Red as symbol for love, life and passion
KJH and CSH have something in common: their favorite color is red. KJH chose the red diary for HI and even used a red box for the camera case. However, you will notice that CSH is actually very reluctant to admit that she loves red. During this drama, we see how CSH is fighting to find herself and to reveal her true personality to others and the presence of red is used to see the progression, her journey of self-discovery.
This is implied from the first episode on that red is her favorite color. First our heroine got upset, as soon as her ex-mother-in-law sent her a dark blue jacket with a blue skirt. The viewer saw, how CSH disliked the clothes. Blue contrasts so much with red but this is not enough to realize that she likes this color.
The real evidence is when she is in Cuba. There, she is wearing a red dress. In South Korea, she is dressed in a conservative way: white, black and grey. Why did she just wear red in Cuba? CSH only wore such a bright color in Cuba because she is just a nobody there. She could choose such a dress because she knew that people wouldn’t pay attention to her. Hence we can come to the conclusion that she only wears red, when she is not observed. Her experience in Cuba transformed her hence after her return, we see her wearing a red necktie with a light pink shirt.
This marks the first step. We can say that the moment KJH entered her life, she started changing therefore the viewer notice little changes in CSH’s clothes as well. Then in the episode 6, she is wearing a light pink coat
and we shouldn’t forget that she is about to go to a press conference where many pictures will be taken. The more time passes on, the more daring CSH becomes. In the episode 8, she meets JWS in a red dress too.
Yet, her dress won’t be noticed because as soon as she leaves her office, her coat will cover the dress. And here is the best evidence. In the episode 11, she goes on a date with KJH. She is about to receive the couple ring.
So we see that CSH is still trying to hide this so that the beholder come to the conclusion that she is still hiding herself. Yet, this is no longer grey, white or black. She becomes more courageous. The progression is even more and more visible because in the same episode, she is finally wearing a bright red coat. Yet, she is only showing it to KJH. She is on a date with him and this is not revealed to the public.
But this is different, when she is about to break up with KJH.
She has planned to organize the perfect date in order to leave him with good memories. This time, she is also wearing a red coat, but the difference is that here she wants to attract people’s attention. Pictures of her with KJH are later uploaded on social network. She decided to reveal herself to the media (her favorite color) in order to announce her break up with KJH in private. That way, she is able to get the media’s attention and no one will notice what is happening to KJH. Yet, her plan didn’t go like she had planned. She had to postpone the painful news to KJH.
But CSH was so scared to reveal herself and reveal her liking that even in her flat, in the beginning her paintings contained a lot of blue. However, in the episode 10, we see changes in her flat too.
We have more paintings with red than blue. Above her own bed, there is this huge picture with a lot of red.
In this taking, we see her using a red sweat shirt and this kind of clothes is rather personal. To conclude, the more episodes we saw, the more red CSH started wearing or bringing into her flat.
However, after the break up, there is a regression. She is seen again with the light pink coat (see the image below) and then with white clothes again. So the color of her clothes reflects her emotional state. She is again suppressing her feelings (episode 15).
But the real highlight is this: the dark room.
This is the place where CSH feels at home hence CSH is able to gather her courage and change her mind. She makes huge decisions in her life and the dark room filled with red was the reason why she could change her mind. She was forced to admit that she missed KJH so much (episode 9) and why she couldn’t smile without KJH (episode 16). And this is not a coincidence that each time when CSH returned to KJH’s side, she had gone before to teacher Lee and her dark room. Immersed in the red light, she can no longer hide her true color and feelings.
But there is a reason why CSH likes red so much: her mother. The latter showed up once in red and we could sense that this was her favourite color too. She only dressed in brown or dark blue, when she met chairman Kim as she knew that the queen would never accept such a color.
The writer’s choice for Cha Soo Hyun’s favorite color is not random. Although she was described by the media as the ice princess, she was in fact the opposite: a passionate person. She could be compared to a fire covered with ashes and Kim Jin Huyk as the sun was the only one who could lit the fire and remove the ashes. Hence everyone mistook the ashes for her true personality. Don’t forget that the fairy tale Cinderella is often hinted in this drama (the balls, the loss of shoes, the hidden identity). Now we can see clearly another connection between the fairy tale and Cha Soo Hyun, as Cinderella used to live close to the ashes.