Ahead of Chanel’s Little Black Jacket exhibition opening in Singapore yesterday, I had the opportunity of speaking to model Soo Joo Park. Born in Seoul but raised in Los Angeles, the South Korean model was picked to be included amongst 128 other personalities featured in the hardcover tome that was shot by Karl Lagerfeld. Since then, she has walked Chanel Couture as an exclusive and shot for the label’s F/W13 ad campaign.
Laid-back, friendly and ever so polite, here’s Soo Joo on all things Chanel, including her first memories of the French house, how she became a part of the Little Black Jacket and the Chanel bags she loves the most.
‘My earliest memory was watching television and seeing the logo; it’s just an eponymous logo. Back then I didn’t understand fashion or what Chanel meant but that logo was really burned into my memory.’
– Growing up, Soo Joo’s earliest memory of Chanel.
‘I didn’t realise that it was such a legendary house until I got into fashion. When I was younger I used to flip through magazines such as Purple and see Karl’s portraits of cool stars, like Cat Power. It’s rock ‘n’ roll and I love that.’
– Her first impression of the fashion house before she started modelling and how it has changed now.
‘I think I’m eclectic. I like to think of myself as a chameleon and very versatile. While I like a basic look, I always try to give it a special twist so it looks different and so there’s always one special item that will change up my outfit. Right now it’s all about my hair. It’s fun and more of a bold statement. I try to take risks when it comes to what I wear but I have to remember that I’m no longer 18 so editing is very important.’
– On her sense of style.
‘It all happened really fast. I met Carine Roitfeld last December when she shot me for her CR Fashion Book. She works very closely with Karl and introduced me to him. In January, I became an exclusive for Chanel Couture. When I met Karl, I was very nervous and was shaking in my dress (laughs).
Later on, I was very happy to find out that I was confirmed for this shoot because they were extending the edition with new additions to the reprint of the Little Black Jacket. We finished the shoot in 10 frames. It was my first time shooting with Karl and the start of many more after that.’
– On how she became part of Chanel’s Little Black Jacket.
‘She was a woman who was ahead of her time and she wasn’t afraid of taking chances and being adventurous and I’m all about that, especially with my hair now, you know. I try not to be typecasted (as a typical Asian model) and always stuck in a mould. I’m all about reinventing myself.’
– How she identifies with Coco Chanel who created the little black jacket that’s now a house classic.
‘I have this long leather bracelet that I sometimes use as a choker. I love repurposing accessories and other items. It is just like the Little Black Jacket shoot, you know? It’s not used just as a jacket – they cut it up, tie it or make it into a skirt. It’s all about having fun.’
– On her other essential fashion item that also comes in black.
‘Don’t take yourself too seriously.’
– The best fashion/style advice she was ever given.
‘There are two that I am obsessed with. One is a Boy Chanel that I received as a gift from Karl Lagerfeld and that means so much to me. The other one that I love is the Chanel Parfum Bottle Clutch from Cruise 2014. I don’t have it yet, though, but I want the black one.’
– On the Chanel bags she is loving the most right now.
You can check out Chanel’s Little Black Jacket exhibition that runs till 1 January 2014 at ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands. Open daily from 10 am to 7 pm, admission is free. And as a special treat for visitors, pick up a set of free posters featuring portraits from the exhibition whilst stocks last.
YOU SHOULD SEE: Chanel Cruise 2014 Parfum Bottle Clutch
YOU SHOULD SEE: Chanel: The Little Black Jacket Exhibition Singapore
YOU SHOULD SEE: Chanel F/W13 Pearl Necklaces