Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, The Creative Duo Behind Monse and Oscar de la Renta, Get Candid About the State of the Industry

Sarah Harrelson, Fernando Garcia, and Laura Kim at The Spiral in New York.

Yesterday, over 150 fashion and architecture aficionados ascended to The Spiral's 66th floor, transforming the sleek space into a buzzing salon for cross-disciplinary discourse for the evening. The gathering was spearheaded by New York-based Tishman Speyer in partnership with Sarah Harrelson, CULTURED’s Editor-in-Chief, and Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, the power duo behind Monse and Oscar de la Renta. The centerpiece of the event was a freewheeling and insightful panel featuring Harrelson in conversation with Kim and Garcia around the intersection of fashion and architecture, the designers' creative dynamics, and what they want from the industry.

Sitting on a floral-lined stage overlooking a cloudy Hudson Yards, the trio delved into Garcia and Kim's initial experiences as interns at Oscar de la Renta, before which Garcia humorously quipped, “I didn’t have the guts to pursue fashion,” sparking laughter among the audience. Harrelson led the designers through topics such as the nuances of maintaining a creative partnership, the architectural inspirations embedded in their work (think Norman Foster for Oscar de la Renta, and Frank Gehry for Monse), and the sometimes fraught experience of balancing dual leadership roles at two thriving fashion houses. 

A recurring theme throughout the evening was an emphasis on authenticity and transparency, principles Kim and Garcia attributed to Oscar de la Renta’s mentorship. They also highlighted the importance of candid, even brutally honest, dialogue in the creative process, with Kim recalling de la Renta’s advice: “If you don’t love what you are doing every day and have fun with it, there’s no point.”

As the panel concluded, attendees—including fashion consultant Nick Wooster; stylists Khushnoor Verma and Ashley Avignone; architects Steven Harris and Andrija Stojic; Female Design Counsel Director Angharad Coates; the Art Production Fund's Kathleen Lynch; Teranga co-founder Scott Geoffrey Schroeder; and interior designers Alexandra Pappas, Julie Hillman, Anishka Clarke, and Niya Bascom—exchanged thoughts on the panel’s revelations and perused the latest issues of CULTURED. Guests enjoyed an array of refreshments including wine, champagne, and light trays of duck nigiri from the team behind the forthcoming Papa San, which will open at The Spiral later this year. As the evening drew to a close, each guest departed having claimed their own copy of the magazine, and a healthy serving of food for thought.