Amelia Karlsen turns her lens on the Bulgarian-born designer’s A/W18 collection
- TextTed Stansfield
A Friends house (a meeting place for Quakers) is where Bulgarian-born designer Kiko Kostadinov – a rising star of London Fashion Week Men’s – chose to stage his A/W18 show. Taking your seat in the square room – which appeared to be an auditorium – it was almost impossible not to be reminded of Japanese designers, who have shown important collections in similarly shaped rooms: Yohji Yamamoto’s Transformative Wedding collection is one example that sprung to mind, Comme Des Garçons’ more recent S/S18 offering is another.
Kiko Kostadinov A/W18
This continued when the show began. Kostadinov, who has previously cited designers such as Yamamoto as inspiration, seems to share a similar sensibility to the Japanese greats. He focuses on cut and construction, crafting seemingly simple but in reality very complicated garments with an almost pedantic attention to detail. And while his last four collections have demonstrated this, his A/W18 offering – titled Obscured by Clouds – felt like a much more realised vision.
He’d expanded his previously “dark and austere” colour palette to include greens, browns, pinks and blues inspired by Bulgarian pottery; he’d introduced womenswear – a more minimal, and perhaps ethereal counterpart to his men’s clothes; and he’d worked with Joanne Burke on the jewellery and with Junya Watanabe collaborator Katsuya Kamo on the hair – blond mullets for the boys and beautiful floral headpieces for the girls. In short, it felt grown up.
“I wanted to challenge the team, and challenge the character from last season,” he explained backstage. This season included some smart references, including West German magazine Twen (1959 – 1971), Barbet Schroeder’s More (1969) and La Vallée (1972) and Yves Klein’s The Foundations of Judo (1954), but also some personal touches – models sported hand-crocheted toggle bags which were made in his hometown in Bulgaria.
Less than two years out of university, Kostadinov is helming his own brand, Mackintosh 0001 (an elevated line from Mackintosh); has just released his second collaboration with Asics and is about to launch his first with Camper. He’s demonstrating remarkable resolve and clear talent. The cult of Kostadinov is gathering momentum.