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Photo Courtesy Kevork Kiledjian
Interview

KEVORK KILEDJIAN

02.06.12

Kevork Kiledjian, originally from France, launched his namesake collection in the Fall of 2011. As with his prior collections (Triiad and Guilty Brotherhood) his body hugging silhouettes have caught the attention of editors, retailers and customers keeping us all on the edge.

Interview

What made you launch a label under your name?

Well, why not? It all came very naturally, so I guess it was the right timing.

The collection has been noted for its racy silhouettes. What is your inspiration?

I am not sure racy is the right word to describe my collections. My designs are mostly inspired by contemporary architecture and photography, like Frank Lloyd Wright and Helmut Newton. You can see those inspirations in my designs: clean-cut and sharp silhouettes, sometimes a little bit severe, which bring a certain sensuality and elegance to my clothes.

How would you describe your customer?

I don’t want to give an age or a target customer, as I don’t think this exists anymore. Today I can sell my pieces to a 20-year-old woman who works in Denmark in the movie industry, as well as a 45-year-old woman living in L.A and working in cosmetics.

Where is the collection stocked?

I sell in the US to Maxfield in L.A, Ikram in Chicago, The Alchemist in Miami, Montaigne Market in Paris, Joyce in Hong Kong, Tsum in Moscow, Via Spiga II  in Milan and more.

What are buyers attracted to most?

Buyers are mostly drawn to my label for my leather pieces. I love to work with leather. It’s not only very sensual but it also gives you this amazing feeling of being protected.

Where did you work before going out on your own?

I’ve always worked for myself. I opened a retail store in 1992, when I was 20 years old in Cannes, all about street culture. It was the first store like that in France and People are still talking to me about it. In 1996 I launched Triiad, a complete streetwear line with a close friend of mine. It was a huge success in France. After Triiad, I was looking for a change and a new challenge. I created Guilty Brotherhood. Even if the name may sounds very urban, it was my first experience in luxury RTW.

I then had the opportunity to launch under my name. It felt right, an organic continuity if I can say.

What made you leave France to come design in the US?

I like to say that Paris and NYC are like mother and father to me: I’ve got both of those cities in my blood. I love the energy, curiosity, diversity in New York, and the opportunities that this city has to offer!

How would you compare French women to American woman?

I would say that French women are more relaxed in the way they dress. They are also very sophisticated in their own way: they’ve mastered the masculine/feminine way of dressing. American women are more feminine in their approach: they love wearing dresses, accessories, etc.

How would you compare the fashion industry in the US to the industry in France?

I would say that France needs to make more efforts to develop and protect their industry, to help more young and upcoming designers, and to collaborate more with design schools. The US is an example for that: a lot of young great designers have emerged, there is a solid Garment District, and a very strong organization.

How has your experience been showing at Milk Studios?

Showing at Milk is an amazing experience! Jenne Lombardo and Mazdack Rassi gave me the opportunity to show my first and second collections in the best conditions. Milk is a family, you want them to be proud of you!

What do you think really sets it apart from showing at the Tents?

I guess the tent is bigger so it could feel colder. I feel like when they come to Milk, people are expecting something different, a real experience.

What is the inspiration for this season?

The inspiration for Autumn / Winter is the daring Charlotte Rampling: a classic, alluring and passionate woman.  In her work as an actress, she is rebel, while remaining utterly chic and feminine.  I recently found a Helmut Newton photograph of Charlotte Rampling taken at Yves Saint Laurent.  In his image she is the personification of my woman, confident and mysterious balanced with an almost feline sensuality. These three iconic talents together are the epitome of insoumise – in control, victorious with a quiet sense of rebellion.  In many ways, like every collection I create, these three stand in a harmony of opposites.

Do you have a favorite piece or one that you hope will really catch the eye of buyers?

I really spent a lot of time on this collection, working on little details, on quality and fit of every single piece. It is quiet delicate to choose one piece!

Of course I have my little favorites…. but I’ll keep it for myself as it is a really personal appreciation.

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