From acrylic to ceramic to flowers that clothe the slender silhouettes of his hand-drawn Susu Girls, Jae Suk Kim‘s whimsical fashion illustrations have graced some of the biggest names in fashion: Cartier, Chanel and more. To celebrate the launch of the magazine, he dreams up one of his iconic Susu Girls in an exquisite, couture-like gown inspired by Vogue Singapore’s exclusive orchid— the Vanda Vogue Singapore. While the cascading dress made out of the Vanda Vogue Singapore orchid petals is certainly a sight to behold, the subtle message behind his use of petals in different stages of its bloom carries a heartfelt wish for us, as we blossom from a seed to a flower in full bloom.
What was your thought process when you started on the artwork?
I have been using flowers as the main medium to illustrate my Susu Girls lately. When I was briefed that the main motif of Vogue Singapore was its own unique orchid, I wanted to incorporate real orchid flowers as the key element to celebrate the launch of Vogue Singapore. It depicts a couture-like dress made out of Vanda Vogue Singapore orchid, capturing the flower’s different stages of its bloom, wishing Vogue Singapore a bright blooming future.
What signature elements have you incorporated into the artwork for Vogue Singapore?
My Susu Girls of course! And a couture-like silhouette that is also a signature element of my work but also high fashion—which I think best represents Vogue.
How would you describe your artwork for Vogue Singapore in three words?
VOGUE VOGUE VOGUE!
What is one skill or habit that you have picked up during the pandemic?
Disinfecting my phones! I am with my phones 24/7 and I disinfect them with baby wipes and hand sanitisers every hour when I’m outside my house. It’s something I should always do, even when this global pandemic is over!
What is one thing that you are thankful for, even in the midst of this global pandemic?
Easy access to all health services. I’ve had a mild cold earlier this year and I got myself tested just to be safe (and not to cause harm to the ones around me, because, if I were positive, their business could have been shut for weeks!) It was a seemingly fast process and I felt safe knowing that I’ve had access to good health services which, unfortunately, isn’t the case for some people in other parts of the world. Luckily, it was just a mild cold and it made me thankful for my health and the many privileges I once took for granted.
As the world opens up, what is one thing that you are most looking forward to?
Travelling. It was one thing that I took for granted— the freedom to travel to different places, whether it was for holiday, work or to visit family and friends. When this is all over, I’m ready to travel!
Do you think art and creativity are essential today?
Yes, of course! Creativity allows us to think and express ourselves freely, especially in hard times like this.
I, too, was feeling depressed at the very early stages of the pandemic; when all my projects, travel plans, and the various other plans I had for this year were all cancelled. I didn’t want this to affect the positive energy I illustrate on my works, so I continued to illustrate. When COVID hit big in Europe and the US, I’ve received lots of messages and DMs that my work had been brightening their days during the lockdown and it was something they look forward to seeing it daily. So yes, creativity is essential, especially in rough times like today.