Photography: Julia Chesky
It’s hard to keep momentum for a lot of designers—but it’s especially hard to maintain buzz after showing at VFILES. That’s why so many designers send the same thing down the runway every season. Why fix it if it ain’t broke? Because it gets really boring. Though, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep doing what you’re good at. Take for example, Kim Shui, the New York-based designer and VFILES alum who makes insane mixed-fabric coats that are pretty close to perfect. This season, she continued with those coats, but she also presented a range of elevated womenswear that showcased her expert eye for mixing prints and fabrics. Shui is a prime example of a brand that didn’t burn out after VFILES by doing the same thing over and over. Instead, she perfected what she already did well, and mixed up the rest, resulting in a collection that felt both effortless and fashion forward. I’m the kind of person who’d be happier in jeans and a leather jacket all year ’round, but Shui’s juxtaposition of traditionally fall colors and prints with spring silhouettes, made me want to buy a pair of sandals.
View the Kim Shui S/S ’18 collection above, and read our interview with the designer.
Tell me about the collection.
For Spring/Summer ‘18, I really wanted to look at how individual identity was expressed through improvisation and explore this element of chance. So a lot of these pieces can’t be wrapped around the same way twice—each time you wrap it, it’s different, and it grows with the person. It’s also very much about the threshold between what is silent and what is loud. What’s something that’s more than quiet and what’s something that’s more than excessive? That’s a lot of what I was exploring with this collection, because I was using more raw materials, like linens, and also more conservative ones, like plaid, but putting them in a different context.
What was on your moodboard this season?
I was looking at a lot of Jackie Nickerson’s terrain photographs—that was one of the main inspirations—and also just a couple of excessive, glamorous photos I found. So it was all about combining the two.
How does this collection compare to last season?
This works a lot more on exploring boundaries. Before, I’d been using a lot of very tailored garments. But this time, it’s a little bit more free.
Describe Kim Shui in three words.
I’d say fun, colorful and esoteric.
Who’s the Kim Shui woman this season?
She’s definitely not afraid to take risks—she’s pretty bold, and she’s not afraid to put herself out there.