Fashion Runway Kim Shui's Fall 2023 Collection Is About Dressing for the Female Gaze The designer is a put-on-a-show kind of girl. By Ondine Jean-Baptiste Ondine Jean-Baptiste Instagram Twitter Website Ondine Jean-Baptiste is the Assistant Social Media Editor at InStyle. She helps the Social team craft compelling digital rollouts, snappy copy, and engaging visuals for all of InStyle's social platforms. InStyle's editorial guidelines Updated on February 16, 2023 @ 11:23AM Pin Share Tweet Email Photo: Getty Images There are two types of people in the world: the ones that entertain and the ones that observe — and Kim Shui is a put-on-a-show kind of girl. With a fall collection rife with snakeskin trenches, glamorous fur collars, and extremely short miniskirts, the Kim Shui woman commands attention wherever she goes, and she knows it, too. Designing with confidence is not a new motif for the designer, but this season's It Girls walked the runway like they know the world is theirs for the taking (as well as the freedom that comes with that mindset). Here, knowledge translates to power in the theme of Kim Shui’s AW23 collection. She took her usual celebration of the female form and cranked it up a notch, imbuing a sense of autonomy through form into her designs and sparking an intersectional dialogue on what it means to live freely. The models cascaded down winding stairs in the former bank Capitale, with Harvard student and fashion heir Aoki Lee Simmons opening the show. Christian Siriano's Fall 2023 Collection Was Inspired By a Niche Audrey Hepburn TV Show Proud mom and fashion designer Kimora Lee Simmons sat in the front row with her other daughter Ming Lee Simmons while influencer Jodie Woods and Gossip Girl actresses (Zión Moreno and Savannah Lee Smith) flanked either side. Despite the stars in the audience, the most satisfying moment of the show was arguably seeing how richly diverse Kim Shui’s model line-up was: Women of all skin tones, hair textures, body shapes, and sizes powerfully strutted down the catwalk. Getty Images The message is clear: It's no longer a man’s world — and it isn't a world dominated by immutable hegemonic structures, either. The majority of the models (37 out of 41) were women of color, a rarity among shows shown at New York Fashion Week. People on social media commented on how refreshing it was to see clothes worn and celebrated on people with “normal bodies,” i.e., not straight size. Even the venue of the show held significance. Shui shares that she chose her location because of its historic role in restricting financial freedom for women. “The reason I chose this place is because the bank is a place that historically withheld power from women,” she tells InStyle. “I wanted to reclaim that because the whole thing was about women's agency, women's freedom to express themselves, and public versus private. How are they able to move between what you can be expected to wear at home versus out in public? I feel like women are put at different standards.” Here's Why Celebrities Love PatBO's Sexy, Nostalgic Dresses With an abundance of see-through bodysuits, belts that doubled as skirts (skimming just the bottom of the buttcheeks), and provocative cutouts, this collection is undoubtedly sexy. Created by a woman for women, however, means that there was an on-point sensibility when it came to the silhouette and the material of the garments. “I wanted things to be like excess,” the designer shared. “Same with the belts. They're supposed to be crests and gates [providing access as if entering a castle].” Getty Images Shui also used techniques such as crosshatching and netting to either cover or expose the body. Vegan snakeskin and vegan fur alluded to physically protective layers found in nature, while clear snakeskin trench coats evoked a powerful and sensual image of reclamation and shedding any restrictions. Altogether, the separate pieces worked together to highlight the ways in which women’s bodies and voices have been (and continue to be) obscured and thus subvert those norms. The beauty direction, led by MAC Cosmetics, was also big, bold, and told through a woman’s perspective. There was no classic red lipstick or sultry clear gloss that you might think of when you imagine “sexy” makeup — the playful look was instead a dark magenta lip lined in purple. There’s nothing conventionally sexy about it, but then again, what’s conventional about a Kim Shui show? Getty Images Long hair, cropped curls, bountiful afros, swinging braids, and colorful streaks were just some of the styles worn on the runway; it’s clear that the Kim Shui collection is for every girl, no matter how she decides to wear her hair or how she feels that day. With a client list that includes Solange Knowles, Meg Thee Stallion, and Bella Hadid, it’s obvious Kim Shui’s messaging resonates with the most fashionable of celebrities. When I ask which celebrity look Shui is most excited to have styled, she has an immediate answer — although not the one I was expecting. “The funny thing is I get the most excited when I'm going on a coffee run, and I see someone on the street wearing my stuff.” For Kim Shui, the possession of power does not have to be acquired by stripping it from others or relying on old systems. All it takes is the bravery to stand in your truth.