dol-seok is introduced as the only royal tailor, who single-handedly revolutionized the fashion of Korea's Joseon dynasty. Before one of his works is shown, the scene changes to the kingdom of Joseon, where a different story is told: Jo Dol-seok has tailored clothes for three generations of kings before finally becoming the head of the Sanguiwon, the department responsible for the royal attire. Jo was born a commoner, and looks forward to upgrading his social status after serving the royal family for thirty years. Careful to use the traditional rules and patterns, Dol-seok denies the Queen's request when she asks him to replace the king's robe that was accidentally burnt by a gungnyeo (female attendant). He insists that to do so would be against court customs, but also simply impossible in the short time before the robe is needed. Anxious to cover her mistake, the Queen looks for a designer elsewhere. She is introduced to Lee Gong-jin, a young designer whose good looks and expertise at making unconventional hanboks have charmed many women in the capital. He invented the bell-shaped design of hanboks and introduced new colors. Gong-jin falls in love with the Queen at first sight and uses his extraordinary gift as a tailor to save the dress. He subsequently becomes a tailor at the Sanguiwon and begins a prosperous career. He repeatedly uses his craft to support the Queen, who is at risk of being dethroned and replaced because she and the King - who never visits her - have no children.

Soon Dol-seok becomes jealous of the young designer's talent, whose creativeness he cannot rival with his use of the traditional shapes. He fears his own position will be undermined. He lets the King use him to frame Gong-jin for attempting to assassinate the King. The King then tries to lay the blame on the Queen for inciting the young tailor, but Gong-jin saves the Queen by claiming he acted on his own motives. Even when the young designer awaits his execution, the head tailor vows to have his name erased from history. Only when Gong-jin is dead, not only the queen, but eventually also Dol-seok silently mourn his death.

At the end of the film, women of Joseon are seen wearing Gong-jin's bell-shaped, merrily colored hanboks. In the last shot, Gong-jin's design of the queen's royal ceremonial dress is shown at the modern press conference, but as was hinted in the first scene, it is wrongly attributed to Jo Dol-seok.



Filming began on February 21, 2014 and wrapped on July 2, 2014.[15][16]

More than 1,000 hanbok appear in the film, with actress Park Shin-hye wearing 30 intricately embroidered pieces. ₩1 billion (US$909,000) was spent on costumes, a significant portion of the film's ₩7.2 billion total budget. Costume designer Jo Sang-gyeong said she was inspired by the clothing during King Yeongjo's reign (1694–1776), which according to historical records was when a short jeogori, the jacket that sits on top of the dress, and jar-shaped skirts started to become fashionable.[8]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Recipient Result
17th Udine Far East Film Festival[17]
Audience Award - Second Place The Royal Tailor Won
My Movie Audience Award Won
51st Baeksang Arts Awards[18]
Best Supporting Actor (Film) Yoo Yeon-seok Nominated
Most Popular Actress (Film) Park Shin-hye Won
24th Buil Film Awards
Best Art Direction Chae Kyung-sun Nominated
52nd Grand Bell Awards
Best Supporting Actor Yoo Yeon-seok Nominated
Best Cinematography Kim Ji-yong Nominated
Best Art Direction Chae Kyung-sun Won
Best Lighting Jo Kyu-young Nominated
Best Costume Design Jo Sang-gyeong Won
Best Sound Recording Choi Tae-young Nominated


  1. ^ Kim, Soo-hyun (17 November 2014). "KIM Joo-sung, CEO of Waw Pictures: "Waw will become a friend to film productions"". Korean Cinema Today. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  2. ^ Frater, Patrick (7 November 2014). "AFM: Finecut Sews up Royal Rights (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  3. ^ "The Royal Tailor (2014)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  4. ^ Conran, Pierce (26 December 2013). "HAN Suk-kyu and KO Soo Headline New Period Film". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  5. ^ "Park Shin Hye and Yoo Yeon Suk Set to Appear in New Historical Film". Soompi. 25 December 2013. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  6. ^ Lee, Sun-min (23 October 2013). "Actors flock to hot movie". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  7. ^ Baek, Byung-yeul (12 December 2014). "Han aims to relive box office success through Royal Tailor". The Korea Times. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  8. ^ a b Jin, Eun-soo (12 December 2014). "In Tailors, hanbok takes center stage". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  9. ^ Lee, Ji-hye (15 December 2014). "In Focus: The Royal Tailor". Korean Cinema Today. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  10. ^ Noh, Jean (6 November 2014). "Buzz titles: Korea". Screen Daily. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  11. ^ "Local & Hollywood fare to hit screens before year-end". The Korea Times. 25 November 2014. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  12. ^ Lee, Seung-mi (19 December 2014). "Go Soo lightens up for The Tailors". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
  13. ^ Kim, Min-jin (24 December 2014). "Film director praises Park Shin-hye". K-Pop Herald. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  14. ^ Kim, Min-jin (7 January 2015). "Park Shin-hye spreads beauty of hanbok". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  15. ^ "Filming Ends for The Tailors Starred by Han Suk-kyu, Go Soo, Park Shin-hye and Yoo Yeon-seok". Get It K. 3 July 2014. Archived from the original on 1 December 2014. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  16. ^ Jo, Yeon-kyung (25 November 2014). "Yoo Yeon Seok and Park Shin Hye Transform into King and Queen for Royal Tailor". enewsWorld. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  17. ^ Conran, Pierce (4 May 2015). "Udine's Top Award Goes to ODE TO MY FATHER". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
  18. ^ Yoon, Sarah (27 May 2015). "Lee Min-ho, Park Shin-hye win Paeksang awards". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 28 May 2015.

External linksEdit