The Label: ZuZu Kim
Based In: New York City
Designed By: Christina "Zuzu" Kim, a self-taught classical pianist-turned-designer whose work is inspired by her passion for music. "The original idea came from designing dresses for my own piano performances and evolved into creating the ZuZu Kim brand," the designer said of her spring 2012 launch, dubbed "Concerto," which recast traditional musician's stage attire into ready-to-wear. "Fashion and music are so synonymous I don't think we can imagine one without the other." Kim, the well-traveled daughter of the former South Korean Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, studied fashion design and fiber at the School of Art Institute in Chicago and was head designer at Mary McFadden before stepping out on her own. The ZuZu Kim collection is aimed at a woman who is "fierce, independent, passionate and has a sense of humor," Kim tells TFI's Lauren David Peden. "She speaks to others without the need to speak—her inner joy and confidence speaks for her." That's certainly true of ZuZu Kim fan Olivia Culpo (aka, Miss Universe 2012, who also happens to be a talented cellist).
Looks Like: Sophisticated and classic with a slight edge. Fall 2012 was inspired by the second movement of the designer's favorite Mozart piano concerto—No.20 in D minor, "Romanzo"—and resulted in elegant tuxedo blouses, hooded ponchos and conductor jackets offset with lyrical scallop and lace details. The spring 2013 collection, "Coloratura" was inspired by a bright, saturated, feminine color palette and complex yet seemingly simple techniques, as can be seen in the half-sleeve tuxedo, graphic print separates and pretty asymmetrical dresses. Kim, who still studies piano repertoire at Juilliard weekly, recently partnered with VH1 Save the Music—the non-profit organization whose mission is to restore instrumental education programs in schools nationwide—to co-sponsor her upcoming New York Fashion Week presentation.
Sold At: The collection is available by special order online at ZuZu Kim.
graphic design by K Sarna