Kiko Kostadinov's Sci-Fi Equestrian Thriller SS20

The thing with British designers is, you forget just how short of a time it takes them to reach international acclaim and stardom. Take for instance Kiko Kostadinov, Spring Summer 2020 was only the eighth menswear collection for his eponymous label, after only having graduated from the MA fashion course at Central Saint Martins three years ago, and having already had sell-out collections with Stüssy and Asics, whilst also being nominated for best menswear designer at the British Fashion Awards last December and having been shortlisted for this year's LVMH Prize.

Staged inside the chandelier-lit ballroom within the decadent and historical Plaisterers' Hall, for this season, Kiko was inspired by the Kentucky Derby episode of Netflix Documentary 7 Days Out. It reminded him of the strict menswear calendar that often requires its designers to work extensively, like for example over the Christmas period - particularly for the Autumn / Winter shows. "They spend a year in intense preparation for an event that takes just a few minutes," he said. "And that reminds me of the fashion industry."

Usually you find a Kiko Kostadinov collection is packed full of references ranging from contemporary workwear to a vast array of film and art references. Everything from David Lynch's Lost Highway to German artist Martin Kippenberger's The Happy End of Franz Kafka's Amerika. This season however saw him pay homage to British equestrian uniforms throughout the centuries whilst in-keeping with his twisting of a sporty, modernity sci-fi element. This was evident in the capes, the cycling shorts, the reversible racing satin jackets, the footwear (again made in collaboration with Camper and now in the designer's fifth season with Asics), and especially in the use of bold graphics. This was the first time the designer has used graphics in his work - derived from old vinyl artworks but reworked in a way that made them completely fresh and modern. "We spent so much time referencing old artworks but clashing them to make it look completely new to us," Kiko said backstage. "We spent as much time on the clothes as we did on the graphics."

Kiko Kostadinov so far has made it very clear that each season he starts completely fresh ie. no references to previous seasons, no reusing the same patterns as seen within previous seasons, as much in so as throwing the patterns out etc. from these seasons to avoid temptation. Instead, measuring the progression from season to season in terms of cut and silhouette. This season however, in a way sort of went against the grain and brought all of his past collections, including the womenswear designed by sisters Laura and Deanna Fanning (which has felt a little distant and separate from his menswear) together essentially. As far as to say that this collection married both the men's and women's collections together in this really beautiful, celebratory way. This season felt like a new chapter for Kiko Kostadinov, and in a way it spoke to the customer I don't think he's quite spoken to so far.

Images courtesy of Dazed Digital and Vogue Runway
The Wolf of High Street