Kim Shui’s fall 2023 show was ultra sultry, ultra sexy, and ultra ’90s, reminiscent of Baby Phat, the brand by Kimora Lee Simmons (who sat front row) that pioneered the idea of unapologetic sexiness on the runways in the early 2000s. But Shui herself is a self-proclaimed shy girl, and a very popular one at that, seeing how hundreds showed up on Superbowl Sunday to support the designer. Her clothing is bold, loud, and statement making, and her fall offering presented the struggles of the inner battle of her public vs. private self. “I’ve always been kind of shy. I rarely post photos of myself, and even at my first runway, I just came out and waved hi. I know other people stand there longer and even walk all the way down the end of the runway, but I don’t do that. But my outfits are the opposite. They’re statements, and sometimes I want my outfits to speak for me.” said Shui.
Skin and nudity were more prevalent this season than in others. Clear PVC snakeskin embossed trenches symbolizing the shedding of the skin were worn with lace-up mini skirts (actually supposed to be belts) and showcased the derriere, making for a “look back at it” moment. Bedroom essentials like babydoll negligees and see through lace catsuits were styled with heels and furry rave boots to create what Shui hopes will become the “it looks” of the season. For those who need a bit more coverup, faux fur trimmed coats and rear covering asymmetrical dresses and skirts were some of the practical options.
Despite their occasional impracticality, the clothes didn’t hinder the models’ confidence. All strutted with heads held high and attitudes on display, even if some skirt mishaps happened along the way. Many audience members gave nods of appreciation, including ex-Gossip Girl actors, current Bling Empire stars, and an array of influencers and stylists. After all, Shui does have a legion of fans who obsessively buy her party clothes with the intention of being sexy. For the finale, Shui walked out in a version of the hot pink bandeau and pants from the collection and did a full lap of the runway. Like the snakes referenced in her opening look, Shui seems to be shedding a layer.