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“The collection is an ode to the spontaneous élan of the flâneuse – an elusive wanderer perceived from afar in the city streets,” Laura and Deanna Fanning explained after sharing their vision for Kiko Kostadinov autumn/winter 21. “There is agency in her imperfect elegance, and purpose to her stride,” they added. While flâneur, immortalised by nineteenth-century French poet Charles Baudelaire and taken up in the twentieth century by the Situationists, is a word in the French dictionary, it’s grammatical counterpart flâneuse is not. Reimagined through their lens, the Fannings created a wardrobe for the contemporary flâneuse. When worn, this collection becomes part of the environment by sharing space with the people and the buildings you walk by. While designing a powerful sartorial response to post-lockdown explorations of a new normal, the collection embodied their collective approach to Kiko Kostadinov womenswear.
Just six months after their acclaimed CSM MA 2018 collection, Laura and Deanna Fanning made their London Fashion Week debut and marked an exciting new chapter in the Kiko Kostadinov label, the launch of womenswear. Since its acclaimed spring/summer 19 debut, the Fanning sisters have cultivated a synergistic counterpart to the menswear line, which was launched by its eponymous designer back in 2016. United by an emphasis on pattern-cutting and uniforms, Kiko, Laura and Deanna are continually pushing possibilities and igniting imaginations in this collaborative brand that houses a mutual passion for sartorial innovation and experimentation. “We want people to take away a sense of alchemy,” the sisters told LN-CC after their first collection, and alchemy perfectly sums up the shared practice of this exciting trio, blending each of their distinct voices, visions and talents into one persuasive and powerful statement.
Throughout the autumn/winter 21 collection there’s a focus on comfort, movement and multi-purpose. While square necked tops and dresses are fashioned in bright, micro-cable knit stripes engineered to allow for uninhibited stretch, kaleidoscopic satin is draped sensuously to create trailing skirts that hitch up into halter neck dresses, suits have in-built trails tucked through belt loops, and sheer turtlenecks top have sashes worked into the shoulders that can be layered or taken out and tied around the neck. This empowering collection invites the Kiko Kostadinov women to go where they want to, wearing the garments however they desire. To celebrate its launch, LN-CC invited Masha Batsii to utilise her 3D skills to design a custom cake before the artist fell down a jelly-lined rabbit hole as she picked up the baked treat. Here, Masha shares the recipe and invites her to take a stroll into her world.
Firstly, how are you, where are you and what have we interrupted you from?
Heeeey. I’m great - I’m in my living room in London, staring through the window at the light reflections crawling over a brick wall on the building outside. You haven’t interrupted me from anything, lately, I’m really trying to take everything as it comes - which I guess means the concept of interruption doesn’t really exist. Haha!
Now, how do you like to be introduced? If you can summarise yourself (what you do and why you do it) and your creative output, how do you like to do so?
I think I’m cool with ‘artist’ now. It took me a long time to get here mentally but here I am! My most recent and most cherished venture to date is We Shatter in All Dimensions And We…. (working title - the actual name will be longer) - it’s an art project in the form of a multi-faceted brand (we are launching in early ’22) and is intended to shatter the dimensions of what we think of design / fashion / luxury / technology and digital realms. Some items have been already teased online and the suspense is building!
We Shatter in All Dimensions And We is a culmination of all of the realms finally coming together! I don’t believe in ‘digital’ as its own entity, in the same way I don’t believe in the outdated and old-school business structures of the fashion / luxury market - culturally there is a huge missing link between the two. Instead of using digital media to create something speculative - i.e. “What if?” - I’m injecting it directly into the physical fabric of life and creating items that are as magical as they are applicable and also sustainable. Yes, 3D is cool but what if it actually made you feel something? Yes, $$$ is cool - but what if there was something else you could be a part of that could give you the culturally relevant look AND give you a sense of belonging?
The collaboration celebrates the launch of Kiko Kostadinov womenswear at LN-CC. What attracted you to this project? How familiar are you to the Fanning sisters’ Kiko Kostadinov vision?
You guys came to me with a design brief and when we got on a call I said - ‘I want to make a cake’ - and you were cool with that. I knew then it was gonna be fun! About the Fanning vision - I think there’s some kind of shared retro-futuristic memory there. I’ve been brought up between post-soviet and western worlds and that contrasting combination to me echoes in Kiko’s womenswear a lot. It gives me a Twin Peaks vibe - comforting but mega twisted - very relatable! The Baby Scream Cake visual story came together super easily once I dressed myself in Kiko head-to-toe.
Could you talk us through the why, what and how of this project?
It all started when I accidentally started watching a cooking show on Netflix, Chef’s Table. That show blows my mind! It follows the life stories of these amazing chefs and their processes, and how each one interprets the art of food in their own individual way - always tying in their personality, their roots, their story, in the most genuine and real way, which I rarely see in visual artists these days. What’s so special about food culture is how deeply it is rooted in nature, in agriculture, biology, mariology etc. It’s a perfect reminder of the intelligence of the universe, the unified force of each small thing working and coming together. This show is better than any formal art education! Anyway, I’m not a chef but I decided to create my own signature dish in the way that I can - using my 3D skills alongside the skills of a custom-order cake company. I grabbed my dog and we went to pick it up, getting lost and falling through a Jelly Rabbit hole on our way back. Voila! Bon Appetit! Curious if any food critics are down to review it - if they do, they will get a 3D file from me in their mail.
What do you hope people take away from your visuals?
My dream is that more people learn to walk on the borders of perception - and see the intelligence of a reflection in your wine glass, the intelligence of your twitching leg, the intelligence of everything! To feel how everything makes sense together and to glide through existence fearlessly like a beautiful fluid jelly bean. There’s a lot of stuff out there that we don’t see or ignore and if we didn’t - we could end up living in a better, kinder world!
Visuals Masha Batsii, @mashabatsii