Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together” blasted from the speakers as the runway was finally cleared of photographers fulfilling their content quota for the day. Now stuffed into their seats, showgoers started to sing along, iPhones held high in the air. The sudden sounds of a record being scratched broke the veiled nostalgia and was replaced by bass, bass, bass and a digitized voice that whispered, “Kim Shui, Kim Shui.” On cue, the first model appeared in a tangerine-colored snakeskin/floral brocade jacket and started to strut.
Kim Shui is a name worthy enough of such an interruption—sorry Mariah. Her collections have defined their own sense of equilibrium, teetering on the edge of the outlandish while never straying far from the gravity of boldness. As an individual, Shui has found freedom through design—the kind that manifests through honesty as she presents the self she so desires, to the world.
Her Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear collection doesn’t stray from this ethos as she seeks to explore the boundaries of risqué in fashion by giving women the choice to be sexy. Sexy, in the age of social media, can often feel forced and disingenuous. We see it all the time—scrolling through our Instagram feeds we double-tap on vacation photos, seductive selfies, and so-and-so’s outfit that looks more FashionNova than fashion. Sexy becomes validation when it should be about taking ownership of one’s individuality. And this season, Shui is serving just that.
As tie-dyed silk qipaos, slinky and slitted skirts paired with off-the-shoulder taffeta blouses, and healthy amounts of faux-fur made their way into the photo libraries and hearts of onlookers, we saw a collection that was distinctly Kim Shui. Her aesthetic never shies away from making a statement with intensely hued garments and boisterous styling, and this was no exception. Each model had a blonde bob woven into their own natural hair so that half of their head was made uniform and the other was left natural. In doing so, the dichotomy between homogeneity and individuality became blatantly apparent. While women are often made to feel that they must conform to societal standards to be considered attractive (and thus validated), it’s refreshing to see Shui choosing herself first.
If clothing is an outward expression of the wearer, to wear Kim Shui is to be adorned in fearlessness—and that is the definition sexy.