Lily Kwong is one of fashion's latest obsessions. You've probably seen this model/socialite/philanthropist on any number of street style blogs, in the pages of Vogue, or on a red carpet outside a fancy fashion event.
Kwong managed to graduate Summa Cum Laude from Columbia last year (no easy feat!) all while juggling a modeling career--and right now you can find her online modeling Ferragamo's digital trunk show. She also happens to be Joseph Altuzarra's cousin--so you know fashion is in her genes. We caught up with the emerging it-girl to ask her about Columbia's fashion scene, what her Russian princess name would be (it makes sense in context, promise) and getting fashion advice from her designer cousin.
1. You're modeling for Ferragmo's digital trunk show -- what do you like about the digital space? Do you tweet? Facebook? Which is your social networking platform of choice? I think social media is incredibly powerful--that's why I work with my dad on the educational non-profit Nuvana.org, which uses social media to connect communities to local resources. I like that digital space gives us an ability to share and communicate with people all over the world immediately, opening up endless avenues for collaboration. I think all of these online platforms force the fashion world to be more intelligent and innovative about how they reach their consumer.
2. How do you balance modeling and being a student? I just graduated in May of this year and couldn't be more excited about the future--working at the same time was definitely a juggling act!
3. And how's the fashion scene at Columbia? (I ask because having dated three Columbia students, why are they all wearing such short skirts when it's so cold out!?) For the most part university can be all sweatpants and flip-flops, but during my first week of classes in 2009 when a girl blew into my Contemporary Civilization class in head-to-toe Comme Des Garcons I remember thinking: 'Ahhh, I landed at the right school!'
3. The collection cites revolutionary Russia as inspiration. If you were a Russian princess what would your name be? Something long and fussy like 'Vasilissa.' I love Russian literature, and the names are always the best! When I was on set with Ferragamo the moment I put on the hand-crocheted dress I felt just like a Vasilissa--the ornate beauty of the piece made me feel just like a princess!
4. What was your first piece of designer clothing? A pair of black YSL pumps from Joseph for my birthday--when I wasn't wearing them I used to set them on a table in my room like a sculpture! 5. Do you ever call your cousin, designer Joseph Altuzzara for outfit advice? I call Joseph for advice ALL the time--the poor thing! He always gives me incredibly thoughtful guidance. He's seen me go through a lot so I always feel like his advice is in my best interests.
6. If so, what kind of advice does he give? Jos is a very driven person, so his words of wisdom usually boil down to something like: stay true to your vision and stay true to yourself! Not far off from advice I'd get from his mom, my own parents and our brothers--we have a great family.
7. Would you ever want to follow in his footsteps and design clothing? I absolutely love design--but clothing is Joseph's thing. I'm already cooking up a couple projects that will definitely require design in the fashion space, but I am steering away from clothing design at this point!