Gather round for we bring you the latest louis Vuitton menswear collection via livestream, as it makes its way onto the runway in Paris. Kicking off at 4.30pm (SGT), the show will showcase the brand’s menswear designs during Paris Fashion Week.
With a love for travel and a mind constantly on the lookout for exotic and interesting designs, Kim Jones of Louis Vuitton makes for an extremely innovative artistic director of menswear. Our friends at Men’s Folio take a look at what goes on in the designer’s mind as he goes through his process of creation as well as his thoughts on the future of the industry.
You can check out the interview over here.
In a world where the benchmark of beauty glamour are dictated by sirens of the celluloid screen, we bring you 9 insider tips to help you sparkle and shine in your unabashed realness.
Beauty note 1:
Opium from Yves Saint Laurent is a behemoth of an oriental spicy scent. The time-tested classic conjures cigarettes left burning and the shadow of a demi-mondaine. M.A.C. Face and Body foundation is fantastic for giving exposed skin coverage and an even finish. To achieve an all-over glow, Tom Ford’s Soleil Blanc Shimmering Body Oil will leave a decadent cast of gold.
Beauty note 2:
Red is as timeless as it is powerful: a strong lip in the classic M.A.C Rubywoo lipstick is faultless and universally flattering. NARS Audacious Lipstick in Jeanne is a vampy alternative. On the eyes, try the Matte Eyeshadow in Persia from NARS for a colour-blocked statement on the lids.
For colour-treated hair, Sachajuan Silver Conditioner deeply moisturises and tones the colour to prevent brassiness and dullness. Hanz de Fuko Claymation gives good lift and structure to hair, allowing you to style it any way. A bit of the timeless L’Oréal Elnett Hairspray will keep things in place, with a subtle flaxen finish.
Beauty note 3:
The waft of seduction and desire is captured in Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille, a spicy-sweet fragrance that combines the heaviness of a musky wood base and the masculine sweetness of cloves and cacao – the kind of accords that make you stop and take a deep breath.
Beauty note 4:
Express your inner lady-in-red with a spritz of Frederic Malle’s Carnal Flower, rendering a piercing gauze of animalic camphor married to the feminine wiles of tuberose. Mousse Fort and Volupt Spray from Sebastian Professional build volume and give silken lightness to hair. Define and introduce mystery to the eyes with the Tom Ford Eye Defining Pen, NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in Pasiphae and Chanel Illusion d’Ombre in Mirage.
Beauty note 5:
To achieve hyper sculptural facial structure, put a shadow to the cheekbones with Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate, using the namesake Shade & Illuminate brush. Head-turning highlights can be achieved using NARS The Multiple in Copacabana, copiously smeared on the high points of the cheekbones, nose bridge and brow bones. Coat the eyelashes in these layers: Tom Ford Extreme Mascara, Chanel Le Volume, finished with M.A.C Opulash to tube and set.
Prep the hair with Shu Uemura Art of Hair Volumizing Mousse to give a voluminous start, followed by Sachajuan Styling Cream for a sleek finish. A light spray of OSiS+ Extreme Hold Hairspray will lend a pliable but finished gloss for hair that flies and defies gravity.
Beauty note 6:
A good pucker takes effort – Clé de Peau Lip Treatment is a luxuriously smooth and refined serum that leaves lips soft and plump. Follow that with a swipe of Tom Ford Matte Lip Colour in the delicious shade Black Dahlia to enhance the pout – all the better to kiss with.
Beauty note 7:
Prep the face with a dollop of Illamasqua Radiance Veil for a lit-from-within lustre. The high points of the face can be brought forward and given light using Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector. For a golden pout, try NARS Larger Than Life Lip Gloss in Gold Digger.
Beauty note 8:
Pamper the body with a generous layer of Les Exclusif de Chanel Crème Pour Le Corps body cream from Chanel, designed to maximise and increase the longevity of perfume worn after – Coromandel from the Les Exclusifs range is a spicy balsamic inspired by Chinese lacquered screens. Follow with Guerlain Sunless Tinted Self-Tanning Gel for a bronzed finish – vacation in Ibiza not necessary.
Beauty note 9:
Seduction for boys and girls comes in Sege Luten’s Five O’Clock Au Gingembre, combining the unexpected spice of candied ginger and the sweetness of over-ripe fruits. Call it bronze or call it gold — NARS Monoi Body Oil I can be used on for daily for moisture and the subtle glimmer of gold flecks. Chanel Le Vernis in Pirate is a timeless red that, when worn, imbues the hands with a beguiling pop of color.
Photography Chuando & Frey
Styling Joshua Cheung
Hair Marc Teng/ Atelier using Sebastian Professional; Sean Ang FAC3INC using La Biosthetique
Makeup Rick Yang, FAC3INC, assisted by Hong Ling using Make Up For Ever
Model Brigitta Liivak, Fabio Toledo, Matthew Djordjevic, Nicolai Otta
This story was first published in L’Officiel Singapore.
The designer Johnny Coca (Spanish) wears a personal uniform of a kilt (Scottish), hoop earrings (indeterminate provenance, but very endearing), and is now the creative director for Mulberry (English). After a two-year hiatus without direction and much headway, Mulberry has brought on new blood – proof of post-modernity’s disregard for national boundaries – and Coca’s new vision for the English brand is revitalising, energising and exciting to witness as it unfolds. The FW16 season saw Coca present his debut collection on the London Fashion Week catwalk, complete with ready-to-wear, accessories and, of course, the season’s newest bags.
How did you get into fashion design?
“I think it all began when I had a job in visual design while I was at the École Boulle art school. I had to sketch bags for the windows and I decided to show my designs to Yves Carcelle at Louis Vuitton. I gradually worked my way up. I love to draw and this led to me getting more and more work. I then started to design for more and more product categories: first at Céline with Michael Kors, then at Bally, and then back at Céline again with Phoebe Philo – and now at Mulberry where I am designing the ready-to-wear as well as accessories, shoes, jewellery and travel items.”
How does your education in architecture and physics inspire your work?
“My education in architecture meant choosing the show venue was a very important part of showcasing the collection. The Guildhall – where we showed – was the perfect venue as it really demonstrated the juxtaposition between the old and contemporary, which is very much what the collection was about – contrast.”
As the accessories designer behind some of Céline’s greatest hits, what do you think makes for a successful bag?
“Designing a bag is like building a house – it must be modern, practical, functional and accessible.”
What’s the starting point in your design process?
“It all starts with a concept and then everything stems from there. It’s like a tree – lots of branches with lots of different things create the whole picture.”
Speaking of trees, you’ve scrapped Mulberry’s iconic willow for an archival logotype. What was the reason for your looking back instead of creating something new from scratch?
“It’s important as a creative director to know the heritage and history of the brand. The new logo is an example of this as it’s actually an old Mulberry logo from the 1970s. I found it when I was researching and going through the archives. I felt it could represent the brand in such a modern way while also resurrecting some of Mulberry’s history.”
What were your intentions with your debut at Mulberry?
“To create a modern and accessible collection.”
How did you feel after your first show as a creative director?
“I was full of every emotion possible – happiness, relief, fear… The show was a defining moment for Mulberry and for my career too.”
Were you intimidated by the pressure of becoming the creative face of Mulberry?
“I was extremely humbled and proud to be named the creative director of such an iconic British brand which people love so much. Mulberry is so iconic and has such a prestigious heritage and history, so it was an honour for me to join the team. I’m embracing every part of my role and am excited for what’s to come.”
How do you feel about becoming a ”famous” name now that you are a creative director?
“I am a creative first and foremost, so everything I do, I do for the collections. I want the designs to be able to speak for themselves.”
What are your intentions with Mulberry’s ready-to-wear? Will it, or the bags, drive the brand’s story and identity?
“We’re in the midst of a big modernisation process, which we are very excited about. I’m passionate about design and the whole process that goes with it. It takes so much to go from sketches to catwalk and that’s what excites me. We’re planning to move Mulberry forward by creating more of a lifestyle brand through expanding the product categories into jewellery, sunglasses and shoes, as well as concentrating on the ready-to-wear and, of course, bags. There are lots of things to come. Watch this space!”
Do you think the catwalk presentation format is still relevant for an accessories-driven brand like Mulberry?
“The catwalk shows are extremely important to brands and designers. The FW16 show was a defining moment for Mulberry. We would not have been able to have the impact we wanted – – and had – without a catwalk show.”
Is Mulberry considering a see-now-buy-now approach?
“Yes, Mulberry embraces the new see-now-buy-now approach. Our Pre-Fall capsule collection was available online and in stores worldwide on 1 April. This included key styles, such as the new Clifton and Chester bags, and the Marylebone press studded boots and Mary Janes.”
It’s a funny coincidence that Spain and the UK’s biggest bag brands have swapped creative director nationalities: Jonathan Anderson is at Loewe, and you, a Spaniard, are at Mulberry. Do you think creatives’ nationalities still matter?
“As long as you understand the personality and heritage of the brand, it should not matter where you come from. Mulberry is both a British heritage and an international brand and we want our collections to appeal to women and men around the world.”
Last question: Is there a meaning to your uniform of the kilt, hoop earrings, etc?
“That’s just me. I love kilts and tartan, but I keep it simple with a plain shirt or knit jumper – depending on the British weather!
Could the end be near? While Hollywood may be mourning the loss of its favorite IT couple Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris, the fashion world may be on the verge of losing (another) one of its own. Hot on the heels of its Cruise 2017 collection, it seems that Nicolas Ghesquière may just be ready to break off to start his own label.
Speaking as a guest on the current affairs show Le Petit Journal, the designer and current Creative director of Louis Vuitton’s women’s collections set tongues wagging with his responses (and is on his way to breaking the Internet). When asked about plans to create his own label, he responded with “I’d like to do it very soon. Very soon.” His revelation is one that could be more impactful than that of Hedi Slimane.
After three years of being the brains behind the luxury label, he seems to have had success in bringing his own style to each collection. Having trained under Jean Paul Gaultier for 15 years, his experience and creativity is one that an incumbent would have a tough time matching. Rumors of his departure come in the wake of more designers speaking out about the hectic work life and numerous responsibilities they juggle.
For now though, the waiting game begins…
In other news, Louis Vuitton recently announced a new made-to-order service, to mark the 10 year anniversary of the iconic Men’s Driving Shoe. They’ll be creating personalized Caïman leather pairs at special outlets – allowing customers to personalize these through a set of unique options.
You can find out more on this story over at Men’s Folio.
Chanel might have showed a spectacular Havana-inspired collection and Dior channeled the spirit of travel, but nothing got us more excited than the beauty looks. There’s a lot to be hyped up for Resort 2017, and if you’re doubtful you can achieve these looks, think again – they’re surprisingly easy to score. From ephemeral glowing skin at Louis Vuitton to fiercely-defined eye makeup at Dior, here are four of the biggest looks the transitional season has to offer.
Usually a look only reserved for the beach, Karl Lagerfeld made loose, low-slung ponytails chic again at his Havana-themed show. A dash of apricot-hued blush and hint of dark eyeshadow on dewy, bronzed skin completed the breezy look, and gave off a vacation-vibe that had us wishing the holidays were here sooner.
The girls at Louis Vuitton went au naturel this season. Strong eyebrows framed the otherwise clean faces, each positively glowing thanks to a dash of shimmer on their faces and lips. Their hair, flowing and loose, were kept untreated for a carefree and insouciant vibe, which helped draw focus to the athletic-inspired apparel.
Gucci continued channeling geek chic with a confidently understated look – think lightly powdered matte skin and pale matte lips. The simple look is complete with curled lashes (without mascara, mind you), to open the peepers for the statement eyewear that accompany the looks.
Things at Dior got fiercely amped up with bold eyes and tightly scraped back hair. The dark exaggerated eyes were juxtaposed by ungroomed, haphazard brows, creating a look that was both empowering and feminine at the same time. The French Maison completed the look with lightly glossed nude lips to prevent the look from becoming too wintery.
Alicia Vikander is one of those women who make you hate yourself. Let me explain.
She is, first of all, a prodigiously gifted actress: She channels a steely inhumanity in the Alex Garland-directed sci-fi movie Ex Machina, playing a female robot. Here, her training at the Royal Swedish Ballet School shows: a mastery of her physicality rewards us with a discomfiting robot who throws us headfirst into uncanny valley. In Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl, Vikander manages to sensitively capture the confusion, frustration, and unrelenting love of the wife of Eddie Redmayne’s Lili Elbe, a transgender woman who received one of the world’s first prominent sex reassignment surgeries. She then surprised us with her comic ability as a ’60s mod mechanic turned covert agent in The Man from U.N.C.L.E..
To top it all off, Alicia Vikander is painfully beautiful. On the surface: stormy eyes, a tawny complexion, and a softly sculptural bone structure. She has the kind of simmering charisma that wordlessly demands you gaze at her for just a little bit longer. It would be easier to dislike her (out of jealousy, mostly) if she weren’t so charming.
How did you feel about becoming the new muse of Louis Vuitton?
“I was overwhelmed! I started buying fashion magazines when I was 13 and I looked in awe at all the fashion adverts, but it never occurred to me that I’d be the face of one of those brands. My work as an actress is my main profession and any commercial work I take on would have to be integrated with it. I had to say ‘yes’ to Louis Vuitton because they have always used strong, adventurous women in their campaigns.”
Muses and creators work hand in hand. What made you say yes to Nicolas Ghesquière?
“I like that he portrays other Louis Vuitton muses such as Jennifer Connelly, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Michelle Williams as strong, independent, as well as beautiful. I’ve always admired free-thinking women and it’s a huge honour being in the mix. I was a bit nervous about meeting them because they’re all women whose careers I’ve followed, but they were so warm and lovely that my nerves fell away – and we were united by the fact that we’d all collaborated with Nicolas.”
What do you like about Nicolas’ Louis Vuitton?
“I’m amazed how he always makes me feel as though I’m seeing things I’ve never seen before. I see, for example, a spiky shoe in leather or crocodile and it’s made up of so many different things that I’m almost a bit scared of it. And then, after a while, I find myself very drawn to it. Nicolas seems to be some kind of visionary. I think of him as a futuristic designer; if I look back at a show from a year earlier, he has somehow just captured now.”
Do you have any early memories about Louis Vuitton?
“Yes! When I was 15, I went with three other girls to audition for the Royal Swedish Ballet company in Stockholm. We stayed with my friend’s grandmother and before we set off for the auditions, she made sure we all had the right water bottles and a picnic lunch. I brought out a carrier bag to put all my things in and the grandmother told me to wait. She reappeared with a vintage Louis Vuitton bag and said I could borrow it. The colours were faded because she’d had it since she was very young. I’d never seen such a prestigious and expensive bag with a history you could feel when you held it. I remember sitting on the tube being worried that someone might steal it. It’s important to me that Louis Vuitton has a considerable history; I loved the idea that my friend’s grandmother had owned her bag for decades and intended to pass it on to my friend at some point.”
Is history and legacy important to you?
“Even though I have moved away from my home country, I have a very strong sense of my roots and my heritage. I’m very proud of being Swedish. I mostly work abroad now, and I haven’t had the chance to do a Swedish film in two or three years. I’m hoping to work with a Swedish director in the near future but it comes down to the fact that Sweden doesn’t produce many films because it’s a small country. As an actor in Sweden, you can’t only work in film. You have to do other jobs too.”
What else have you worked in?
“I used to train as a ballerina but I got injured – I had surgery on my foot and back problems that still haunt me today – but the main issue was my commitment. As a dancer you have to be 150 per cent committed. It’s like being in an elite sports team. My classmates had limitless passion: they would turn up early to fit in an extra hour of practice before the day even started – you have to want it that much.”
Was it easy making the switch from ballet to acting?
“The decision to become an actor instead of a dancer was the toughest decision I’ve ever made, and it took me at least a year to make up my mind. It was scary, but I reached a stage where I no longer thought dancing was the right thing for me.”
We think it’s a blessing you went into acting, but how do you feel about it now?
“It was absolutely the right decision! When I found my true passion as an actor, the commitment came naturally. I’m fine with having two hours of sleep every night because I’m so excited about the work I’m doing. I didn’t go to theatre school, so I see my dance education as my artistic foundation.”
It’s very apparent in Ex Machina! Ava, the sentient female robot that you play, leaves us feeling very uncomfortable: she’s graceful and elegant but certainly not organic or human.
“I was certainly aware of my dance training when I played Ava. Her physicality and the way she moved was really important when I was playing her. My dance training is a direct tool for getting into character, whether it’s the way they move, carry themselves or talk.”
Your filmography reads like a list of Academy Award nominations now. With that probably comes the luxury of choosing your roles. What do you look for in a script?
“I have a very instant response to scripts. When I read Alex Garland’s script for Ex Machina, for example, I couldn’t stop turning the pages and I was completely immersed. The people who are involved matter as much as the script to me – the filmmaker, actors, the director of photography. It’s all about the collaboration.”
Speaking of collaboration – can you tell us about your most memorable experiences with the many talented actors and actresses you’ve had the chance to work with?
“I’ve had to pinch myself I don’t know how many times over the last couple of years. To watch Julianne Moore coming out of her trailer in her jumpsuit when we were shooting Seventh Son? Incredible. She was holding a coffee and I was almost shaking. I’ve also worked with Michael Fassbender and Rachel Weisz and they really pushed me to give my best performances. Their impulses and reactions are so fluid that you end up exploring very different directions. I’ve had to learn through making mistakes – be it at ballet school, on set, or in front of other actors – but the great actors and directors I’ve worked with have made me feel like I’ve been in a place that’s safe enough to take risks. It’s not about passing on advice or telling me things; it’s about instilling a sense of calm.”
This story first appeared in L’Officiel Singapore.
Over the weekend, the Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum played host to Louis Vuitton’s Cruise 2017 show. With the brand’s guests and muses in attendance, the show was set to be one of the highlights in the world of fashion. While the collection brought to life the French art of living to Brazil (and was the payoff of months of anticipation) it also paid tribute to two of Brazil’s major artists: Helio Oiticica and Aldemir Martins.
Constructed 10 years ago, the museum’s corridors acted as the runway on which Nicolas Ghesquière’s creations were presented. The collection featured the lively and vibrant free spirit inspired by the city and its art with the help of various textures, materials and silhouettes. The laid back vibe was evident with the embroidered skirts that were wrapped around the model’s waists much like a beach towel. Trousers featured slashed stripes that helped to lengthen the body.
With the likes of Alicia Vikander, Adriana Lima and Jaden Smith in attendance, the influence of Oiticica and Martins was evident on the parkas and cape-dresses (lightness inspired by Oiticica) as well as the prints used in the collection (Martins’ work) on several Louis Vuitton classics. With bright colors dominating the collection, leather also had a strong presence in various forms.
“In Rio de Janeiro, what I saw most of all was movement and an explosive energy that lives somewhere between modernism and tropicality. I was fascinated by the constant duality between nature and urbanism and the pictorial explosion it creates” said Nicolas Ghesquière, creative director. He also added “ For me, the main question was how to incorporate into my collection all these elements that are part of Brazilian culture, without forgetting that I am just a visitor who brings his own Parisian and French cultural references to the moment.
Seducing hyper-connected “Millennials” poses an increasing challenge for luxury brands, which find their markets slowing as young, skeptical consumers force them to rethink strategies.
Goldman Sachs estimates that 92 million Americans are in the Millennial generation – born between the early 1980s and the 2000s – surpassing the famed cohort of postwar Baby Boomers who are now approaching a geriatric phase.
The huge pool of Millennial consumers grew up with the Internet, smartphones and the sharing economy in which owning things like cars is seen as almost unhip, although cars of all sorts are experiencing a boom at the moment.
Regardless, studies show Millennials have different expectations than their elders, who were relatively better paid and less indebted at the same point in life.
Deloitte analyst Nick Pope spoke this week at an FT Business of Luxury Summit of “a structural worry” as to whether there would be the “same level of spending in product ownership and luxury as there was in their parents’ generation.”
A Deloitte study targeted Millennials as an opportunity for luxury brands, but warned that they require “a high level of investment” and are more “mercurial” consumers whose brand loyalty can quickly shift.
“Their engagement with digital technology has exposed them to more sources of information, a greater range of influences, and smaller brands,” the study said of Millennials. “To attract, excite and engage Millennials will require a high level of brand investment.”
Luxury-sector sales, excluding the effects of currency changes, were up only one percent last year, and similarly tepid growth is expected this year, according to global management consulting firm Bain & Company.
US jeweler Tiffany recently announced a disappointing financial forecast, and the maker of the well-known British Burberry trench coat has embarked on a money-saving plan.
“The people in the luxury space, they got very spoiled, because there was a market of people who consistently spent,” Sarah Quinlan of MasterCard Advisors told AFP on the sidelines of the FT luxury summit in San Francisco. “That market is no longer there.”
Oligarchs with lavish spending habits in Russia and China have seen growth slowing in their countries. It is unclear that Millennials, with their fickle and prudent spending styles, will take up the slack.
But Burberry has taken aim at those Millennials with a digital strategy cited as an example for the industry.
And LVMH, the France-based multinational luxury goods colossus, reached into the Silicon Valley talent pool last year and recruited Apple executive Ian Rogers.
Luxury brands including Burberry, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany have taken to relying heavily on social networks such as Snapchat that are popular with young people. Having a presence online and in social media has become a necessity for brands.
It promises to become even more important as people use smartphones while making buying decisions on the move. Internet titans are pitching instant shopping opportunities based on time, location, interests and more.
Still, brands such as Tiffany face a problem: some young people see them as “old-world luxury” items that don’t jibe with their Internet Age values and lifestyles, according to Neil Saunders of Conlumino retail research company.
Being on social networks has become a “must” in the marketing equation, but it is not enough, contended Quinlan.
“The bottom line is having something relevant that fits into their lifestyle,” Quinlan said of luxury brands that court Millennials. “I don’t think they’ve done enough to curate their brands.”
The fading allure of luxury items among Millennials is “not necessarily an income problem,” she contended.
Data collected by Mastercard describes consumers who choose to enhance their lives with spending on trips, dinners, outings and other experiences instead of on “stuff.”
“They might buy one piece; if it’s very special, it’s very valuable, has a memory of a trip somewhere,” Quinlan said.
Yet, Pope saw the luxury goods market as “absolutely sound,” so long as brands recognize the shifts under way and offer “value enhancing” products.
Thus, companies could transform their shops into places where people can socialize and linger as they might in a coffee shop, or connect with increasingly popular historical, ethical or sustainability trends.
All eyes are on Rio this week as Louis Vuitton unveils its new Cruise collection for 2017. We join L’Officiel Singapore as they bring you a live stream of the show. Be sure to tune in on May 29 at 3.30am.
Head to L’Officiel Singapore for more information.
Here’s another way you can show your love for Louis Vuitton – its latest Objets Nomades collection is one you’ll want in your living space(s), not in your closets.
The exclusive range of foldable furniture and travel accessories have come a long way since the first presentation at Design Miami in 2012. This year, a total of 10 designers have joined Louis Vuitton’s line-up, including new names in the industry such as Raw Edges and established ones like Campana Brothers.
Keeping in mind the House’s special orders of the past, such as the iconic Bed Trunk or Wardrobe Trunk, the creative minds not only rethought the intuitiveness of common home goods but also covered them in the buttery-soft leather Louis Vuitton is known for. Here, we walk you through some of the ‘Objets’ on display at the Louis Vuitton Island Maison at Marina Bay Sands. This exhibition runs from now till June 30 2016.
Hammock by Atelier Oï
If you’re going to kick back and relax on a cool summer’s day, might as well do it in absolute style. Inspired by Louis Vuitton’s savoir-faire in knitwear, Atelier Oï’s Hammock sees refined leather strips weaved to create a graceful web and reinforced by gilded rivets. Complete with a leather headrest, all you have to do is grab a cocktail of choice, and revel in the opulence of it all.
Concertina Table by Raw Edges
The entire Concertina range centers around Yael Mer and Shay Alkalay’s long-time interest in collapsible objects, and this table is no exception. The flower petal design is referenced from the House’s famous Monogram design, while its ash-wood legs is a stark contrast to the Nomad calfskin leather, giving the portable table what the designers call a “special presence”.
Ernest Bed by Gwenaël Nicolas
Here’s something that would render sleeping bags irrelevant. Gwenaël Nicolas’ Ernest Bed is a roll-up leather-edged canvas mattress with a Nomade-leather pillow. Its sturdy oak structure and neutral colorway is inspired by Ernest Hemmingway’s African travels, and is frankly, too beautiful to use in the wild outdoors.
Cocoon by Brothers Campana
Like a protective shell, the Campana Brother’s Cocoon is created to provide comfort and reassurance from the outside world. The perforated pod utilizes the latest high-tech stereolithography – a form of 3D printing – which is then covered with calfskin leather outside, and quilted leather inside. Inside, the pod embraces with broadcloth-covered cushions while you sway gently in the breeze.
Lounge Chair by Marcel Wanders
Described as “an unfolding and portable oasis for relaxation”, Wanders’ thoughtful creation consists of three individual modules that create three distinct styles by way of leather straps – a chaise lounge, armchair or pouffe. The modules are manufactured in high-tech carbon fiber, which means that it is lightweight, sturdy and super portable. Rich, soft leather envelops the exterior, while suede lines the inside. Ardent fans of Louis Vuitton will appreciate the version in the House’s classic tan leather, while the bold will enjoy the “Ocean Drive Inspiration” version – an exclusive turquoise rendition inspired by Ocean Drive in South Beach, Miami.
From now until the end of June, fans of steamer trunks should head over to the Louis Vuitton Island Maison at Marina Bay Sands for the Malle Extraordinaire exhibition. With a long and illustrious history, Louis Vuitton has garnered many fans around the world, some more prominent than others. To celebrate this and to allow the public to explore this history, the brand has flown in several heritage trunks to Singapore.
You would be amazed at how well preserved the trunks are, given that some were created nearly a century ago. However, given that this is Louis Vuitton, a brand renowned in its superior woodwork and leather craftsmanship, this has to be expected. Using materials such as Gaboon and Beech wood, the trunks are sturdy creations that can withstand hard knocks while allowing for the natural expansion of the wood.
On display, are trunks that once held the possessions of royalty and historical figures; clients included Napoleon III’s wife Empress Eugénie de Montijo, the Maharajas of Jammu and the royal family of Egypt. These trunks from the company’s archives even bear the customs stamps as well as shipping and boarding labels that serve as a memento of its original owner’s travels.
Many of these historic trunks were even personalized along with the emblematic monogram or Damier print, allowing the trunk to be recognized from afar. While hat cases may be of little use today and a wardrobe trunk for timepieces may not be the kind of luggage we see often, the Malle Extraordinaire gives us a chance to travel back in time. While the past may very well be in the past, some traditions may never die, which explains why Louis Vuitton still constructs some of its luggage by hand, much like it did in 1854.
The Malle Extraordinaire exhibition will be on display at Louis Vuitton Island Maison at Marina Bay Sands until June 30.
As a visitor to Paris, Sundays have always been an excellent time to take in the scenery because the stores are closed – well, not anymore because the city’s top luxury stores will be throwing open their doors from this weekend onwards.
Tourists flocking to the French capital will now be able shop at luxury shops that line the Champs Elysees and the Place Vendome on Sundays as a key government reform comes into effect.
An agreement between luxury shops and employee unions on Sunday hours has come into force, said Sylvie Zawadzki, who heads up tax and social issues at the French Fashion Federation.
The deal allows shops to take advantage of a reform pushed through by Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron last year allowing for shops to open on Sundays in newly created international tourist zones in Paris.
Sunday openings for shops in France is severely restricted.
“It is an agreement that provides companies the possibility to open (on Sundays) but it is a decision they take based on their commercial strategy,” said Zawadzki.
The flagship shops of luxury brands such as Chanel, Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton are covered by the deal.
Zawadzki declined to say how many companies are concerned, but according to the business daily Les Echos some 30 brands and nearly 100 shops could now open.
Other international tourist zones cover the central part of Paris, including the area where many of the city’s top department stores are located, including Galeries Lafayette. So far only one, BHV, has reached a deal with its employees.
French artist Fred Allard says, “Art is the way I express my feelings.” Allard’s style is creating art pieces surrounding fashion using different textures, colors and pictures that express his artistic voice. As a result, Allard revolutionizes the way we look at the bag as a fun, characterful and quirky object.
His recent project ‘Vide son bag’, features a series of bag designs that combine the ordinary with luxury: Campbell soup cans with Chanel handbags, Coke cans with Louis Vuitton bags, Chup-a-chup lollipops with Cartier paper bags – resulting in a style that is funky, unique and fresh. The bags of ‘Vide son bag’, fall in three different categories: the IT Bag, the Basket Bag and the Shopping Paper Bag. With each of these types of bag, he questions our way of using them – the shopping bag does not contain luxury articles but is amongst the most practical; the basket bag, an epitome of practicality and function; and the IT bag, authentic high fashion bags that he fills with everyday products to show the place of the luxury in our everyday lives.
With a background in fashion, Allard has a keen sense of textiles and colors and how they shape imprints, iconographies and culture. He is deeply inspired by street art, pop art, and music and finds food for thought in magazines and department stores. He finds value from observing the street, mixing the array of colors and materials from everyday life in his pieces and weaving commonplace objects into his works. The Allard style is an enthusiasm for materials, words and colors. He manifests his style onto his bags, which he seems to treat as sculptures of the humanistic desire for material wealth: the bag is a symbol of the lives we carry with us – it is both an intimate and personal object.
Beyond just the commonplace, at the heart of Allard’s works is the desire to portray the zeitgeist of the modern society: how our consumerist attitudes and need for status symbols blinds the simple joy of living in the ordinary. His works capture the “everyday objects, like uniting two opposites, the contradiction and the mix,” says Allard. By aligning Hello Kitty next to Hermes, he highlights the contradiction by “combining high end shopping bags and filling them in with products that can be bought from the supermarket, a perfect combination which perfectly blends together to create a unique object.”
Allard studio mirrors that of his works – spray cans lying around, graffiti all over the walls, machinery to create his sculptures of bags, as well as his artist tools: sand, boards, buckets, masks, clamps, brushes, hammer, screws. His studio has the same wealth of textures as his bags have colours. It is no wonder that his studio in the south of France is the incubator for his expressive thoughts.
“Luxury becomes popular and what’s popular become precious”, says Allard. ‘Vide son bag’ juxtaposes the ordinary with the luxury to bring out the fun contradiction of everyday living.
*For more information, please visit www.galeries-bartoux.com.
This story first appeared in Art Republik.
Léa Seydoux goes from Bond Girl to campaign girl for Louis Vuitton’s Spring/Summer 2016 campaign. Decked out in the label’s athletic and cyberpunk pieces, the Spectre actress portrays a “daring, confident heroine who is constantly on the move” within the modernist compounds of Cuadra San Christobal. The “travel” campaign is lensed by the famed Patrick Demarchelier and styled by Marie-Amélie Sauvé.
“I deeply admire Nicolas Ghesquière’s work, especially his newness,” Seydoux said earlier this year. “His incessant search for novelty is also highly impressive.”
Find out more about Léa Seydoux and her “travel” experience with Louis Vuitton on L’Officiel.com.
The fashion runways churn out an impressive number of style stories with their trends and designs. Today we take a closer look at the accessories that don’t need to try too hard to catch your attention — simply because you can’t miss them. Bigger is always better it seems with the looks we’ve seen on the catwalk and we can’t wait to share some of our favorites, which are also the favorites of L’Officiel Singapore, who put together this piece.
Bold & Beautiful
Statement necklaces and arm parties have seen their day. With so many designers cutting away garments to reveal necks and shoulders, it only makes sense to draw more attention to these areas via a pair of huge, sweeping shoulder-dusters.Make them the focal accessory by going for interesting details and colour combinations, lots of sparkle, or an arresting sculptural shape.
Fashion’s fallen head over heels for this punk-tinged hardware, but given it a decidedly feminine touch. Alexander Wang used gold chains to embellish the dainty mesh bags in his romantic all-white Balenciaga collection. Miuccia Prada used them on retro, ladylike pieces in her rich, tactile collection, while Armani and Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen draped them on the body to offset light, delicate clothes.
Plastic truly is fantastic. Designers as varied as Christopher Kane, Simone Rocha, Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel and John Galliano at Maison Margiela all offered versions of the transparent stuff plastered on bags, heels, sandals and hats. The most directional pieces, though, came from Jonathan Anderson who used it on garments at his eponymous label and on plastic Puzzle bags, pouches, jewelry and even trousers at Loewe.
If you’re looking to indulge your inner princess fantasies, now is the time to do it. The girls at No 21 wore bands of sparkling stones atop their dreamy white looks. The Rodarte sisters wove medieval-looking gold leaves into their models’ hair, while Dolce and Gabbana crowned their glamorous Italian girls with fruits, crystals and flowers. Not everything was so princess-like though; both Miuccia Prada and Hedi Slimane showed actual tiaras at Miu Miu and Saint Laurent, respectively, but their girls and the clothes had an alluringly rebellious vibe.
Sandals are a fail-proof summer staple but they’ve now been given a fun fashion twist via luxe materials, bright punchy prints and, most importantly, an elevated standing thanks to a sturdy flatform or a low chunky block heel. We love Fendi’s graphic leather slides, Ferragamo’s strappy ones with pop-coloured soles and those printed Chanel sandals that light up like an airport runway.
For Spring/Summer ’16, designers have chosen to make their biggest statements in white. The effect is clean and chic, but far from minimal. At Balenciaga, Alexander Wang sent out rucksacks, totes and clutches in beautifully delicate silk satin, lace and woven leathers. Phoebe Philo’s white Céline bags were graphic with interesting hardware details while her Chelsea boots had a chunky, mannish appeal. Massimo Giorgetti’s sandals at Emilio Pucci on the other hand were romantically dotted with pearls.
Text by Jeffrey Yan
This story first appeared in L’Officiel Singapore.
From Paris and straight to Tokyo, Louis Vuitton brings its highly successful exhibition this spring. Titled Volez, Voguez, Voyagez the exhibit spent its three-month run in Paris this past winter drawing in 200,000 visitors. We covered that run right here.
The exhibition tracks the 160-year history of a brand that originated from one man’s goal of improving the travel trunk. From Nicolas Ghesquière to the founders themselves, it will showcase an in depth map of how the brand reached its success today. Now an international empire of luxury goods, Louis Vuitton has a strong connection to Japan.
Many have even compared the iconic Louis Vuitton monogram to the Japanese cherry blossom. The exhibit will have a special room dedicated to Japan. The exhibition will open in the Kioicho neighbourhood of Tokyo, home of Vuitton’s first store in Japan.
The Volez, Vogues, Voyagez exhibition will run from April 23 in Tokyo and will be open to the public.
Born out of the most imaginative minds, set with spectacular gems mined from the furthest corners of the earth and engineered by the nimblest hands, the high jewelry collections you’re about to see will, quite literally, take your breath away. Our friends at L’Officiel Singapore curated and shot this selection to celebrate their ninth anniversary in 2016.
Tiffany & Co.
The New York label calls this one of late French jeweller Jean Schlumberger’s most brilliant designs for the house. Handcrafted by artisans, it was, in 2014, made a part of the Blue Book, an annual high jewelry collection celebrating the setting of flawless diamonds and coloured gemstones in Tiffany & Co.’s present-day creations. A large 20.06-carat amethyst sits in the middle of the unique clip, while 18k gold arrows appear to pierce through its fully-pavéd heart.
What appear to be cuff bracelets are in fact secret watches, each designed after things – namely, the camellia, the comet and the feather – that inspired late founder Gabrielle Chanel. This year, the Parisian house adds a fourth piece to its Les Éternelles de Chanel collection, which, through a neat pattern of diamond-set squares, tells the story of the star quilting technique that Chanel has long been known for. At the heart of the ticker sits a 43.66-carat pink morganite pyramid that, when pressed, reveals a small, elegant dial.
In this staggering collection are 100 beautiful one-of-a-kind interpretations of what you’d find in an Italian Renaissance garden. Aptly named Giardini Italiani or, Italian Gardens, the Roman house’s latest high jewelry collection has reimagined Colombian emeralds, brilliant-cut diamonds, pink spinels and even a 400-carat Sri Lankan sapphire, among other precious stones, as romantic flower beds, geometric hedges and water cascading off decadent fountains.
A year after joining the French Couture Federation as jeweller, Chopard has unveiled three unique cuff bracelets handcrafted by artisans in its Geneva Haute Joaillerie ateliers. Our top pick: an ingenious piece that the Swiss maison describesx as “a flight towards spring” – it sports a pair of transformable, iridescent butterflies decked in precious stones. The first has wings that double as earrings while the second detaches to become a brooch.
Here, Monsieur Dior’s growing up years in Granville on the coast of Normandy were the source of inspiration. Head of fine jewelry Victoire de Castellane captures the playful spirit of childhood games in 12 one-of-a-kind creations. According to the designer, colorful cuts of her favorite stones – aquamarine, beryl, chrysoberyl, rubellite, tanzanite and tourmaline – are arranged with “a sense of equilibrium” in asymmetrical patterns, so no one shade dominates the other.
Fluid lines of ’30s Streamline Moderne make a sensual comeback in Acte V/The Escape, Louis Vuitton’s sixth high jewelry collection. Rounded silhouettes borrowed from aeronautics and the hulls of transatlantic steamships are incorporated into the collection, which feature vibrant-color gems (including a 32-carat Paraiba tourmaline and 30-carat Australian Lightning Ridge opal) and a specially-reworked, softer version of the French house’s signature “V” motif.
Van Cleef & Arpels
Born out of Louis Arpels’ passion for dance, many of the Parisian jeweler’s creations feature ballerinas as recurring icons. First shown in New York in the ’40s, ballerina clips – adorned in precious headdresses and tutus composed of colored gems – were a hit with collectors, who were besotted with the elegant costumes and graceful poses. A specially curated selection will be displayed at the Art Science Museum from April 23 to August 14 as part of Van Cleef & Arpels’ The Art & Science of Gems exhibition.
Rich in virtues – bravery, hope and peace – and lavish in build, with no surface left unset, animal-inspired jewel talismans are touted by Boucheron as both precious and protective companions, and have been a part of its emblematic lines since 1858. This year, the French jeweler’s ever-growing Animaux de Collection (it currently features 20 creatures) welcomes a new member, Chinha the eagle, whose regality is translated as an oversized white gold ring anchored with a large cabochon tanzanite.
Divided into 12 sets, a number recalling the address of Chaumet’s Place Vendôme boutique, the Lumières d’Eau collection exquisitely expresses water in its various states. White Ethiopian opals, pearls, lapis lazuli and emeralds conjure vivid images of gleaming lights on the South Seas, the soft tones of the aurora borealis and crashing waves under an aquamarine sky. A highlight of the high jewelry collection, this piece – featuring blocks of diamond-set and frosted rock crystals on a sleek collar necklace – depicts icicles, and embodies the frozen strength of water.
Text by Kenny Loh
Art Direction by Stephanie Lim
Digital Imaging by c.w.
This article was originally published in L’Officiel Singapore
Muses. In Greek mythology, they were believed to be naiads (or water nymphs) and the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne. Ethereal and enigmatic, these goddesses of inspiration kindled the flames of thought and creativity in the realms of literature, science and the arts, and were invoked at the beginning of lyrical poems so that they might speak through the poet’s words.
Here they are among us, still. Manifested in the form of beguiling celebrities and models, the muses have ruled the cosmos of couture since time immemorial. One only has to mention “Givenchy” to recall one of the most sublime iterations of the designer/muse dyads – that of Hubert de Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn, who were acquainted with each other in 1954 on the set of the Billy Wilder film, Sabrina. A mutual success for both parties, the pairing propelled the brand and actress alike towards powerhouse status, one recognised as the quintessence of feminine and elegant style, the other transformed into an international icon.
That was only the beginning. The alliance between designer and muse has persisted fixedly: Joni Mitchell and Yves Saint Laurent, Madonna and Jean Paul Gaultier, and, more recently, Sofia Coppola and Marc Jacobs, Lady Gaga and Donatella Versace. In the following pages, L’Officiel Singapore celebrates its ninth anniversary with nine of the most exciting and current designer/muse pairings.
The muses have arrived.
Former creative director Hedi Slimane’s muses are one of a kind. They love music, know a good party and are virtually inseparable (think Julia Cumming, Lida Fox and Grace Hartzel, who have gone from being fresh faces to superstar models). This Spring/Summer ’16, the designer’s cool-girl squad enlists new names Amelia Rose Akerhielm and Staz Lindes, who share their It list exclusively with L’Officiel Singapore.
Amelia Rose Akerhielm
Favorite music band
Your meeting with Hedi Slimane in three words
“‘Word bank insufficient’!”
Your favourite book
“Diary by Chuck Palahniuk, or maybe Brave New World, or The Archaic Revival by Terence McKenna. My favourites change every day.”
Your favorite number
Your favorite artists
“Mark Ryden, Lori Early, Alex Gross and Matt Dangler.”
How did you get discovered?
“I was scouted by Mary and Jeff Clarke of Mother Model Management while photographing matching groups of blonde girls and women in neon pink.”
Was the Saint Laurent Spring/Summer ’16 show your first one? How was it?
“Yes, and it was an amazing experience. Though my flight was delayed and I hadn’t slept for a day, arriving in Paris and being at the Grand Palais seemed like a dream.”
Are there any models in the industry you look up to?
“Dita Von Teese – she’s lovely.”
What are your plans for the future?
“I have many vague plans but nothing definite; the future is blurry but colors leak through. I’d like to further my art career and do more live painting, learn to animate, act, write music, refine my poetry and own a chameleon.”
Describe your personal style
“Eclectic. I don’t value pieces based on their age or price, but for their history and the feelings they evoke.”
Favorite music band
“Best of Doo-Wop Compilations.”
Your meeting with Hedi Slimane in three words
“‘Surprising’, ‘easy’, ‘100 degrees’.”
Your favorite book
“The Life and Times of Little Richard: The Authorised Biography.”
Your favorite number
Your favorite artist
How did you get discovered?
“My band, The Paranoyds, was playing at the opening of a show for my brother.”
Was the Saint Laurent Spring/Summer ’16 show your first one? How was it?
“Yes. It was very surreal and exciting. I felt so lucky.”
Are there any models in the industry you look up to?
“Lily McMenamy, Lili Sumner and Georgia Pratt – they do their own thing and stay true to who they are.”
What are your plans for the future?
“Having fun, whether with travel or settling down on a big ranch with all the animal friends I could dream of.”
Describe your personal style
“It depends what kind of a day it is, but I’m either very feminine or very boyish. Sometimes mature, but mostly adolescent.”
Muse: Karen Elson
Alessandro Michele might not have specified his official muse, but if we had to put money on it, we’d say it’s model-musician Karen Elson. One of Michele’s ardent supporters, the 37-year-old has been present at all the creative director’s shows since his Cruise ’16 presentation in New York, and was even the star performer at the after-show party. If that isn’t proof enough that the flame-haired beauty is Gucci’s muse, how about this laudation from Michele himself: “Above and beyond being a model, Karen is a woman with an outstanding character and a strong personality… the personification of what beauty means to me.”
Muse: Léa Seydoux
Talk about playing with the big boys. The 30-year-old Parisienne, who has been hailed as “Bardot meets Binoche”, has worked alongside Quentin Tarantino (Inglorious Basterds), Ridley Scott (Robin Hood), Woody Allen (Midnight In Paris), Tom Cruise (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol), Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel), and Sam Mendes (Spectre). Why wouldn’t a brand that always aims for the finest quality choose a muse of an equally exquisite calibre? “I feel extremely proud at the thought of representing such a strong symbol of French elegance, an iconic brand whose initials are known the world over,” Seydoux has said. “I deeply admire Nicolas Ghesquière’s work, especially his modernity and his incessant search for novelty.”
Muse: Kristen Stewart
Call it a stroke of pure serendipity – Kristen first met Karl Lagerfeld in January 2012 during a photo shoot in Paris, during which she was decked out in Chanel Haute Couture. Soon after, in 2013, the star of Panic Room, the Twilight saga, and On The Road became the face of the Métiers d’art Paris-Dallas 2013/14 collection. Last year, the 25-year-old Certain Women actress was part of Chanel’s “3 girls, 3 bags” handbag campaign, shot by Lagerfeld himself. “It always felt like a privilege to wear Chanel and to be around Karl who is an artist that, for me, constantly inspires,” Stewart has said.
Muse: May & Ruth Bell
Cara Delevingne, James May, Edie Campbell, Tom Odell – just some of the names that have inspired Christopher Bailey. This season, the spotlight falls on twins May and Ruth Bell. “Shooting our first Burberry campaign was surreal – you don’t ever really think that you’re going to do something like that,” they’ve said. “You wish you will one day, because when you think of who has been in Burberry campaigns in the past, they’re just on a different level!”
Diane von Furstenberg
Muse: Karlie Kloss
“Karlie was a perfect choice to represent – and celebrate – the multifaceted nature of today’s woman,” says Diane von Furstenberg. “She is a supermodel, she is an entrepreneur, she gives back, she is a student, she is close to her family. She’s passionate, constantly improving herself, fearless. She knows who she is and is never afraid to show it. She is the woman she wants to be. Together, we invite all women to find this spirit and confidence in themselves.”
Muse: Antonine Peduzzi, Chelsea Tyler, Chloe Norgaard, Cora Corre, Giulia and Camilla Venturini, Julia Restoin Roitfeld, Langley Fox Hemingway, Lizzy Jagger, Louisa Gummer, Mae Lapres, Polly Morgan, Quentin Jones, Sonia Sieff, and Tea Falco
When the muses speak, one listens. In the case of Tod’s, the brand has taken heed of 15 of them – all strong personalities from the fields of music, art, film, fashion and photography. Collectively dubbed Tod’s Band, the ensemble includes fashion’s newest darlings, twin sisters and artists Giulia and Camilla Venturini, as well as Chinese-Canadian model Mae Lapres, illustrator Langley Fox Hemingway (great-granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway), and celebrity offspring Louisa Gummer and Lizzy Jagger (daughters of Meryl Streep and Mick Jagger, respectiviely).
Muse: Jordan Dunn
Crowned Model of the Year at London’s British Fashion Awards last November, the 25-year-old brunette leads a colorful cast of characters in Kate Spade New York’s Spring 2016 campaign. Says Deborah Lloyd, the brand’s president and Chief Creative Officer, “Similar to our customer, Jourdan is a woman who wears many hats, as a model, mother, philanthropist and chef. She embodies the spirit of the ‘Kate Spade New York girl’ perfectly, and we’re excited to share this spirit through our spring 2016 campaign and collection.”
Muse: Cate Blanchett
How does one turn a fragrance advertisement into an impassioned short film worthy of an Oscar? Have two-time Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett as a source of inspiration – and the star – of course. Always a vision on the red carpet, the 46-year-old Australian is the face of Si, Giorgio Armani’s eau de toilette fragrance. “Working with Cate Blanchett, on and off the screen, has always been a highlight for me,” Giorgio Armani has said. We couldn’t agree more.
Text by Justin Cheong & Kenny Loh
This story first appeared in L’Officiel Singapore.
A sense of purpose plays a crucial role in helping an outsider settle into a foreign environment. Think of a youngster, a second generation South Korean living in London, modeling for British luxury house Burberry. It was obviously designed, at least in part, to be scorned by your average fashion devotee. Yves Saint Laurent who once quantified that “a good model can advance fashion by ten years.” That same sort of dynamic applies in the case of Sang Woo Kim, where fashion works like a frivolous panacea for the well-being of creative types.
The observant are likewise mindful that Diesel’s recent Spring/Summer campaign doesn’t just feature a pursed-lips Joe Jonas and model Trevor Signorino. It also stars the South Korea-born Sang, who has become an unconventional poster boy for forward-thinking labels, thanks to his unique Asian features.
A better question: why are labels like Kenzo, DKNY, Vivienne Westwood and Dolce & Gabbana giving shine to an outlier like Sang? The hip factor of how progenies of the Asian diaspora have integrated themselves has clearly leveled the playing field.
Growing up in London after his parents emigrated when he was still a toddler, Sang’s career began on the front-lines: he joined Prada as a public relations intern in South Korea. Working in this position quickly dispelled any idealized notion of glitz and glamour. He realized that to make it in the industry involved lots of hard work, and a commitment to professionalism on a daily basis.
It also got him noticed. Evidently, the 22-year-old doesn’t look like the typical runway model, even by Asian standards. Yes, he’s tall and lanky. And his lack of muscle definition renders him the perfect muse to self-classified avant garde designers. But his resting expression is that of a perpetual annoyance that looks like the physical manifestation of a fisheye app replete with caricature-like single-eyelids and impossibly defined cheekbones.
Here is a pensive young man with slicked back hair who spends balmy days studying at Central Saint Martins (CSM). He excelled at painting and still considers himself, first and foremost, an artist by refusing to be pigeon-holed as a human mannequin. The Goldsmith Fine Art student channels his inner-being onto canvas using colors, giving expression to his personality. It took a while to rediscover his schoolboy skills but Sang enjoys every moment, taking advantage of his new lifestyle and contacts to showcase his other portfolio. And part of the reason he acts the way he does – the attitude, the nose ring – is to exasperate the haters. If no one is going to give you a hard time, then why bother.
“Although I’ve always been seen as ‘different’, I never felt different,” he says, gesturing emotively like he usually does, while his words are ironically laced with self-depreciating Brit charm. It is equal parts nature-versus-nurture, and equal parts millennial self-assuredness. Indeed, he has a distinctive face, to say the least, and it was an X Factor that got him one a foot into the door of London’s Select Model Management. “I have to thank my parents for the way I look,” he jokes, mentioning that his father returned to South Korea when Sang was a teenager due to work commitments.
There are some who are unconvinced, and he shrugs off the occasional racism on what is now his home turf of Hampton as something that comes with the territory. And he feels it’s kind of the point. “The best thing about being at university was that students would mingle freely and converse without any preconceived prejudice,” he explains. “We had absolute freedom to express ourselves creatively.”
When he travels, you can add cross-culture cacophony, considerable jet-lag, and advanced dehydration to the formula. As he moves from one “adventure” (a word that he uses often) to another, he gets caught up in the flow of meeting new people and new experiences.
Evidently, where others would quail with apprehension or throw up their hands in despair when segregated as a minority, Sang sees the challenges as good opportunities to learn and grow, and to emerge a self-actualized individual who isn’t about to be blatantly demographed and rejected as a matter of principle.
What prompted your start in modelling?
I studied at Central Saint Martins (CSM) and many of the fashion students were friends who asked if I could be a model for their projects and assignments. Normally, they’ll buy me coffee or lunch as ‘repayment’, which I gleefully accepted! This became a regular occurrence and a friend of mine, who was a photographer, urged me to walk into a modeling agency. Everything else happened quite naturally right after.
You have very unique facial features? Do you think they will affect your career in fashion in the long run?
I’ve lived in London since I was six months old when my parents migrated to London from South Korea. Naturally, I was an ethnic minority and looked different to most of my friends and peers, but college was a creative hub where people strived to be different. I do not know what the future holds, but there were never any expectations of what I needed to achieve at such a young age. Hence, my only concern is living in the present. This is the very same mindset when I got my start and it has served me well.
Growing up in London, did it help with being connected to the scene?
Being able to converse and maintain relationships with right people has been important. It wasn’t done intentionally because the individuals that I’ve maintained relationships with are my genuinely friends, regardless of whether they are in the fashion industry or not. The only advice for any aspiring model is just to be true to yourself. Also, treat people with respect and do not take anything for granted. Every opportunity is a blessing in disguise. It’s the experience and journey that matters.
How did your love of painting come about?
To be honest, I’ve loved painting ever since I can remember. It’s always been a part of my life so I cannot imagine living without it. Modeling is hardly my lifelong goal as I’ve always wanted to be an artist who thrives in difference disciplines such as drawing and photography. I’m just luckily that fashion modeling came about without me having to think about it. The fact that it blew up into something bigger than I can ever imagine is a plus. The challenge in the future is to achieve similar success as an artist, which will be challenging and exciting in equal measures.
Art and fashion seems to influence one another, if you have the option work on a project combining the both, what would it be?
I would love to work and collaborate with my university mates. It is so refreshing and exciting to see them branching into the industry and working in the same field in different capacities. I would love to create an ecosystem for all of us to be able to work and collaborate constantly on different projects.
You are one of the most recognizable faces in the fashion world. Was it hard getting to where you are? Is there pressure to keep evolving?
I like to believe that I don’t view myself as how the ‘fashion world’ sees me. For sure, I am very fortunate and appreciate of the blessings and opportunities that came my way. Have I actually accomplished anything? It’s debatable. There are clearly more important things in life than what I’m doing. It gets difficult when people see you differently. I guess that has always been the struggle because when your physical identity is constantly on display, yet the voyeurs don’t actually know you, there will be preconceptions of what you’re like as a person. I don’t feel any unhappiness as a result of this, simply because they have no right to judge me. I don’t need to conform to what society tells me to do. I’ll be perfectly contented if it all ends tomorrow as I’ll be on the lookout for my next adventure.
The shelf life for a model is relatively short, have you considered what you want to do after?
I feel that there will not be an ‘after’. The modeling happened incidentally while I was living life the only way I knew how. As I said, it’s about what happens now and not dwelling on the past or overthinking about the future. The present is literally a gift. It’s the only time when I know that I’m alive in this world, and that’s important to me.
What does your family think of your prissier vocation?
They are happy that I am living the life that I wanted. I don’t really know (or want to know) what they actually think of my job per se. As long as they are happy and they know that I’m happy, that’s all that counts. I would say they are ‘proud’ of the fact that I’m earning my keep in this manner, because I look just like them [laughs].
Text by Jason Kwong
Photography by Nil Hoppenot/Silver Lake Photography
Styling by Steven Doan/Wilhelmina One
Fashion Direction by Titien Wang
This article was originally published in Men’s Folio