PAYING homage to the forgotten fashion it-girls of yesteryear, Kiko Kostadinov looks to reinvent the traditional codes of menswear through iconography of avant-garde womenswear. It is a given that Kostadinov never plays things by the book, but that isn’t to say his collections are so conceptual they lack cohesion or wearability, his latest venture evidently being no exception.
Through his artistry, Kostadinov resurrects the designs from the likes of Anne-Marie Beretta, Krizia (Mariuccia Mandelli), Irene Lentz and Sorelle Fontanna, and moulds their too often disregarded genius into menswear codes for his own creations. Subtle nods to the roster of designers are married with elements from the graduate collection of Laura and Deanna Fanning, directors of womenswear and some of Kostadinov’s closest collaborators.
All of these references can be interpreted when regarding the structural elements of the garments, many of which seem transport the viewer back to the 80s and beyond, while still proposing an entirely modern silhouette: rounded shoulders, boatneck jumpers, bold prints and oversized outerwear all add to the visual dialogue.
The garments are accented with contrasting coloured panels which help to create an illusions of a tight silhouette even if it may not be present. Kostadinov creates a sort of optical illusion with his use of block colour, and expertly layers, drapes and tucks garments on top of one another to achieve an aesthetic which has one foot in the past and the other in the near future.
Bolstering his design references and collaborators, Kostadinov also invites London-based Estonian painter Mariann Metsis to lend their designs to intarsia knits, digital prints and intriguing hardware; designs which pair harmoniously with those created by Kostadinov’s maternal grandmother, which appear across a selection of blanket scarves and felted knitwear.
The collection in its entirety is a joyous excursion through colour and reinvented icons, but neither in a way that is predictable. Kostadinov evidently has an eclectic mix of references and collaborators, but somehow all have married seamlessly culminating in an increasingly modern collection which is accessible, but also boasts deeper levels of meaning under the surface.