ZuZu Kim designer Christina Kim x Vinyl Mag

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The Oscars this year brought in 36.6 million viewers, most of whom had pre-formed opinions or at least biased favoritism about who should win in each category.  And if, like me, you felt a twinge of disappointment for lady spirit animal Emma Stone (we’re basically besties at this point), fret not. The non-winning nominees received a more than adequate consolation prize in the form of an “Everyone Wins at the Oscars Nominee Gift Bag,” this year individually valued at over $125,000 worth of new, innovative and intriguing high-end products.

New York based fashion brand ZuZu Kim was invited to participate in this year’s gift bag by including its designer bow ties from its recently launched collection for both men and women.

We grabbed a few minutes with ZuZu Kim designer and founder Christina Kim to talk about the bow ties and her involvement in the Oscars gift bag.

Vinyl Mag: How did it come about that you were invited to include your bow ties in the 2015 Oscar Nominee Gift Bag?

CK: We had just partnered with an LA-based entertainment event, and soon after that received a call from Distinctive Assets about the ZuZu Kim bow ties for the 2015 Oscars Nominee Gift Bags. Instinctively, I thought that the bow ties would be a perfect match with the Oscars.

VM: Were all of the bow ties you provided different? Did you personally design each bow tie?

CK: Yes, I personally design them and select the materials. I may go through about a hundred fabrics before selecting one that grabs me. It’s a very inspiring and intense process requiring tremendous amount of imagination and experimentation. I love every step. The bow ties were very carefully thought out for each nominee, and also designed some new ones that haven’t been displayed anywhere yet.


VM: Knowing who all of the nominees were ahead of time, did you design any bow ties with anyone specific in mind?

CK: Yes. I researched each of their backgrounds in detail to understand them more intimately. The nominees are all incredibly talented.

VM: What is the design and manufacture process like for an order like this?

CK: It’s a tremendous process; customizing, presentation, merchandising, and executing with absolute perfection. Every single aspect is very important, which I believe is something all products or performances delivered must entail.

VM: How did you get into designing luxury bow ties?

CK: It’s been something that was a natural addition to the brand, and I wanted to do something fresh and different. When I designed a few for experimentation, the feedback was overwhelming. I get obsessed with every single detail, symmetry of motif, and realized how complicated the construction can be, as they are totally uncommon in structure inside out from the traditional bow tie. They require a significant amount of handwork, and some designs take up to two hours to create. The steps each of the bow ties take seem to be more complicated than clothing in a way, somewhat like a science. I might as well start wearing a lab coat, and actually just ordered a few! It’s become a sculptural canvas to me, as the dress form is for clothing. The bow ties have gotten a lot of attention for which I’m grateful.

VM: The bow ties were provided for both men and women nominees – how do [they differ]?

CK: For women, there are double clips on the back, which can be clipped on just about anything – on a top, shirt, a hat. There’s also an adjustable and detachable chain necklace that matches the style, color, and feel of each bow. They can wear it as a traditional bow tie at the neck, or as a necklace in any length they desire.

For men, they come with a bow tie clip, as well as an adjustable and detachable strap. I know that there’s a faction of bow tie aficionados who feel that they need to tie their own, but with these extraordinary fabrics which are mostly of European origin, as we as all the special adornments, make self-tying impossible. They already come perfectly symmetrical, sculpted, and tied, looking perfect every time one wears them.

VM: I read that music is the driving force behind the brand. Can you expand on that? Musically, what inspires your designs?

CK: I was contemplating with the idea for some time. The brand developed from music, by my not being able to find dresses for classical piano performances. As bow ties are a universal symbol of music among other things, it was a natural addition to the collections. It reaches all genres of music, and I think of a classical performer or a rock star or a piece of music while I design them. I also love tuxedos, formal or casual, which is another symbol of music. The concept of the tuxedo has transformed in many ways throughout the years, and I always like to ‘twist’ tradition in subtle ways as I do for the bow ties.

VM: Did you watch the Oscars? What were some of your favorite looks from the night?

CK: It was a very exciting show, and I felt more intimately involved. They all looked so stunning! To name a few, I loved Marion Cotillard’s demure sophistication; Lupita Nyong’s poise and elegance; Julianne Moore, the eternal goddess; Reese Witherspoon’s super sleek black and white; and Rosamund Pike’s pure red hourglass. For men, all nominees had such gorgeous tuxedos on. The ones that stood out more for me were David Oyelowo, and his monochromatic bordeaux ensemble; and Neil Patrick Harris’ perfectly tailored suits.

VM: What is next for you? Any other big projects?

CK: Yes, there is something very interesting related to technology and fashion. I cannot disclose it at the moment, so let’s continue that when it’s released!

Emily is an over-enthusiastic lover of music, books, movies, fashion, and culture in general. Her love of music spans across all genres (what is a genre anymore? she waxes poetic to herself), though she was nursed on true punk and will never understand “redneck country” music – tractors are not and cannot be sexy. Emily currently lives in Brooklyn, NY and considers herself to be a great wit, though she is still waiting on validation from a credible source.

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