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Fashion Maven Kim Smith on Her Influences and Where she Shops Local

Nuy Cho | May 15, 2019 | Style & Beauty

Kim Smith’s fluid and simple style philosophy is indisposable to some of Hawai‘i’s most fashion-minded companies and people.

Kim Smith brings sophistication and a refreshing vision to the Hawai‘i style scene.

With a family history of over a century’s experience in the fashion industry in London (owning stores on the famed King’s Road), Kim Smith is continuing her legacy. Her first job was in fashion PR, where she got to work with Browns Focus, the parent company to the cutting-edge store Browns, as well as Molton Brown. She met her now husband, who was from Hawai‘i, and relocated to the islands, quickly finding herself styling shows for Neiman Marcus. Fifteen years later, with clients that include The Howard Hughes Corporation, Coca-Cola Co., Bloomingdale’s and Park Lane Ala Moana, as well as private ones, Smith is busier than ever. Here, Kim Smith dishes on what makes her tick—and what to wear.

What is a typical day like for you? Whether I’m working on an editorial, advertising or lifestyle shoot, my day usually begins in a frantic combination of getting my kid to school and trying to quickly answer emails from mainland designer contacts before they close for the day. You will often find me at the stores checking out what’s around and chatting with managers and local designers on what’s coming in. ... I’ve found myself shopping in boating stores looking for binoculars for a national financial company’s advertising campaign and rummaging through boxes of newly arrived clothing for fashion shows.

How do you stay current? I find looking though the archives of designers, checking out the clothing in different counties—past and present—playing with looks, mashing together styles and having fun with fashion is equally important.

Makena long-sleeved scoop-neck cutout surf suit in vintage floral print, $179, by Issa de’ mar at Local Motion, Ala Moana Center

Who and what influences you? My style is very influenced by London, as the city is an integral part of who I am. I try to read a range of magazines and online publications from both sides of the globe. Vogue and W are magazines I constantly subscribe to. The website Fashion Gone Rogue is a great way to see a range of editorials on one site. And, of course, I follow certain stylists and fashion influencers, such as Katie Grand or Susie Lau.

Favorite spots to shop? We Are Iconic in Ward is full of great pieces, Diamond Head Beach House on Monsarrat for swimwear and beach attire, and I always have such fun browsing though the vintage clothing at Barrio Vintage downtown.

Your advice to women this season? Get yourself a swimsuit that makes you feel beautiful, and spend as much time at the beach as possible. If that’s not an option, try this summer’s beige trend. Silhouettes in head-to-toe toffee, caramel and taupe, such as those seen at Fendi or Tom Ford, are big this season and a great alternative to summer whites.

Favorite lipstick? A girlfriend gave me the most wonderful Laura Mercier lipstick in Spiced Rose—an easy color to wear and so pretty.


Photography by: Smith photo by ijfke ridgley | swimsuit photo by brooke dombroski courtesy of issa de’ mar