As the chrysanthemum leaves unfurled, they seemed revitalized by the hot water. Watching this ceremony in a straight-sided teacup was my own Zen moment, on the top floor of Seoul’s Shilla Hotel, awaiting the one-and-only Suzy Menkes.
We were meeting to brainstorm the Condé Nast Luxury Conference. The theme is ‘Future Luxury’ — and after visiting this inspirational city, I can’t think of a better place to have picked.
Suzy never tells the artist ‘how’ to do it. She inspires, with precious notes about things she’s been touched by.
You can read so much between the lines, following the threads of her stories. It’s a special honour to have worked for six years in a row with this brilliant, tireless and eternally inquisitive lady.
For the first time in the conference’s history, I convinced Suzy that as well as the classical artwork and moodfilm, we should also create something viral. It was my idea to bring her 2D icon to life in a 3D world.
We’d characterize Suzy through her avatar. Capturing her curiosity, her unquenchable thirst for what’s next.
Bursting with ideas, I began my Korean adventure, camera and sketchpad in hand. From the ancient world of the Gyeongbokgung King’s Palace, to Seoul’s ‘hello future’ landmark, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, I was searching for Suzy’s character’s point-of-view. I even found myself rolling on the floor, in search of the perfect perspective for ‘digital Suzy’ to pursue her full curiosity.
And all along, soaking up the atmosphere of this organised yet impulsive city. Fashion designer Jin Teok’s macro-eye-for-detail stole my heart at an exhibition of layered embroidery. Thousands of faces at Fashion Week conjured high-end brands and unique style icons. And the Gangnam megabrand’s flagship stores brought selfie-ing students on a pilgrimage, their colourful Hanbok dresses closing the gap between past and future.
After work, locals relaxed in the park with calligraphy and meditation. At museums, I saw art from all over the world.
The train station transformed into a gallery market and back again, while endless fields of LED flowers bathed the DDP building against a fluorescent-lit skyline. The forms of the city seemed endless.
Speeding through the super-clean subway, free high-speed internet at all times, I recorded the sounds of the street and captured so many impressions. Together with my wonderful team, we captured the spirit of luxury in the future. Crafting a campaign for the conference which I’d dare to call digital haute couture.
Thank you, Suzy.