This weekend, St-Germain is hosting its annual Salon Gt-Germain with a pop-up floral shop named Fleuriste St-Germain at 25 Howard Street in New York City. Hosted in collaboration with the fashion designer Laura Kim and the dancer James Whiteside, tonight’s invite-only kick-off event will welcome special guests to a grandeur presentation of floral installations, specialty cocktails, and hourly dance performances with choreography by Whiteside and costumes by Kim.
Kim, the co-creative director of Oscar de la Renta and MONSE created an imaginative costume for her friend Whiteside—a principal dancer in the American Ballet Theater—that reflected the event’s mission: to spark joy, creativity, and reconnection. At the event, guests are encouraged to explore a dreamscape of hybrid florals, enjoy live entertainment, and sip cocktails that the duo dreamed up based on their favorite flavors.
In celebration of the event, Whitewall spoke with Kim about creating a new ensemble for James and a spritzer for the occasion, and how she’s approaching responsible fashion in response to epiphanies amid the pandemic.
WHITEWALL: Why was Fleuriste St-Germain a project you wanted to pursue?
LAURA KIM: I was thrilled when the brand approached me for the inaugural Fleuriste St-Germain, this will be an exciting platform to initiate a spirited dialogue around the future of the arts and design with a like-minded community. St-Germain has always been a staple bottle on my bar cart because I love how it can elevate and work in tandem with so many different ingredients.
And Fleuriste St-Germain will be just the same with the coming together of artists, performers, mixologists, and New Yorkers alike all in harmony for this experience. It’s been so invigorating to collaborate with James and the brand on the pop-up, as it marks an opportunity to think about the future for our creative industries.
WW: Can you describe your creative process behind creating James’ costume? What did you want his costume to embody?
LK: James had explained to me that he wanted his dance to reflect the life of an elderflower inspired by the French liqueur, so I wanted to embody that life in the costume, encapsulating that while looking modern.
I was inspired by the mission of Fleuriste St-Germain to spark joy, creativity, and reconnection, which James is exploring through his dance performance and so the costume needed to reflect this also. I love James’ work as a professional dancer and wanted to have his own taste, and the taste of St-Germain reflected in the outfit.
WW: Fleuriste St-Germain is aimed to spark inspiration and joy. How did that happen for you?
LK: I am very excited to work with James and the St-Germain team. I love creative collaborations. More than anything we are excited to bring people together again in a safe and fun way. We hope we can add a dash of inspiration and creativity to a summer weekend for everyone and re-establish community during this time. On arrival, guests will be greeted with a floral wonderland, full of specialty cocktails and wonderful conversation. They will also be treated to special performances curated by James and I on the dance and costume design side. I’m sure this will leave me very inspired, and I will learn a lot from this experience.
WW: For the event, you created the Rosé Spritz. Can you describe what that tastes like?
LK: It is an aromatic spritzer inspired by my heritage and favorite flavors. I’ve paired elderflower liqueur with sparkling yuzu and strawberry-infused rosé wine, which reflects the strawberry milk beverages served in Korean cafes during summer that I love. The cherry blossom ice cubes also pay homage to pressed embroidery elements in Oscar de la Renta’s Fall/Winter 2021 collection.
I also enjoy adding a dash of St-Germain to elevate all kinds of cocktails—in champagne cocktails or adding a floral twist to a margarita, or a classic St-Germain Spritz, which is an incredibly easy (yet still chic) cocktail with only three ingredients: sparkling wine, sparkling water, and St-Germain elderflower liqueur.
WW: You’ve been invested in the world of fashion for quite some time. How did the pandemic impact your view of the industry?
LK: I had a moment to reflect and think about my work and what I wanted it to be. Got to tune into what is happening in the world and what the need of women is today, more than ever I want our work to reflect femininity, sensuality, and confidence.
WW: What learnings are you emerging out of the pandemic that may carry into your work at Oscar de la Renta and MONSE?
LK: During the pandemic, I had a break to re-think about our work, and coming out of it I want to make sure we are working responsibly; to the world we live in, the environment, and also the people we work with. For example, the Oscar De La Renta brand DNA has always been to make clothes that are feminine and joyful. More than ever, I want that to be emphasized in our next collections, where hopefully, these pieces will be able to be worn freely and when people are traveling the world next summer.
WW: What types of changes do you hope the fashion world adopts post-pandemic?
LK: Post-pandemic, I think both designs and retailers need to work together towards producing less and making each collection and piece more special, which will lead to fewer products and less waste. We need to treat the space we occupy with respect.
WW: After a year of uncertainty, where are you gaining solace, certainty, or inspiration?
LK: Over the last year and a half, I was able to spend quality time with friends in New York, and through that time spent with a core group of friends I have become more confident in what I do and what I stand for. I feel I am in a place where I can pursue my goals and will have the support I need.
WW: What’s next for you?
LK: I want to begin approaching my work and time towards what is valuable to me and moving forward to always make sure that I am learning something new and contributing something to the future instead of repeating old patterns and schedules.