23 June 2018

Interviews by the River: Kiko Kostadinov SS19

Spring/Summer 2019












This collection was easily the best that I have seen from Kiko Kostadinov. 

They say that a person's home has a distinct smell apparent to everyone else except for the people living there. I think that it extends to people as well, in that I can know a person by their smell, even if they change the perfume they are wearing. Perhaps the same can be said for different cultures. Indeed to truly understand the full complexity of our own culture, it requires looking with outside (objective) eyes. But of course this process requires a comparison to be made to alternatives, which is to say that we come to know ourselves and our culture in relation to others. Fashion is perfectly poised to explore this dynamic, because references are often diverse and varied, marrying cultures and subcultures to create a new narrative and suggest new ideas.

With such a connected world as we now find ourselves in, I think that this process is more interesting than ever. This is because the vast majority of us are Internet citizens, which allows us exposure to a greater array of diversity than we may otherwise be able to encounter in the physical world. And yet, at the same time, information overload is a reality, and it is not hard to find designers who simply treat the catwalk like a Tumblr feed. Access to knowledge and access to ideas is easier than ever, and so I think that we are at an exciting juncture in terms of fashion and design, where creators are able to discover and experience a wider array of references and inspirations than ever before. I think that this collection was one such example of that, because it was so varied in inspiration, yet came together in what I thought was a rather beautiful and harmonious way.

Kostadinov was inspired by the German artist Martin Kippenberger, whose work ‘The Happy End of Franz Kafka’s “Amerika”’ (which, as the name suggests was an interpretation of Kafka's work), led him to consider men in an imaginary Bengal town on the River Ganges in different stages of job hunting. This Bengal inspiration was taken primarily from filmmaker Satyajit Ray's Apu trilogy of films, which are some of the most important and iconic films in Indian cinematic history. The narrative of the trilogy, which serves as a coming-of-age story for the character of Apu, was mirrored by Kostadinov's collection with looks displaying various points in the job interview and job interviewee process. What I particularly enjoyed was that, even with an ostensible clash of diverse references, the collection never seemed heavy-handed in its inspiration. Because of my own background I responded primarily to the South Asian references, and yet these played alongside other references and inspirations to create something uniquely suited to the Kostadinov customer, wherever in the world they may happen to be.

I really liked the styling of the trousers in many of the looks, with what seemed to be an interpretation of a kurta pyjama, alongside a version of what was essentially a dhoti worn over trousers. Look in particular at the first look I have posted, where you see that wrapped dhoti-style hem, with the white kurta pyjama-style trousers underneath, or else the check materials that reminded me of the fabric you would see used for a lungi. I enjoyed the fact that the clothes for me looked at once foreign and homely. There were references I responded to strongly, whereas others would no doubt respond to others, such as the use of a motif taken from traditional Bulgarian carpets, with neither overpowering the looks in either direction. I think that fashion these days almost has to cater to a global audience where possible to thrive, and I think that this collection did exactly that. And even though the inspirations were a long way from those of his Autumn/Winter 2018 collection, I thought that the consistency in explorations of cut and construction, allowed for a nice development. Last season was about getting back to hobbies, and in much the same way you see that here with the film references, but married to the idea of work uniforms that Kostadinov has also previously explored.

I was excited to see a continuation of the Asics collaboration, with a new model removing the signature stripes and becoming the first Asics sneaker with a full Gel sole. While I think the clothes were the strong point of the collection, I enjoy the way Kostadinov collaborates with brands such as Asics and Camper to create footwear that compliments each collection, showing a strength of design ability that is highly promising for future collections. Overall as I wrote in the opening of the post, this is my favourite collection from Kostadinov, and I am excited to see the pieces in person when they hit the stores.

xxxx

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