(Living Well With)

When Laura Kim Isn’t Designing, She’s Busy Tending To Her Garden

The co-creative director of Monse and Oscar de la Renta can cook, too!

Fernanda Calfat/Getty Images

As one half of the creative genius behind not one but two beloved New York fashion brands, Laura Kim has her work cut out for her. The co-creative director of both Oscar de la Renta and Monse (along with Fernando Garcia) has helped to establish a modern era of elegant dressing, one that’s artful instead of stuffy, and has earned her fans amongst both celebrities and fashion insiders. But, while Kim may be best known for her design works, she also has a not-so-hidden talent: cooking. If you scroll through Kim’s Instagram feed you’ll find photos of gowns and glamorous events posted alongside banana bread, mushroom tarts, and traditional Korean recipes (Kim lived in Seoul as a child). Some of the ingredients Kim even collects from her own burgeoning at-home garden — another passion of hers.

Recently, Kim had the chance to combine her many interests in a way, partnering up with St-Germain and James Whiteside, the Principal Dancer and Choreographer at the American Ballet Theatre, to create Fleuriste St-Germain, a flower shop and community gathering spot in Soho. “Fleuriste St-Germain aims to be a floral wonderland for guests, full of special cocktails, wonderful conversation, and special performances by my lovely collaborator James and other dancers, who will be wearing costumes originally designed by Monse,” Kim explains of the pop-up. With New York Fashion Week less than a month away, it may seem a daunting task to take on, but as Kim explains it, the project is more energizing than anything else. “I love creative collaborations. I’m sure this will leave me very inspired.”

St-Germain

For Kim, the project is not only an opportunity to bring together her own New York community — friends like Prabal Gurung and Phillip Lim attended the opening night — but is also a chance to bring together her wide range of talents and interests while also celebrating her Asian heritage (more on that below).

Ahead, as part of TZR’s ongoing Living Well With series, Kim shares more about her favorite recipes, the fashion splurge she’s eyeing, and why she thinks a garden is the ultimate mood booster.

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What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?

I always start my day with breakfast, which I cook myself. I love to cook, so it’s a great way to start the day. Right now, I’m really into making overnight oats, as my trainer told me I need more carb energy! I also cook steaks for breakfast sometimes when I wake up because I don’t eat much the night before. Breakfast is my biggest meal of the day … and the reason I wake up!

When you have the chance to treat yourself, what do you do?

At the moment, I’m pretty excited about treating myself to the ‘Rosé Spritz’ cocktail I helped create for Fleuriste St-Germain. This was my first time working with a mixologist (Earlecia Richelle from St-Germain), and I was so excited to create this aromatic spritzer drink inspired by my heritage and affinity for East Asian flavors … and love of flowers! I paired elderflower liqueur with sparkling yuzu, rosé wine, and also cherry blossom ice cubes. The strawberry-infused rosé wine also reflects the strawberry milk beverages served in Korean cafes during the summer, which I love as well.

What are you listening to these days?

The new Billie Eilish album, Happier Than Ever. I love all of her songs, I’m obsessed with her. There’s something so sexy about her songs, and her moodiness, it’s inspiring. Usually, I don’t listen to music while I work, but I do with her songs. She’s someone to me that represents a next-generation woman.

One thing you can’t live without is…

My sister recently got a goldendoodle puppy named Milou — I know that I can’t live without him and the time we spend together! My best friend in fact has Milou’s brother Louie — I loved Louie, so I convinced my sister to adopt his little brother because I don’t have time to have a dog at the moment.

Where are you dreaming of traveling to? Why?

I’ve had the honor to travel to so many great places, but the next place I want to go is definitely somewhere I have never been before. At the moment, that’s Iceland! Iceland really intrigues me because it looks like they have so many spas, and their nature looks like a dream as well! I love nature. It looks so beautiful from what I have seen, and I am saving all the images of beautiful places in Iceland in my phone for when I can go.

What’s your go-to secret weapon when you want to look and feel good?

A 111Skin Face Mask is my go-to secret weapon, always guaranteed to make me look and feel good. My facialist Joanna Czech introduced me to these masks, she doesn’t prescribe the same thing for everyone so I trust her recommendations. They are definitely the best out there that I’ve tried.

Do you have a favorite workout/wellness practice?

Wellness is a big part of my life. I love working out with my trainers at Custom Fit, Joel and Bianca. I also love yoga and pilates, particularly Yoga with Juan Yogi (@juan_yogi) and pilates at Flatiron Pilates with my instructor Amy. Food is a big part of my wellness routine as well — I like to eat clean, uncomplicated yet delicious food.

What’s the best piece of relationship advice you’ve ever received?

My mom told me to always make sure you love yourself and make yourself happy before you can expect someone to love you back and make you happy.

What’s a healthy meal you always make/order?

Again I love to cook for myself! My favorite healthy meal that I always make for myself is steamed white fish with vegetables and homemade tzatziki with extra jalapeño.

Do you remember your first big splurge? Do you still own it?

My first big splurge would be the BDDW Credenza I bought for myself. I loved it for such a long time … I think that if you love something for more than five years you should buy it … and that was the case with this credenza! It’s beautiful and I love it in my apartment.

What’s the small stress-saving luxury you swear by at home?

My plants! I have so many plants, and I love taking care of them because I can’t have a dog. I have a terrace where I keep lots of herb — like basil, mint, shiso, and other Asian herbs. I’m growing a Yuzu tree, which I’m excited about. I also am into edible flower plants, like cherry blossoms (in my new cocktail), and borage flowers, which are not so easy to grow but they’re apparently very good for you! Every season I have something blooming.

What are you saving up for at the moment?

I have never really been a huge jewelry person, but recently I have been looking into that, thanks to Tina Leung! She loves jewelry. Normally I never buy jewelry. However, she told me you need ‘grown-up’ jewelry and now I am starting to agree. So I think my next grown-up investment will be a diamond ring, or necklace by Bvlgari I think.

One thing you want to go back and tell your younger self?

I don’t have any advice I would tell my younger self actually, when I think about it … while sometimes I have regrets when things first happen, I have found that everything that has happened to me in the past has always turned out to be well in the end!