Attending New York’s Fashion Week has been a life-long bucket list item for me. I wanted nothing more than to be a fashion designer growing up – but a few hiccups disrupted that path – my inability to draw, my inability to sew ( I mean I can – but it’s not pretty ), and then I ended up falling in-love with tech. It’s impossible to do everything – at least that’s what people say. However, I’m still trying – and Kia’s Telluride launch is a beautiful example of being able to effortlessly blend different industries.
I was invited by Autotrader to cover the launch of Kia’s newest SUV – the Telluride – which was being unveiled at New York Fashion week – more specifically in Brandon Maxwell’s Spring/Summer 2019 show. I had no idea how Kia would blend the launch of their new vehicle into Maxwell’s show – but a lack of creativity has never been an issue with Kia. This was going to be a cool event – I knew it.
It was going to be a short trip, about 48 hours in total – but it was Fashion Week. Even thinking back on it now has me nothing but smiles. Upon arrival, we were picked up at the airport and whisked away to our hotel in the city – the Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel. The Renaissance had a view I could easily get used to.
And the hotel as a whole was sprinkled with subtle fashion touches that continued my need of pinching myself – I was really at Fashion Week. Bucket list check mark!
That evening we enjoyed drinks and dinner at the hotel before heading to bed for our full day of activities that awaited us. Kia allowed us to bring a guest, which meant that I was able to bring my fiance Doug with me. While most males would likely run the opposite direction at the mention of Fashion Week, Doug works as an associate creative director – and appreciates design and technology – in any and all forms – just as much as I do.
Room service with breakfast in bed allowed us to catch up on a little extra sleep that morning before we headed out to the Son Jung Wan show. We arrived early and were escorted to a skybox where we were actually able to watch the reversal and prep for the show – an experience that was beyond cool for someone who had never been to Fashion Week before. Seeing the staff measure the distance between benches to ensure they were the perfect distance – all of the little things that were being done and the attention to detail made me appreciate it all the more.
Once we were escorted to our seats and the show got underway, I couldn’t help but note the presence of Kelly Rutherford in the front row. Gossip Girl‘s Lily van der Woodsen was at the same show as I. If I didn’t know any better, I could have easily convinced myself I was in an episode of Gossip Girl.
Avant-garde designs with a hint of whimsical – Son Jung Wan’s collection thought outside the box – and even had a few pieces that were Alice in Wonderland reminiscent.
After we departed the show – we headed back to the hotel to grab a quick lunch before Doug was whisked away for an afternoon at the Trunk Club with the other plus ones from our group and I was off to the Brandon Maxwell show at the Manhattan classic car club.
Drinks, lite bites, and introduction from Team Kia about the show – Brandon Maxwell appeared and spoke briefly about his partnership with the brand – and the collaboration between Kia and the collection we would shortly see – and then the curtains literally dropped, we saw the runway show set up – and then at the head of the runway – we saw the 2019 Kia Telluride. The SUV was complete with saddle-like leather accents that made the vehicle itself feel like it should walk (ride?) the runway.
This one-of-a-kind Telluride that sat before us provided a thought-provoking glimpse into the creative process that takes place when designers in separate industries collaborate. The fashion industry and the automobile industry may seem vastly removed from one another. But at the end of the day, they have the exact same foundations – design and functionality. Is it an effective and efficient in terms of functionality – and is it well-designed and will it provide a good consumer experience?
This specific tailored Telluride included several nods to Maxwell’s Texas roots, including natural wood interior trim and saddle-inspired double-stitched leather adornments on the dash, door panels and grab handles. Similar leather details covered the outside rear-view mirrors and door handles. It was absolutely stunning to say the least.
Outside, the Telluride’s deep green paint reflected the color of the concept vehicle that debuted in Detroit two years ago. Custom front and rear bumpers, skidplates and sidestep sills exuded a ranch-ready look that was backed up with a hidden winch and a snorkel for deep-river fording. Burly 265/50R-20 off-road tires wrapped around flat-black alloy wheels and the spare tire had been custom mounted to the rear hatch, which opened to a metal- and leather-trimmed cargo area. A custom wood and aluminum roof rack with a beautiful custom leather tow strap tongue provided the perfect finishing touches.
I was in love.
“Only a brand as forward-thinking as Kia could collaborate with Brandon Maxwell to launch the Telluride ahead of its official debut at the North American International Auto Show in January.” Saad Chehab said, vice president of marketing communications, Kia Motors America.
And he was 100% right. But where was the collaboration birthed? Where did the idea initially come from?
For Brandon Maxwell, the combination of childhood nostalgia and an exclusive preview of Kia’s largest and most refined SUV provided an opportunity to give back to the Marfa, Texas, community.
“My Mom drove me to school in East Texas in a Kia Sedona, and my adoration for the brand runs deep,” said Maxwell. “When I left Marfa, Texas, where I designed my SS’19 collection, I started talking with Kia. I wanted a partner who could help fill a need in Marfa’s public school system and Kia was looking to create a unique integration for their new Telluride. It was a natural fit as Kia has a long history of philanthropic initiatives that support education. Kia is not just funding necessary technological purchases and educational programming to give the children of Marfa the quality education they deserve, but also providing a vehicle for local teachers’ use. I am honored to collaborate with Kia Motors.”
After receiving a little background information on the collaboration, we headed down to the runway to take our seats – and on the way we were greeted with adult beverages in sippy cups and a Shake Shack burger. Not your typical fashion show by any stretch, but hands down one of the most creative and enjoyable. Keep in mind that Brandon Maxwell has been Lady Gaga’s fashion director since 2012, there’s no one that has more fun thinking outside the box.
The runway was lined with pickup trucks with their tailgates down (to serve as seats) and folding chairs and Yeti coolers lined the runway. Again… not your typical runway show. I passed by Rachel Zoe on the way to my seats, and noted a number of other celebrities and supermodels who were all smiles at the creativity that outstretched before them.
Once the show started, it was 42 designs in total that walked the runway – including several worn by Bella Hadid and Gigi Hadid. The supermodel force was strong with this show.
I honestly wanted to go home with the entire collection, but the pieces below were my absolute favorite pieces.
You might have assumed, not seeing Maxwell’s previous collections, that his designs would be a little more out there. After all, he works with Lady Gaga. However, the simplistic and classic feel to nothing sort of epic pieces is mind-blowing. Maxwell’s designs demand attention and emotion – he understands luxury and feeling and transformation that happens when a woman puts on an outfit that she loves. It literally is a transformation – like Clark Kent to Superman. Fashion has the ability to do that – and each and everyone of Maxwell’s pieces have that superpower. Take a look below…
To top of the rather cool experience, we had dinner at Buddakan at Chelsea Market and had the best smokey old fashioneds Doug and I have ever had. I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend and first Fashion Week experience!
And being a Georgia girl, I was rather thrilled to hear that the eight passenger Telluride production model will be assembled at Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia. And they will be providing a new, V6-powered option that is several inches longer and wider than Kia’s award-winning, seven passenger Sorento midsize SUV.
Ever since the Kia Stinger, which has been my ride since January 2018, I have been singing the praises of this brand. They’re changing the industry – and they’re thinking far outside the box on the best way to accomplish that.
A huge thank you to Kia and Autotrader for letting me be along for this ride! (Pun absolutely intended)
Your Geek Girl,