We've been fans of the Bijules designer's eclectic vision for a while, so we caught up with her on the eve of the duo's Saks meeting to discuss their foray into swimwear. The twenty-style line is divided into three categories, she says: Tux, which includes formalwear elements ("the 4 a.m. post-gala look"); Boudoir, inspired by lingerie and apartment furnishings ("curtain drapings, wallpaper designs"); and Design, which was influenced by New York architecture ("exposed brick, demolished buildings, and scaffolding"). Read on for Kim's take on the "Victoria's Secret conundrum," her friendship with Martone, and the pair's future plans for the Nycked brand.
How did you get involved with Lorenzo?
I launched a four-piece lingerie collection for fall/winter 2009, and Lorenzo was like, Holy shit, that’s really cute. From there, he wanted to create a swimwear line. He called me on a Saturday and said, "Hi, this is Lorenzo, I have a project to discuss." We met the following Sunday and he gave me this great little presentation. He's just a passionate person and a sweetheart to the core. We shared an instant camaraderie.
Were you at all apprehensive about collaborating?
I told him, "Just to let you know, Bijules will always be Bijules — that shit will never be left in the dust."
Well, Lorenzo's Brazilian, so he was raised in swimwear, like a little baby in a thong. But we also felt that swimwear has become so formulaic. We wanted to do a fashion-based, lifestyle swimwear brand.
What's lifestyle swimwear?
We don't necessarily have beaches in Manhattan, so we create the beach experience on a rooftop or on the West Side highway. We're New Yorkers: Whenever we're outside, hanging with friends, and wearing barely anything, that's what we call our beach.
Why all the black-and-white looks?
We wanted to accentuate the frilliness of being a woman without having all the crazy florals and pink. We're trying to create the antithesis of the Victoria's Secret conundrum. I go out of my way to avoid looking like that; I'd buy two pieces and f*ck them up because I don't want to look like everyone else.
Where do you expect people will wear the designs?
You can wear it to a day appointment or on a date, all these different places. We made this cover-up that's like an asymmetrical cape: part solid, part mesh. You can cover up your booty but expose your boobs. I spiced it up with jewelry and wore it to a party the other night.
Will your collaboration with Lorenzo extend beyond swimwear?
Our goal is to develop a lifestyle brand that can live and breathe and change and adapt.
Was Marc Jacobs involved at all?
He hasn't been involved. Marc is a living legend and an iconic person, but we want to be successful independently. We don't want to surf anyone else's waves. The fact that we have someone as respected as Marc in our circle is amazing, but we're not banking on that.
Really, though: Can you swim in these suits?
Totally. We thought about real-life applications. One of the suits has sequins, but it's a heat transfer; if you're swimming and your arms scratch against sequins, it'll be like a shark in bloody water. You don't want your butt to be stuck to the deck chair when you stand up, or to have two wet boob marks on the front of your cover-up — not cute. Our designs are very well thought out.