PARIS — Once the youngest member of Nicolas Ghesquière’s studio at Balenciaga, Kiminte Kimhekim has definitely grown up. “I was very shy,” remembers the South Korean designer about his two years spent at the brand, which he joined after graduating from the Studio Berçot in 2009. “But I loved going to the atelier building to see the artisans work on their masterpieces, and I was fascinated by Cristobal Balenciaga’s archives.”
Kimhekim created his own label in 2014, spelled “Kimhekim,” and is showing on the official Paris Fashion Week schedule for the first time this season. A descendant of South Korea’s royal family, the designer first came into contact with clothes through his grandmother, who taught him to make traditional Korean garments. “It was like a game between us,” Kimhekim said. “I still use the colors and fabrics from those nostalgic memories.”
These traditional silhouettes are re-created in organza for a contemporary princess feel, crafted in the brand’s studio in Seoul. Modern tailoring is enhanced by draping and oversize pearls are used as fastenings on jackets and high-waisted skirts.
Most of the designer’s collections are inspired by botanics: “I love the lifespan of a flower as I think it’s a symbol of human life,” he said. “Plants sprout, bloom and fade, which is very similar to our own life. But they are also inspiring as they are beautiful even as they become lifeless.”
The brand has more than 40 stockists worldwide, including Lane Crawford, Harvey Nichols and Farfetch, and will present its fall 2019 collection on March 1.