Credit Instagram: @Jaesukkim

His hand moves at what seems like lightning speed. Back and forth, dripping his brush from water, to paint, to page. And so one of JaeSuk Kim’s famed ‘SuSu Girl’ illustrations begins to transpire on the page. Media gather around, watching as flecks of pink give romance to Kim’s long-legged fashion characters dancing up the eiffel tower, balloons in hand.

First coming to our attention early last year when Gucci tapped him as part of the #GucciGram Tian, Kim is back in the spotlight with an exciting new project. And while his experience has traditionally been with fashion houses, we’re talking such brands as Chanel, Dior, and Cartier, he’s now making the switch to beauty – working with Lancôme to help bring the brand’s ‘Parisienne’ essence to life.  

With an invitation from the French beauty house to come watch Kim up close and in action, Grazia grasped the opportunity to ask him a few questions about moving into the beauty space and his creative process.

Credit Instagram: @Jaesukkim

You’ve previously been heavily involved in fashion illustration, how does this translate over into beauty? “My background as a fashion illustrator definitely helped me decide the sort of looks I want to portray my girls for Lancôme. As Lancôme don’t have their own line of Ready To Wears, it is my role to dress the girls that reflect the Lancôme DNA in their Parisienne elegance.”

We’re seeing illustration being used a lot in beauty recently. Why do you think the two are so compatible? “To me, illustration is the commercial form of art. And art is something that is inseparable to the world of beauty.”

Is there much difference in the creative process going from fashion to beauty illustration? “I actually think beauty and fashion cross-over in so many ways, and working with Lancôme didn’t feel any different to my other fashion illustration works. But, I would say working on beauty projects allows me to have more creative freedom. Most of my previous fashion works were re-interpreting the looks of the brand/designer, whereas for beauty – you have the full creative control to dressing the girls. I spent hours tossing between many looks that evoked the attitude of ‘Parisienne elegance’ which is what Lancôme stands for. I explored colours, shapes and most importantly the poses to capture that look and feel.”

How did the collaboration with Lancôme come about? “Lancôme first approached me when I was in Sydney visiting my family and friends mid last year. It was the perfect timing for both of us. After our initial meeting, I was super excited to collaborate with Lancôme as they share the same vision as to how I see my Susu Girls. They are chic, elegant yet modern and joyful!”

Can you talk me through your prints for Lancôme? “The three prints that will launch this Spring/Summer 17 are inspired by the City of Paris, with a modern interpretation of Parisienne icons. They all evoke the romantic feeling of being in Paris – with illustrations that overlook the skyline of Paris, the iconic architecture of Paris, and its romantic gardens.”

What was the creative process behind it? “I looked at the beautiful photographs of the Paris city for my main inspiration. I then played with the Lancôme icons – the iconic roses, colours of Lancôme, Parisienne icons, adding a touch of romance to all my illustrations – which to me is quintessentially very Parisienne!”

Can we expect to see you doing more work in the beauty realm in the future? “Yes. I’m actually working on another project with Lancôme, so the answer would most definitely be a yes!”

Jaesuk lancome