Jessica Minh Anh has become famous for organising "phenomenal" catwalks at iconic avenues, and for gaining access to such sites. Today, the Vietnamese-born director of J Model Management, who also models for the summer fashion show 2014, will turn America's One World Trade Center into a skyhigh catwalk. She spoke to Culture Vulture about the event.
Why did you choose the One World Trade Center as the new venue?
I believe One World Trade Center represents the strength of the new generation. We dig deep and rise higher. I get emotional just looking at the building, knowing its history and how much effort it took to finish it. Looking at the stunning New York skyline from the 63rd floor during my first site visit, I knew this was my next venue. Besides my usual focus on creativity and heights, I am honoured to be promoting positivity and global integration as well. I cannot wait to celebrate the historic moment on June 25 during J Summer Fashion Show 2014 at sunset.
How does it feel, standing at a height of 541m?
Extremely proud. Being the first event organiser at such a symbolic venue reassures me that everything is possible. You don't have to be privileged to find your place in this world. In my case, this is on top of America.
Who are the designers for the coming show?
J Summer Fashion Show 2014 will present a combination of Haute Couture, high-end Ready-to-Wear, and active wear collections from four continents: Europe, Asia, North America, and South America. We have Lebanese celebrity designer Ziad Nakad, Peruvian artist and public figure Norka Peralta, Spanish sensation Diego Cortizas of Chula, Indian fashion house LIBAS Reshma Riyaz Gangji, Indonesian lifestyle brand HAY UNITED, America's very own accessory brand Cat Footwear, Russian talent Alina German, Brazilian jeweller Cristina Sabatini, and the Philippines' pride Puey Quinones. Each designer will bring something extraordinary to the show.
Can you say something more about Spanish celebrity designer Diego Cortizas of Chula from Viet Nam?
Diego Cortizas is not only one of my favourite designers but also a dear friend. I adore the variations in his colour schemes as well as his embroidery techniques. Chula's design philosophy focuses on creating one-of-a-kind garments using bold colours and striking graphic patterns. Each piece is truly a work of art. He has borrowed conceptual inspiration from architecture, photography, and the graphic arts very well to create perfect silhouettes. We've worked together in Kuala Lumpur, Paris, Grand Canyon, and now New York. I am definitely looking forward to working with him again.
You always look amazing with different hair styles. How do ideas come to you? Who will be your hair stylist this time?
I work with some of the most talented hair stylists in the world and they are usually inspired by my catwalk venues to create a suitable style. My favourite styles so far were the Burj Jar Arab inspired hairstyle by Pastels Salon Dubai and Gardens by the Bay's Supertree hairstyle by Action Salon Singapore. For J Summer Fashion Show 2014, Italian artist Nunzio Saviano will create a unique hairstyle resembling One World Trade Centre.
What are the most challenging aspects of carrying out shows on such iconic locations?
Every venue has its own challenges but then again, it makes life a lot more exciting. As the first fashion show organiser at each venue, we do not have a reference to what could go wrong. We are the guinea pig. With outdoor shows on the Grand Canyon Skywalk, Gardens by the Bay's Skyway, or Costa Atlantica's sundeck, we had to select the date as well as the equipment very carefully to prioritise safety while keeping the venue authentic. At national symbols such as London's Tower Bridge, Petronas Twin Towers' Skybridge, and One World Trade Center, we had to test and add in extra measures of all sorts, including security. For this show particularly, we want to utilise theatrical fixtures to evenly light a huge catwalk area, which is why we chose to work with New York's No 1 sound and lighting specialist Bentley Meeker. The artistic set up will cast the models' reflections against the octagonal glass walls as well as onto the smooth and polished 63rd floor of the Tower. — VNS