Bulgarian designer Kiko Kostadinov is incredibly meticulous in his approach to design. Nothing you see at a Kiko Kostadinov show is for the sake of it. Designs that appear simple are often the pieces that took Kostadinov the longest to craft. He works tirelessly, researching and finessing each idea till it reaches a peak. Kostadinov and I spoke last season about this all-consuming work ethic - no sooner has the last model left the runway, he is already looking to the next season, looking back at the latest show, judging what went wrong, what didn’t resonate - learning from his self-proclaimed flaws. Last time we spoke he had intended to only take three days off in the year in order to adequately research and design for this show.
Kostadinov’s S/S 18 collection was dystopic, utilitarian and austere, looking to serial killers and David Lynch for inspiration. It seems a rebuttal to last season’s darkness and indeed Kostadinov’s self-inflicted lack of free-time, that this season was a breath of fresh air, remarkably light. Entitled 'Obscured from Clouds' this collection drew reference from Barbet Shroeder’s cult classic More, a film that depicts two lovers in the mountains of Ibiza. It’s hedonistic - there is real drug use in the film - and no happy ending, but it's beautifully emblematic of a sunny escape. Apt too, that the show was held at Friends House in Euston, a Quaker’s house. Indeed, there was silence as press filed in - unusual but actually rather meditative.
The show began with womenswear - a first for Kiko. Headpieces by Katsuya Kamo, twists and tumbles of baby’s breath and juniper, were atop each model and immediately evoked the feeling of being amongst nature. Beautiful micro corduroy felt earthen and warm on calf-length dresses. A mock-cowl neck flannel two-piece was both modern and mid-century and nodded to Yves Klein’s The Foundations of Judo cited as a reference. The female form was complimented with his simple and flattering silhouettes - not bad for a first attempt.
Menswear followed suit with each model sporting a blonde wig - which felt a little eighties Scandinavian mountaineer. Sky blue cycling shorts, seafoam green nylon jackets and a new collaboration with Camper on their TEIX hiking boot, all alluded to the character of a carefree sports enthusiast. As too, did the triple dart trouser with blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kick flare. Zips are prevalent and intentionally visible - Kostadinov’s workwear aesthetic is still prominent here. A new take on the fanny pack/cross body bag appeared in swathes of fabric overhead and underarm - not too dissimilar to a baby sling carrier. These had zipped pouches on front and back. Perfect for keeping belongings strapped in when hiking in the hills and getting lost in the bracken.
Both the womenswear and menswear - shown separately - were sporting Kostadinov’s Asics trainer collaboration. I’ve never warmed to Asics - a brand Kostadinov has been passionate about for years - but these were glossy, slick and in strong pottery-like tones; altogether enticing. Likewise, and again with reference to Bulgarian pottery, crochet toggle cross-body bags in shades of green, cream and grey were delightful bejewelled additions. I will certainly be running to buy.
Kostadinov seems to be on a climb himself, project after project, success after success. I look forward to seeing which summit he conquers next.