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August 29 2014

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Kim Of The Jungle

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Before Kim Jones was a fashion designer, he had an eye on zoology. “I was going to be a zoologist, and then I thought, It’s too much work. I opened The Face magazine and thought, Who are these cool people?”

So began a career in fashion that wended its way through a namesake label, Umbro, and Dunhill before landing Jones as menswear style and studio director at Louis Vuitton. Which may be the perfect place for an armchair zoologist. Travel is in Vuitton’s bones—the maison began as a trunk-maker in the nineteenth century—and remains central to the brand’s image of itself. To celebrate the spirit of luxury travel, last night the house brought Jones together with one of his musical idols, the disco producer Giorgio Moroder, the producer and photographer Daniela Federici, and Condé Nast Traveler‘s Mark Connolly for a conversation about travel and luxury at its Soho store.

Luxury may have taken a shred too much of the spotlight—”If there is not a five-star hotel, I just don’t go,” Moroder admitted, and first-class airfare and top-quality accommodations were mentioned often—but Jones’ passion for the globe’s farthest reaches was the real point of interest. He lived, as it turns out, in Africa from age 3 to 14, going back for summers and continuing to travel there twice a year. But that’s only a sliver of his globe-trotting. After the panel wrapped up, Jones confessed he was jet-lagged from a just-finished trip to New Zealand to see rare parrots. The animal kingdom and travel go hand in hand for him: His Fall men’s collection was inspired in part by the snow leopards he saw in Bhutan, and he said his bucket-list trip would be India in December to see the tigers—tricky, since menswear shows in January.

As for Moroder, who scored Jones’ Fall ’12 show, he is less interested in exotica than the human animal. He shared a gem about his time working with the force of nature that was Donna Summer. Their first hit together was “Love to Love You, Baby.” “I played the song to some publishers, and they were happy, but they thought she should moan,” he recalled. They went back to the studio; “I said, ‘Let’s hear it,’ but she couldn’t open her mouth.” He dismissed everyone but Summer, and lo and behold, a moan was born. She moaned for about ten minutes straight, as he remembered it. To say they got it would be an understatement: extended cuts of the single now run to sixteen-plus minutes long.

Plus: Jones recently shared his other obsession—the over-the-top club regalia designed by Leigh Bowery and London’s eighties designers—with Style.com/Print. Here, his collection of Bowery, Rachel Auburn, Andre Walker, and more, styled by Jones himself.

Photo:Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com

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