new designers: sunjoo moon, of two minds

Interview by Isabel Marant. The two have been friends since there were fashion students in Paris.

Photo Credit: Christopher Sturman

HER CREDENTIALS: Moon has a CV full of big-name fashion houses like Cerruti, Missoni and Thierry Mugler; she also owned her own Paris boutique.

WHY WE LOVE HER: Moon has mastered that covetable West Coast-casual-meets-Parisian chic look in a way that feels totally effortless.


IM: What’s the difference between designing for the French and American markets?

SM: The hardest part is that France is on the metric system! I have a tape measure with one side in inches and one side in centimeters. I still don’t really understand what inches are.

Also, the turnaround is a lot faster here in America. You go into a store here and there is always new product. I do new collections all the time. In Europe I did two, maybe three, collections a year. Here I do six to eight.

IM: We’re just catching onto this in Europe. It’s exciting but it’s also very demanding.

SM: It’s taught me a lot about East Coast and West Coast style. There’s a huge difference! New Yorkers are more European.

IM: I think also because of the weather. In California you don’t really need fur coats. Do you miss Paris?

SM: I do miss it—and the chic Parisian women with such unique style—but in my first year In Los Angeles I was going out in the desert and finding a different kind of inspiration. The color in the desert is amazing. The light is incredible. And all of that—my time in Paris and the new experiences here in California—went into my collection.

IM: If I have one regret from design school it’s not working for other big brands. My dream now would be to work in the atelier at Chanel or Dior. But at school, you did.

SM: Fifty or sixty years ago—way before our time—fashion design schools didn’t exist. Fashion design was a trade that you learned at an atelier. At my first job at Cerruti, I remember that he started out at the age of 15 and the ended up in Haute Couture with Yves Saint Laurent. Back then, you would go up the ladder and teach the younger ones and then turn around. I remember at school I was sent off to be an assistant to Azzedine Alaia. He was in his own house sewing on every last button. I basically lived with him for three days before his show.

IM: It’s the best experience you can have. Do you remember when we went to Jean Paul Gaultier’s shows without invitations?

SM: That was our big thing. Our goal in life was to get into shows with no ticket. And to get to the flea markets at 7am on Saturday mornings.

IM: We’d go right after coming out of the disco or after working really late. I remember you always wore things that were very chic and easy. Like, on the edge of cocktail but not too dressy.

SM: My style is so influenced by music.

IM: I am a bit like you. I love working and listening to music. Right now I’m listening to Arcade Fire.

SM: I’ve got this song called “Lazy Eye” by an LA band called The Silver Sun Pickups, on loop all the time. There are also all these new, young Brooklyn bands as well, like The Fiery Furnaces, and The Dearloves—their lead singer Jessica has this fantastic 1970s look. Which is the other thing: so many of these rock girls look so stylish. I find it really inspiring.

You know, I think the reason why we’ve always gotten along so well is that we’ve always felt like we could never miss out on something, whether it was a concert or a fashion show or a designer at a flea market.

IM: I think we got along so well because we were different but admired each other. Plus, I had the car and you had the apartment.