On the cover and this page:
The grit, the grace, and the inexhaustible romanticism in the universe of Miss Jones
Dress, Alice McCall, LCP, 10th Ave. cor. 39th St., BGC.
Photography Joseph Pascual Styling Kim Jones and Ria Prieto Creative direction Nimu Muallam Makeup Mayesa delos Santos Hair Jan Edrosolan
This page: Baccarat Rouge 540, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, Rustan's Shangri-La and Adora
In the middle of the dizzying blitz of Paris in March of this year, where Dries Van Noten’s raccoon-eyed army stalked the runways while a hound of street style photographers documented the equally fantastic fashion furor happening outside, Kim Jones was on her phone, The Sartorialist’s Scott Schumann shooting her close by.
“It was crazy to see everything!” she says of that moment, partly in awe, partly genuinely weirded out. “It kind of scared me a bit. I just stayed looking at my phone, I didn’t know what to do. I sort of just reintroduced myself to him [after] and said hello.”
After viewing, shooting, and writing about the futuristic, sci-fi-inspired Louis Vuitton collection and the Kym Ellery assemblage that re-invents the 19th century corset, Jones returned to Paris again last month to document the new season’s most fashionable and freakish. “I have an upcoming trip to Italy by the end of next month,” she adds. “This season right now is really more in preparation for fashion month, when I’ll be going to all four fashion weeks.”
Jones is obviously everywhere. The United Kingdom-born, Australian-bred all-around creative based in the Philippines has been producing digital fashion content for
Miss Jones in Australia, San Francisco, and parts of Europe, at the same time collaborating with longstanding powerhouses like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Net-A-Porter.
Of course, her days weren’t this frenzied when she first arrived in Manila at 22. “I was actually living not far from here, in Pasong Tamo,” she says. “When I came here, I didn’t know anybody, not a single soul. I just had distant relatives in Davao!”
Her website then was also pretty much unknown. Now one of the most visited in Asia (which led a local magazine to call her one of the most influential Filipinos online), the site back then served only as a kind of moodboard. “I started my website even before I’d gotten on TV. But it was very anonymous,” she says. It featured everything from photography and music to interior design and other creative miscellany. They didn’t always have something to do with fashion, but always conclusively evoked some enchanted imagination. Exhibit A: Laurent Chehere’s whimsical photographs of houses up in the eerie air.
“Working in fashion was only like a dream! [I was just] a sheltered, young girl who liked double clicking [on pictures] and saving collages and runway shots,” Jones says excitedly, with that thick accent you can’t quite easily pin down as either Australian or British.
In fact, much of Jones is just impossible to pin down. One moment, she was co-host of the 15-minute lifestyle show Etcetera: her look sufficiently pretty, her diction flawless, her presence not so powerful. The next moment, she was getting married to the golden boy of local tinsel town, gracing magazine covers here and there, buoyed in pop fantasy as the local paragon of beauty. It’s hardly an overstatement, when a mass population still vaguely obsessed with the look of fair-skinned chinitas welcomed the reign of one Miss Jones.
“There was this social media craze then and everything became so much more accessible. If you wanted to work in fashion or be a writer and stylist, you could. I took that opportunity and desire, and ran with it.”
From inspirational reposts to stylized travel photos in Australian beaches, and now, creative shots of collections from Paris fashion week, her blog has catapulted Jones into one of luxury fashion’s local muses. Investing in clothes is decidedly part of the job, she says, laughingly confessing her hopeless obsession with online shopping at Avenue 32, Moda Operandi, Matches fashion, and Farfetch (“Oh my
gulay! It is a disease. I am addicted!”), yet also her distaste of simply receiving clothes from brands and brandishing them on her site. “I prefer to buy on my own,” she says resolutely.
Opposite page: Top, Simone Rocha, www.simonerocha.com; bandeau, Coobie, www.shopcoobie.com.
“It’s more authentic, even more credible to a certain degree.”
What might have established Jones as an authority in fashion is how each look, however carefully stylized and calculated—think walking in San Francisco’s muddy forest in a long impeccable Gucci gown (“The dress was completely ruined after”)—attests to a taste that’s all her own.
In the middle of an era where runways employ maximalism to achieve some semblance of individuality, even with her enviable arsenal of designer gowns, LV heels, and Maison Margiela blazers, Jones doesn’t seem so satisfied with the picture. She favors subtlety over spectacular panache, real inspiration instead of overly chaotic layers of reinterpretation. “The fashion industry is the second biggest pollutant in the world after oil,” she says, pertaining to how season after season, the runways and the archives already have so much clutter to contend with. Dressing up has become synonymous with dressing too much.
“We’re in a season where more is more is more,” Jones complains. “There isn’t a lot that shocks us anymore. In this decade alone, we don’t have that defining look. People argue that it might be normcore. Others argue that the aesthetics of the noughties or this decade is [about] individuality and anti-establishment… I don’t know,” she says, trailing off as if contemplating on how the industry can handle a barely perceived pseudo-existential crisis.
“I would love to have been born in the ’30s. So I could be in my mid-20s in the ’50s. There’s a certain romance about that era,” she says of the decade when design ran with mad flights of the imagination, and the worlds of fashion, literature, television, music, and architecture were seemingly on the verge of a different rebirth—and likely everything would show up on her mood board. “That’s why I love traveling so much; it’s about using the beauty around you and being inspired by that.”
Heeding this call, after seasons of simply sprinting from one fashion moment to another, Jones will temporarily be settling in one of the world’s largest fashion capitals next year. “It’s really what this year is about: sowing the seeds to be able to make it easy when [my husband and I] go to New York. I think it’s important that I go there. It’s just me deciding what stories I want to take, where I want to take my brand creatively and business-wise.”
Jones is impossible to pin down. In fact, sometimes she can’t even name what she does, let alone what she’ll be doing a year from now. It’s easy to allow her the moniker of muse or traveler, albeit from a different time, culling inspiration from wherever in the world she’s in.
This page: White skirt and top, Matičevski, www.tonimaticevski.com; heels, Aquazzura, www.aquazzura.com.
Opposite page: Coat, Ellery, www.elleryland.com; skirt, Alice McCall, LCP; heels, Nicholas Kirkwood, www.nicholaskirkwood.com.
Inset: Dress, Alice McCall, LCP.