Just months after we saw her conquer the heights and the heat in Singapore, Jessica Minh Anh has soared above the competition yet again.
Famous for transforming skywalks into catwalks, the model-entrepreneur made fashion history on Wednesday evening by organizing the J Summer Fashion Show, the first ever runway show held at the One World Trade Center in downtown New York City.
The show featured eight designers from four continents: Lebanese celebrity designer Ziad Nakad, Spanish design couple Diego Cortizas and Laura Fontano of Chula, LA based Filipino Puey Quinones, Peruvian designer Norka Peralta, Indian fashion house Libas, Indonesia’s HAY United, American brand Cat Footwear, and Russian designer Alina German.
Last year Minh Anh held the world’s “highest fashion show” on the Grand Canyon Skywalk, 4000 feet above the ground. She’s also strutted down runways above the Thames, on the Petronas Twin Towers’ Skybridge, and of course, Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay’s Skyway.
But for the founder of J Model Management, Wednesday evening’s show was on a whole other scale.
“Logistically, it’s not as complicated as the Grand Canyon for example, or Gardens by The Bay,” Minh Anh said. “But from another point of view, when we look at the meaning of the entire show – it’s a lot bigger than all the other shows I’ve ever done, before because it relates to 9/11.”
For Minh Anh personally, “heights represent strength, and the higher the better.” And with the historical significance of the venue looming above, themes of diversity, cultural integration, and rising above adversity were ones she hoped to convey with the show.
“We’re trying to bring people together, in harmony, and show off talents from different continents in a creative way that makes everyone happy,” Minh Anh told Popspoken. “So it’s the opposite of what happened here before. We want to highlight that, and also the fact that we’re all young people. We want to show that the new generation is doing great things to make the future brighter.”
Minh Anh also mentioned how excited the designers were to parade their designs at such an iconic location, a sentiment Spanish designer Diego Cortizas echoed readily. Cortizas and his wife Laura Fontano are the founders of Spanish fashion house Chula, and are based in Vietnam.
“It’s really a dream for us to be in a fashion show like this, a building like this, in a city like this,” Cortizas told Popspoken. “For us it’s also personal, since it’s our 10 year anniversary of founding Chula. And to have a fashion show in New York, the official fashion capital of the world – it was perfect. ”
“Young people see movies, and they see New York as a reference,” Fontano added. “So many pictures, music; it’s a dream to be here.”
Cotezas told Popspoken that his J Summer Fashion Show collection paid homage to the icons of New York, expressing his love for the city. And this was evident on the runway later. Chula’s vibrant yet elegant pieces featured elaborate patterns and embroidery, combining bold colors and Spanish chic with NYC skyline silhouettes, subway map lines, and even a Chrysler building – inspired motif.
Also inspired by the venue was Indian fashion house Libas, whose collection featured structured blacks, whites, and reds to represent a search for “identity and belonging,” in the words of designer Riyaz Gangji, “and the movement from death to life.”
The rest of the evening featured contrasting styles, textures and aesthetics as well, from Ziad Nakad’s traditional elegant, couture and red carpet designs, featuring royal colors with hand beaded and distinctive cuts, to HAY United’s brand of stylish, pop-art prep inspired active wear.
Wearing Ziad Nakad’s signature red dress and Brazilian designer Cristina Sabatini’s maroon and golden ring, Minh Anh closed the J Summer Fashion Show.
And despite this being her seventh show in just three years, there seems to be no such thing as burnout for Jessica Minh Anh. She tells us plans for the J Winter show, at a currently undisclosed location, are already underway.
“My job is my life,” Minh Anh said. “And when you love something so much it doesn’t feel like you’re working. Turning the most iconic venues into phenomenal catwalks is my reality. My dream is to never stop.”
Images by J Model Management