DESIGNERS, from the most common faces
in the industry to the newer names, present their approaches to
staying à la mode not just on the runway, but on a
daily basis. But the newer fashion designers coming into the spotlight
need to blend classiness with a slight twist in order to take over
the fashion scene.
Christina Kim is one of those designers who recently
introduced her elegantly chic, trendy brand, Zuzu Kim. Her début
collection, Concerto, was presented at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel
in New York during Fashion Week. Zuzu is Christina’s nickname,
an element that adds a personal touch to the brand.
Kim’s stylish and natural look, with a dash of
confidence and poise, are portrayed in her collection, elaborating
on the idea of dressing not only to impress but to attain a high
level of comfort.
The Zuzu Kim brand reaches out to women of all ages.
Kim studied fashion design at the School of the Art
Institute of Chicago. As the daughter of the former South Korean
ambassador to Saudi Arabia, she travelled and was brought up in
a considerably international society. Kim is fluent in several languages
and also speaks the language of music, which is a theme that she
beautifully incorporates in her new season’s collection.
We sat down with the designer who enthusiastically
explained to us how she identifies the idea of fashion and elegance;
she also spoke to us about Zuzu Kim, her newly blossoming brand
and what it means to her.
Lucire: How does it feel as a new designer in the fashion
industry? How did it feel to present your début collection
during New York Fashion Week?
It’s one of those “dream come true moments.” I
was exhilarated, not to mention exhausted, from days of not sleeping,
as I was busy preparing for the presentation. I felt that it came
together really beautifully and getting positive feedback from everyone
was very encouraging, as well as all the very positive reviews.
But at the same time I was also thinking about what I wanted to
do for the next collection.
How do you perceive fashion and how would you like to see fashion
evolve in the near future?
I definitely think of fashion as being a form of art. It’s
a personal reflection of who you are deep inside. What you wear
every daywhether it’s a simple T-shirt or a striking
dressis like making a public statement of yourself. It’s
a very subtle, visual expression. In general, as a designer, I believe
that women should have a certain elegance and a certain dignity
and should not feel forced to strip their femininity away completely.
They should be encouraged to be an individual and to speak their
minds and be made to feel as confident as possible. Of course, for
me as a designer, quality, fit, comfort, and timelessness are very
important aspects which I try to balance in every design.
How would you define elegance and how should the idea
of elegance be perceived in how we dress?
I believe that true elegance is a certain comfort and ease, a peace
within oneself. It shows in how a person wears the same object differently
from another person. Beyond clothing, it’s a state of mind
and I think that when one carries oneself in a certain way and feels
comfortable in their own skin, not conforming to trends, it shows
in the way they move, in their gestures as well as in their manner
of speaking. Their clothes seem to come alive. I think there’s
a lot of pressure today from media and pop culture to be drastically
different from everyone else, as well as a pressure to conform.
But sometimes I think it’s a bit too forced. I believe that
true elegance is the most powerful force of self-expression in any
given life moment.
Could you tell us what theme revolves around your new season’s
I worked on my branding for over a year in almost complete solituderesearching,
observing, and brainstorming constantly. It’s something I’d
wanted to do for years; and it became a physical ache that I had
no choice but to fulfil. I’m trying to create a brand that
mixes uptown with downtown, the edgy with the classical, a passionate
romanticism with modern chic.
As a designer and classical pianist, I wanted to fuse
certain musical ideas into the brand. It’s something that
came from my heart, music being one of the things I love most. I
designed a conductor’s coat as well as a tuxedo in which I
incorporate a certain edginess. The orchestra tuxedos
are made from satin-faced Italian virgin wool with a slight stretch,
inspired practically for concert artists and of course, everyone
else. There are pleats in the back for ease of movement and comfort.
The tuxedo pants [are] semi-high waisted with a silk cummerbund
attached to it. And the orchestra tuxedo blouse has
a washed silk charmeuse body with silk organza pleats in the front
and French cuffs with a tongue-ring closure at the neck, omitting
the traditional buttons. The ultimate silver brocade jacket is another
musician-inspired piece. It comes with a matching miniskirt.
Quality is something I don’t choose to compromise
on. We all have active lives and want comfort but we also want luxury,
which makes us feel special. Each item in the collection is designed
so that it can be integrated into a customer’s own wardrobe,
so that it can become a part of their ongoing journey of self-expression.
I strongly believe that composing an outfit is an art in itself;
we do it every day in our own way, it’s somewhat akin to a
painter’s composition, a story, our story.
Our duty as designers is to help express that personal
story by creating a dream or fantasy through a brand and, ultimately,
to help cultivate the wearers own imagination and their joy
Lola Saab is Paris editor of Lucire.
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