I recently had the chance to speak with Suzy Kellems Dominik, who loaned her couture collection to the latest Elite Model Look competition, a model search hosted by that top agency, which was held in Shanghai. Suzy also acted as the Couture and Culture Correspondent, where she held a “boot camp” for the contestants explaining how the clothes were designed and their relevance to history. She helped the contestants find their inner muse and even used some of the finalists in a photo shoot.
Suzy Kellems Dominik
Suzy has had an interest in fashion collecting since she was a little girl. As a child, she, like many other girls of her generation, collected Barbie clothes. She also collected pieces that she would wear, with her first piece being a red, white and blue gingham dress she wore for Independence Day at the age of eight. The dress has since gone to her daughter. Suzy started to really collect fashion in her teens while competing as a gymnast. She started with vintage and slowly worked her way up to couture.
Currently, Suzy’s wide collection consists of both couture and ready-to-wear pieces. These pieces come from a wide range of sources such as vintage shops, auctions and from the designers themselves. More recently, Suzy and Rita Watnick of Lily et Cie purchased pieces from the Paris Opera House to put together a museum collection that will be taken on exhibit.
Suzy at an Elite Look event discussing couture and culture with contestants
Suzy believes that a good couture collector has an appreciation for a garment that has a prominence in history and is beautifully designed and constructed. The designer is the artist. One can tell why it was made and when it was made, giving it a new life. Finding something that is special and wearing it with knowledge and information is the key. As Diana Vreeland said, “there can be no beauty without emotion and intelligence.”
In addition to collecting fashion, Suzy also runs a lifestyle site called Of Wit and Will, which focuses on “the endless pursuit of love, fashion, culture, travel and more.”