EXCLUSIVE: Jonathan Simkhai On What To Expect From His NYFW Show…Plus! His Partnership With Marriott Bonvoy

by Freya Drohan

One big name returning to a physical show this NYFW season is Jonathan Simkhai, with a major outing slated on the schedule for Tuesday evening. Ahead of Fashion Month, the designer brought the runway right to one of his lucky fans, as through the Marriott Bonvoy ‘Moments’ platform, the winner received a one-on-one with Simkhai and her own custom-created look. And what’s more, she’ll be sitting pretty in said look next Tuesday at his collection unveiling in West Chelsea too! Earlier this month, we called him up for a tête-à-tête to get a sneak preview. Here’s what’s in store…

How are you feeling ahead of NYFW?
I’m excited! We’ve been working away here in the studio, finishing all the pieces—we’re sewing the finale looks right now. I’m happy to be doing a show again and returning to NYC.

Did you take any inspiration trips this summer?
I was away in July! I was in Paris for Couture, then I went to the French Riviera, Cannes, and Antibes! My brother got married in Sorrento so we did that and the Amalfi Coast. It was really beautiful and inspiring. It’s always nice to see other sides of the world; see how people are dressing and enjoying their days and nights and life. Other cultures always recharge me—especially going into such an intense time.

You took a break from the runway format last season. How come?
Last season, based on general attendance of NYFW, we wanted to explore showing in the Second Life Metaverse so we did a show there and focused on creating wearables. We did an in-person preview too. I’m excited to do the runway again this season. We have done so much in terms of development in the footwear and accessories categories, and really pushed forward with the design for this big, beautiful collection.

What can we expect?
I was drawn to this idea of bringing in elements, and the one that I was particularly drawn to was the stone amber. I was researching artifacts, and in my research I came across that amber cane from Jurassic Park with the mosquito in it. So there are a lot of references to nature, archaeology, and history, and bringing in something old but refreshing it, modernizing it, and bringing it into the future. Those juxtapositions always get my head spinning: bringing together something old, new, and exciting to create tension.

How will those inspirations come through?
Fossils and crystal embroideries, marble prints, stone-incrusted necklines, and beautiful hardware!

Tell us about becoming part of the Marriott Bonvoy’s Moments platform. How does it work?
The Moments platform gives members access to unique and eye-opening experiences around the world. We were given the opportunity to tailor a unique, beautiful experience whereby the specific winner of this experience came in to the West Hollywood store and we created a custom look for her. Her whole family came, her mom and dad, and they dressed up and drank Champagne. Connecting with people and being able to dress them and make their dreams come true, [is always so special] and its always nice to partner with other companies and other brands doing really great things. It’s a way of cross pollinating our efforts to make an impact with a unique experience—I felt like I won as well! Next week, the winner will be sitting front row at my show too.

Jonathan Simkhai (Courtesy)

Was it a once off competition?
With this experience, it was one winner, but I’d so much fun so I hope that they want to work together again!

Are you all set for the trip East?
Yeah, we’re based in LA, so it’s really pre-work and pre-styling here at the atelier in West Hollywood, then we bring the collection and the whole team goes out to the studio in West Chelsea and we work out of there, do casting, styling, and all that stuff.

What do you do after the show?
The team is going to have a really fun after party. It’s so nice to have that really fun unwinding moment and celebrate everyone’s hard work—there’s so much that goes into it. That feeling of being done with it and everyone feeling good about everything is incredible.

Lastly, we’re asking everyone for the fun of it…..who was your first celebrity crush?
Zack Morris from Saved By The Bell!

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