Monday, 27 May 2024

Kiko Kostadinov

Beyond imagination

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Kiko Kostadinov is that particularly exciting and rare entity: an independent fashion designer whose young label is actually self-sustaining. His growing mini-empire includes womenswear, diffusion lines, special collaborations and even a fragrance. But Kiko is a menswear genius first and foremost. His clothes are avant garde but pragmatic and wearable. His shoes have shifted the comfort zone of what men are happy to put on their feet. And he’s something of an experimental fashion businessman, like Rick Owens or even Mr. Armani.

From Fantastic Man n° 36 — 2022
Story by ELIOT HAWORTH
Photography by MARK PECKMEZIAN

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The first thing I saw of Kiko Kostadinov on the day I arrived at his studio in Wood Green, northeast London, were his feet, just visible from behind a large rail of clothes. It was mid June, and in the open-plan ground-floor space where electronic music was playing softly, a team of designers worked at large standing tables, tending to fabrics and garments.

The studio occupies space over two floors of a nondescript warehouse block that sits in a sprawling industrial park filled with lots named after species of bird and varieties of tree. It’s the kind of large, out-of-the-way site that attracts an odd mix of businesses, and he shares his doorbell with a tea exporter, a housing association, a juice detox company, a manufacturer of vegan hair products, and stylist Jane How.

Eventually, the rest of Kiko emerged and he led me to the glass-walled room that he uses as an office. He was wearing a pair of black Patagonia shorts, a white long-sleeved T-shirt, a black cap with a large yellow “O” on it, and a pair of ASICS trainers. He is 32 years old, slight and bearded, with dark scruffy hair, perceptive blue-green eyes and a face that is pensive but quick to smile. His dog, Dante, a one-year-old Lakeland Terrier who likes to eat bananas, lay curled up, asleep on a sofa.

A couple of weeks earlier Kiko had been informed that the building was due to be demolished later in the year to make way for a residential development, and he was thinking about what opportunities might open up when they eventually had to move. In 2020 he relocated his label’s runway shows from London to Paris and was entertaining the idea of a similar shift for his studio.

“I hate the idea of having to move out of a space and pay more money for the same thing, which is what happens in London,” he said. “So I’m giving proper thought to the idea of moving to Paris. Or at least finding an apartment we can crash at and use for meetings or castings. Most of my team are not from here. They are from Italy, or Spain, or Japan. We’re a British company, but most of us aren’t British.”

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In a selection of his own creations, plus those of designers he admires, Kiko is here photographed in Alexandra Park, near his home in London.

Kiko was born in Bulgaria in a small town outside the city of Plovdiv. He is a triple Scorpio, which he claims makes him hard to read, and an only child who grew up with enough close friends and cousins in his neighbourhood that he never missed having siblings. He moved to Forest Hill in southeast London with his parents at the age of 16 and is still close with them both. He lives nearby to his studio, as do they. His father, Kostadin, works in construction, and his mother, Tinka, worked as a cleaner but now works in the studio, helping her son with a variety of logistical tasks. She has short-cropped hair dyed purple. That day she was sewing buttons onto a batch of newly arrived grey hand-crocheted cardigans from the Autumn and Winter 2022 collection and also booking flights from Bulgaria to London so that a family friend could personally courier over the final samples for the Spring and Summer 2023 show due to take place later in the month in Paris.

Save for a short period just after founding his label, when he worked with factories in the United Kingdom, Kiko has manufactured all his collections in Bulgaria, using a mixture of artisanal handicraft and garment factories. Tinka has been key in establishing the connections. “She’s basically our fixer out there,” Kiko told me. “Some of the factories are very traditional, former Soviet places, but actually they are surprisingly open to the things we send them. They’re willing to try things – more than a lot of factories in Italy would be.”

Those “things” end up as Kiko’s runway collections. He wheeled over a rail of clothes that were being prepared for his show. The collection was inspired in part by the artist Danh Vo, whose work repurposing the colonial history of his native Vietnam had inspired Kiko’s decision to embrace influences from the era of Ottoman rule in his own country through cuts and fabrics reminiscent of janissary uniforms.

 

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Kiko studied at Central Saint Martins in London, having taken a circuitous route that first involved starting an entry-level qualification in IT at a local technical college and a fashion-marketing foundation year at London College of Fashion, which he didn’t finish. He studied first on the BA in fashion design and marketing, followed by an MA in fashion (menswear). He launched his label in 2016, shortly after graduating.

Describing the clothes that Kiko makes is not particularly easy. They seem familiar, and yet avoid fitting neatly into any discernible archetype or style. Garments are recognisable as shirts or jackets or shorts or coats, but are often entirely novel in their form and construction. This can lend them the appearance of being separate from any particular time or societal context. They might look classic and futuristic, quotidian and fantastical, all at once. There is an emphasis on silhouettes and cut. A playfulness with tonality, fabric and pattern mixed with functionality and tailoring. Kiko is a designer whose work can most easily be recognised by shape, rather than logo or monogram.

He bristles at simple catch-all definitions such as “utility” and “workwear” – elements of which might inform some of what he designs, but do not define it. “I hate being pigeonholed, and I never want to be predictable,” he told me, and indeed he regularly subverts expectations, often veering wildly between collections before anyone can pin him down. One season might be dark and muted, more commercially leaning and tailored, the next eye-wateringly bright and inspired by jockeys. “It’s like chess,” he said. “Just playing that game of how accessible I want to be, how commercial I want to be, how ‘fashion’ I want to be, and then kind of seeing what’s going to land in the right place.”

And while all this might sound cerebral, if not a little contrary, Kiko does not
see himself as a niche designer and has no intention of being one. He describes himself fundamentally as “a product guy,” meaning that what he really makes are clothes – clothes that, when isolated from the visual fantasy of a show, are at their core well-crafted, flattering and desireable.

His overall approach is perhaps best exemplified by the way he makes trousers, which are as close a thing as he has to a signature garment. He is the only designer I am aware of whose trousers are coveted in the way people covet trainers. They sell out quickly and customers gravitate towards the most complex and exciting pairs.

Most designers work with standard dimensions of trouser: a straight leg, tapered, flared, wide, slim, jogging bottom, and so on. But genuinely new forms are hard to come by. Kiko’s trousers seem to be striving to exist in some other reality of trouserdom each season. As though he is continually re-writing the rules through experimentations in construction and silhouette. There is no defining style, and there are no carry-­overs. Yet you know somehow, intuitively, that you are looking at a pair when you see them.

Broadly speaking, they have a pleasing level of subtle complexity and technical detail that registers just enough on the eye. They might be adjusted by snaps or straps, or have slits or inserted elements, so that the same trouser
might look provocative and extreme one minute – perhaps billowing wildly or dramatically cinched around the leg – and clean and simple the next. They break in a distinctive way, meeting the ankle and pooling gently with a slight kick. They are often deliberately challenging and, wearing a pair, you may feel your limits being tested, but it’s always as though you are in a safe pair of hands. There is no grand narrative to the trouser. No concept or agenda or gimmick or backstory to market it or prop it up. It just is what it is: a well-made, interesting garment that’s enjoyable to wear.

One afternoon, in the name of first-hand research, I visited the Kiko Kostadinov space on the menswear floor of Dover Street Market London. I picked out a woven-cotton blazer with panelled shoulders, a navy pullover jacket with bright green tassels hanging out of the bottom, and a pair of pointy ultramarine shorts that looked like something an anime pirate might wear.

Everything that had looked daunting on the rail looked effortless when tried on. They came to life on the body and felt intricate, but not overbearingly so. There was a sense of slowly discovering a garment. Finding new perspectives and ways of wearing it as my body moved and the piece responded.
“I’d say Kiko’s collections don’t necessarily have the most hanger appeal,” said a shop assistant named Desmond, who wore a straight fringe, a black shirt, black jeans and a black Prada tie. “But when people try them on they are usually pleasantly surprised. And I think he has a loyal following because of that.”

Kiko tries not to think too much about who actually buys his clothes, but does occasionally do a little research. “Sometimes I’m quite surprised. I have people in Ipswich who buy full looks.” The people who buy his work are often very, very into it, and he has a sizeable and enthusiastic online following. One of the only occasions I have ever been stopped in public was as I was leaving the office of an architecture practice and a member of staff approached me in the elevator to say that he’d recognised me from a panel I’d once participated in on Kiko’s work. There are some key markets, namely Japan and America. He’s also popular with a vanguard of fashion-conscious rappers and has the ultimate honour in contemporary hip-hop culture of having a song named after him: ‘Kiko’ by Young Thug protege Yung Kayo. On the track, the rapper boasts about where he goes on holiday and the clothes he likes to wear, repeating the hook “Kickin’ in Kiko, a thousand a piece.”

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Later in the week I met Kiko at his studio again to join the fittings for his upcoming show. Tinka’s family friend had arrived the evening before with a suitcase full of the remaining samples, along with a stockpile of Bulgarian sweets and biscuits that were laid out in a big pile on the kitchen table.

Around noon, Kiko and his team gathered in his second-floor studio space to start assembling looks. It was a process for which he was joined by his senior designer Kai Ninagawa, his footwear designer Aitor Martinez, and Paride Calvia, who has worked for Kiko since nearly the beginning of his label and has a varied role that sits somewhere between studio manager, commercial strategist, special projects lead, right-hand man and close friend. The two met while Paride was working at Dover Street Market (when it was still located on Dover Street) and Kiko was still a student. He has an impressive moustache and, despite having a large tattoo of a Neapolitan mastiff on the back of his shaved head, is originally from Bologna.

Gradually, the team began to test combinations, creating characters and styling propositions that would set the mood for the show. Each look was put on a fit model named Joe, who did a short walk before having his outfit adjusted if necessary – an unconvincing hat removed, say, or the hem of a long coat tucked through a belt – and was then sent to have his picture taken in a makeshift photo studio. Kiko had asked for the music to be turned down, so the only sound in the room was the hum of a fan and the staccato monologue issued by the designer as he worked his way through the collection.

“Let’s try a jacket and trousers, both reversed.”

“Too much, only the jacket.”

“Okay, walk. A bit faster. No, more.”

“Maybe a bag.”

“…no bag.”

“Okay, photo.”

Each image was then printed off on a small Canon printer and pinned to a board.

“This isn’t something we’ll crack today,” Kiko said. “I’m probably going to look at these pictures before I go to bed and start rearranging things in my head.”

Garments were slowly tweaked and coaxed into their final form in real time. The winged protrusions on slim, legging-­like trousers were carefully folded around the leg and pinned into a shape that resembled the stem of a tulip. The team debated whether their final iterations would use something raw, like stitching, or whether a simple snap fastening would be nicer, to give the option of leaving them undone.

Getting a fitting done this early in the show schedule was unusual for Kiko, and he felt calm. The impending studio move had made him realise it had been just over five years since he’d moved to Wood Green, which also marked a little over five years since he’d founded his business. “I remember reading an interview with Rick Owens where he said that if you can make it past the first five years without going bankrupt then you’re probably going to be fine,” he said. “So now I’m thinking about what comes next.” After years of flying by the seat of his pants, he was making more of an effort to get better at the boring but important things. A more streamlined production. Having samples arrive two weeks, rather than two days, before a show. Being ahead in a way that would allow more preparation and more time to work on other projects.

Behind the photo studio, the rest of the upstairs space was taken up by tall racks filled with boxes of clothes and samples of shoes. They were mostly ASICS, the Japanese sports label with whom Kiko has worked since his Spring and Summer 2018 collection. The partnership has been immensely successful, producing co-branded runway models that have pushed trainers into daring new forms each season: a shoe covered with neon yellow and blue chequerboard, or a pair of two-tone purple foamy trainers with one ankle raised much higher than the other, for instance. The collaboration is notable for its silhouettes, made by completely reinterpreting and often hybridising archive models into novel constructions. (Most runway partnerships stick to embellishing an already-existing style that the partnering brand wants 
to push.) Kiko has even designed his own custom sole for the sports label. This might not sound exciting, but the sole unit of a trainer is the most complex part of a performance shoe and often takes several years to develop. It is so fiddly and labour-intensive that Kiko’s model marked the first time an individual outside ASICS had ever been invited to develop one. It was named the Gel-Kiril (Kiril being his given name).

Kiko has a strong track record in collaborations and special partnerships. When he was still an undergraduate at Saint Martins, he was working as an assistant for stylist Stephen Mann and made a series of custom Stüssy tops that he cut up and reassembled for 
a shoot. These came to the attention of Michael Kopelman, founder of the influential distribution company Gimme Five and an original member of the International Stüssy Tribe (the proto-influencer collective established by the streetwear label in the 1980s). After meeting Kiko and seeing his student work, Kopelman proposed an official capsule collection that Kiko used to partly fund his master’s studies.

The two of them went on to co-found the workwear label-slash-broadcaster Affix, along with Stephen Mann and designer Taro Ray. Kiko recently stepped back due to his workload, but he and Kopelman are still close, and their warehouses are only a five-minute walk from one another. “We regularly play ping pong,” Kopelman told me.

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Other partnerships have included Camper shoes and Mackintosh raincoats, along with one-offs, like a jacket made with C.P. Company a little over a year ago. That morning Kiko had received an email from a large denim brand, proposing a collaboration. “I haven’t read it properly yet,” he said. “But let’s see. I’ve never really done denim before, it could be cool.” He also has an ever-changing string of self-initiated 
projects like KK, which is a direct-to-­consumer e-commerce line that he makes in-house and sells exclusively through his website.

In 2018 Kiko met the gallerist Al Morán, who visited the designer’s studio while he was in town from the States. “Immediately, we just got into it like we’d known each other for forever. It was pretty special,” Morán told me. “I walked out of that meeting knowing that my life had changed, but I didn’t know how or why.” In 2019 Morán invited Kiko to put on a show at his Los Angeles space. The exhibition, named Otto 95.8, took the form of an installation using industrial building materials, the kind Kiko often uses for shop installs, along with one-off clothing pieces. “I was blown away,” the gallerist told me. “He handled the space so well. There were so many artists that called me or emailed me or came in and said, ‘Wow, this guy comes out of nowhere and just drops this bomb on everybody!’” The two now speak most days and Otto has continued as a freewheeling collaboration that might take the shape of books or objects or short films and also has its own clothing line. “Mostly I think it’s just an excuse for 
us to talk to one another on the phone,” said Morán.

As with his mainline collections, there is a sense of Kiko’s meticulousness in how he manages his special projects, preventing things from ever getting too comfortable or predictable. Recently, arguably at the peak of its commercial success, the ASICS partnership entered a new phase. “People were getting a bit too used to there being a new Kiko-ASICS model every six months,” he told me. “We wanted to keep working together, but I just wanted to go in a different direction before it became mundane and repetitive and expected.” After mulling over what the near opposite of their existing set-up might be, they decided to go in-house, with the Kiko Kostadinov label now working on a series of unbranded ASICS projects each season. Even his Stüssy capsule, a situation in which most students hard up for cash would struggle to even question what was being offered to them, came with a strict set of principles. “From the outset we had an agreement that we wouldn’t do too much of it,” Michael Kopelman told me. “Kiko didn’t want to become known as someone who did only that.” He enjoys his projects, and the extra cash-flow is useful for a young label, but Kiko is also firm that they shouldn’t cross from a mutual partnership into a form of reliance. “Otherwise you lose your independence and start to compromise,” he said. “It’s really important that they never become a crutch and that I have my own line working fine without them. Not just surviving, but making a profit.”

 

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Perhaps Kiko’s biggest leap with his business has been establishing a womenswear line. In January 2018, for his fifth collection, and only one and a half years into launching his brand, Kiko showed a small women’s collection within his Autumn and Winter 2018 menswear show. He hated it. “So unnecessary. I didn’t even want to sell it.”

Rather than ditching the idea, he decided to go all-in and launch a stand-alone womenswear line. Instead of designing it himself, it would be made by Laura and Deanna Fanning, twin sisters from Melbourne with long, near-black hair and brown eyes, who both studied at Saint Martins. Deanna is also Kiko’s partner of eight years. They first met at school when they sat next to one another at a special guest lecture being given by Kim Jones.

The line has been a commercial and critical hit that feels both completely distinct from the menswear yet spiritually connected to it through a shared sensibility and taste. They split the profits evenly and the agreement is that, despite carrying Kiko’s name, the brand is specific to the sisters. If they decide to stop, it stops with them. It lends the Kiko Kostadino label the air of a mini fashion empire, and this is very much the point. “I’m always interested in how the system works,” Kiko said. “The thinking was, ‘Oh, well, you have Dior, you have all these big houses which operate with different creative directors for men’s and women’s. Why can’t I be a small, young brand and doing the same?’”

When I met with the sisters during Men’s Fashion Week in Paris, they were both wearing full-look Kiko Kostadinov. Laura likes mixing the menswear with the womenswear, but Deanna doesn’t, because she thinks it would be weird to dress like her boyfriend. Although the two lines have separate teams and work independently, they share the same studio and there has been a mutual influencing, more through proximity than formal collaboration. “I think his work contextualises our work, and vice versa,” Laura said of the dynamic between the lines. Kiko says he has embraced more colour since they entered the studio. The sisters say they have been pushed in how they approach cut and construction. “When I see someone wearing one of his suits, I can immediately see it’s completely different from how anyone else would conventionally cut a suit,” Deanna told me. “Or the way a trouser is constructed. It challenges you. And I think that pushes us to be courageous. He takes risks. Measured risks, but they are risks. I mean, him taking us on was a measured risk.”

Recently, Kiko returned to Central Saint Martins to judge final-year collections alongside Imran Amed, the founder and editor-in-chief of The Business of Fashion. They looked through collections and gave advice to students. At the end-of-year runway show Madonna sat in the front row.

Amed used to teach Kiko on the Fashion Design and Marketing course in a business-­focused unit that he ran for ten years. “It was designed as a reality check for students as to what it’s like when you graduate from a place like CSM and you have creative talent but are faced with the reality of having to build a brand and a business,” he told me.

He remembers the designer as being a disciplined and committed student in a class where just turning up was somewhat noteworthy. He isn’t surprised that Kiko is doing well, but, equally, wouldn’t be surprised if he wasn’t. Because running your own fashion label is incredibly, almost thanklessly, tough.

“For context, 99 per cent of fashion startups fail. And they usually fail within the first three years,” Amed said. It is so hard that he assumed Kiko had done what many labels do and acquired backing from a third party in exchange for equity in the business. He mentioned the Italian fashion incubator Tomorrow, who own intellectual property in brands such as Charles Jeffrey Loverboy and Martine Rose.

In fact, Kiko is the sole owner of his business, and when I mentioned this to Amed, he described it as something precious. “If you’re able to sustain a business while maintaining 100 per cent control, that is very rare. You can count on one hand the brands that have been able to build something to a reasonable size while maintaining independence.”

It’s not that Kiko is against the idea of a backer; he just hasn’t seen the need for one so far and would only do it if it worked well for him. He doesn’t need a cash injection and he doesn’t want to part with equity and suddenly be dictated to by a merchandising team demanding logo T-shirts and pairs of black trousers. But a setup that would allow him to expand his production would be nice.

It is clear that he is someone alive to the creative possibilities that a well-structured business affords, rather than seeing commerce as an obstacle to self-expression. This is why, perhaps more than any other designer, Kiko admires Rick Owens, whom he rates highly both for his design genius and business acumen. Owens, whose limited company operates under the droll moniker Owenscorp, has built on the solidarity of his loyal customer base, has several flagships around the world, a rich portfolio of offshoot projects, and owns his own factories. Kiko brings him up regularly, sounding both like a fan and someone identifying a future they aspire to.

“I really appreciate what Rick does. He’s independent, he pushes himself, he always suggests new ideas even if it’s through his own spectrum. He doesn’t need to put his name on his clothes for you to immediately know they’re his. I honestly think Rick is the best designer in the world – and will be for a long while. Because there’s not a lot of people who can do what he’s doing. You can talk about Kim Jones, Nicolas Ghesquière, Phoebe Philo, all these legendary people. But I have a different respect for someone who does that and also has the responsibility of running their own company and paying people a salary.”

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In the late afternoon on Sunday, 26 June, it was showtime. On the top floor of the Lycée Henry IV in Paris’s Latin Quarter, an intricate octagonal terracotta-­and-green-tile motif stretched out across the floor and textbooks sat on bookshelves covered by metal cages.

There was minimal adornment or concept to the set, just the necessary infrastructure of chairs, lights, sound and boys in clothes. The seating plan had no front or back row, just a single line of chairs that snaked around the room and kept guests in close proximity to the runway. After Kiko’s Autumn and Winter 2018 show, held at a Quaker meeting house in London where models walked out into a large central space, a journalist remarked that everything felt very far away. Since then Kiko has kept his shows tight and compact, knees almost brushing the clothes as they come past. The whole thing was done in 30 looks. Minimal accessories, no jewellery.

Backstage, afterwards, models were getting changed and a small huddle of American journalists was gathered around Kiko, phones and recording devices in hand. One of them remarked on how uncomplicated it felt.

“Do you think you’ll get crazier again after this?” He asked.

“I think I might turn it up,” Kiko said. “But I’ve already proven to myself that I can play with colour, and I wanted to do something else this time.” The huddle disbanded with words of congratulations and insistence that he should visit the States soon.

As the clothes were being packed away, Kiko sat with Laura and Deanna and the musician Bill Kouligas, who had worked on the soundtrack for the show. Kiko was flicking through Vogue Runway on his phone. Being the ardent fashion fan that he is – and, by his own admission, more than a little bit competitive – the designer checks show coverage constantly during fashion week, absorbing everything like rolling news. He hadn’t seen much of interest, although he did enjoy the corsets at Dries van Noten. The images of his own show had just been uploaded, so he looked through those, too. The final shot showed Kiko as he emerged from backstage to salute the audience. He was caught mid-movement, in an enthusiastic pose that brought to mind musical theatre: one arm punching the air, one leg flicked up unusually high.

“You look like you’re at prom,” said Deanna. He let out a loud laugh.

The following day I met Kiko in his temporary showroom space near Belleville. I had last seen him at 3am, grinning broadly through the fog and lasers at a party he’d thrown in a small building in the Bernard Tschumi-designed Parc de la Villette. He was wearing a long collarless shirt and didn’t seem particularly tired, despite having been up early to join Laura and Deanna for a meeting with the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode.

Over the course of the week, buyers from various international stockists would be visiting the showroom to view the collection and place their orders. It’s a pivotal time during which decisions are made around what actually gets put into production and thus into the real world. It’s often the case that a collection might take one form on the runway but look incredibly different in a shop once customer appetite, fabric availability and other unglamorous but important variables have been factored in. Kiko, as ever, is very hands-­on in this process and makes efforts to ensure his vision for the season doesn’t get lost in translation.

He led me to a room in which various looks were sequestered that for one reason or another would not be shown to buyers. There were items that were too expensive to put in production, or perhaps unnecessary variations on a core style. He’d also kept back a run of simple looks in more muted tones. Many buyers tend to gravitate towards darker colours and simpler cuts – commercial pieces that they know will sell well – and he didn’t want these pieces to eat up budget that might otherwise be spent on more exciting pieces that he would rather see in stores.

In the afternoon Guillaume Steinmetz, Anaïs Lafarge and Romain Joste, the owners of The Broken Arm, paid a visit. Along with Dover Street Market, the Parisian boutique is among Kiko’s longest-standing stockists and pivotal in championing what he does. “They buy more with feeling. It’s always very personal,” Kiko told me. The trio arrived as Kiko and I stood outside. They wore full-look Prada and advanced slowly and in unison down the narrow road. The sun silhouetting them from behind made the encounter look like a fashionable Western movie.

Inside they gathered around a table and inspected a pair of shoes before clearing a rail and trying things on as Kiko talked them through. They began to assemble and disassemble looks, finding their own logic within the collection.

Later, in a cafe where he drank a soft drink that smelled faintly of hay and citrus, I asked Kiko if it made him self-conscious, having his clothes appraised in front of him. Some things being grabbed and immediately put on a rail and others looked at politely before being set back where they were. “Not really,” he said. “They can’t buy everything, and I find it interesting to see how other people interpret what I’ve shown.”

The reviews of the show were in and, positive. After a week filled with endless large-scale productions with 60-plus looks, people seemed energised to see something tight and confident with an impressive level of technical skill. “For a long time fashion has slotted Kiko into a conceptual space when he is, underneath all the imagination and fascination, one of the most competent, surefooted, and clever designers of wearable and luxurious menswear in the game,” the Vogue Runway write-up enthused. Kiko was proud, and happy, but admitted he wasn’t one to linger upon a show.

He was already thinking about what to do next. He wanted to keep fine-tuning his production. He wanted to continue to grow and diversify his business in a way that might allow him to eventually open his own shop. One in London and one in Tokyo, and maybe New York or Los Angeles. He wanted a space where he’d not only be able to stock his own clothes but also support his friends and team. He’d invite Aitor or Kai or whoever else to produce a short-run seasonal collection, to bring their own strong point of view to the fore. Perhaps it would be well received and other stockists would start to pick them up and support them. Maybe that would be the start of something great. He needed to think about it a bit more. Probably have a long shower or take a moment to sit quietly before going to bed.

But first, he had a new collection to sell. And a trip to Japan for ASICS. And two shop installations to do in the States. And then the womenswear collection in September. And a couple of special projects he couldn’t talk about yet. And then another show in January to start planning. And a studio to move. And then, and then, and then.

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CONTRIBUTIONS

Photographic assistance by Victor de Halleux and Louise Oates. Grooming by Tomi Roppongi at Julian Watson Agency using Weleda. Production by Chris Cowan and Webber Represents.