While I cannot specifically recollect the first time that I met the captivating Lily Kwong, I do distinctly recall being instantly entranced by her exquisite beauty, sincere charm and quick wit upon our first fully fledged conversation at an event toasting Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough at Norwood. A modern-day muse in her own right, the Elite model, Columbia University student and Vogue-anointed “It Girl” has already worked for the likes of Christian Dior, GQ and Proenza Schouler and assisted her cousin Joseph Altuzarra throughout the launch his much-lauded and altogether stunning debut collection.
I recently caught up with Lily over coffee in New York…
How has your own sense of style been influenced by your close personal relationships with contemporary tastemakers –– namely Garance Doré, your cousin Joseph Altuzarra, and the behind-the-scenes folks at Proenza Schouler (CEO Shirley Cook and Account Executive Constance Ragons)?
Well, I think these individuals are really artists. The depth and breadth of their references are so remarkable. To be honest, fashion didn’t really interest me until these people taught me that above all, style has to be inspired. Whatever it is — film, architecture, travel, history — own it. That’s when fashion becomes fun. Joseph used to say to me, “sophistication through negligence.” I always remembered that. I know it sounds paradoxical… but these fashion forces informed my personal style the most by showing me that being stylish means to be both passionate and curious. In the end, it all comes out in the wash anyway!
Where has been the most exhilarating photoshoot location where you have ever been shot to date?
Exhilarating? That’s a tough question. I started modeling the first time around at 18, and I was very distracted. A weekend at the beach in Long Island comes to mind, and once I did an incredible shoot on the outskirts of Paris. I’m not certain if that qualifies as exhilarating but I met some extraordinary people that day, which is always the greatest thing for me. It is only recently that I have gotten back into modeling, and my experience with Elite thus far has been fantastic. I have a good feeling that there will be many exhilarating photoshoots in my future!
Which collections are you most heartily anticipating this season?
Céline, McQueen, and Altuzarra of course!