Kate Ahn, aka Killla Kate, is famous for her sensual, liberating and decidedly nude self-portraits, so it’s ironic that her earliest memories of self-expression involve getting dressed. Where childhood Kate used clothing to discover self-determination within a conservative upbringing, adult Kate celebrates confidence in her individuality by hand-painting explicitly detailed images of her own nakedness.
But it seems everything comes full circle; not content with Instagram tiles and gallery walls, Ahn’s creativity traverses traditional art mediums to take centre stage on amethyst bed sheets, economical string bikinis and figure-hugging baby tees. Much like the subjects of her artwork, no material is off limits and her latest canvas arrives courtesy of Eva Korsten and Dave Hendriks’ cult footwear brand YUME YUME, as the collective offers up three signature styles to Ahn’s paintbrush.
Outfits in the YUME YUME universe begin at the feet, while the Amsterdam-based brand plans to fulfil a long held ambition with the launch of its first ready-to-wear collection later this year, YUME YUME’s shoe offering will always be its bedrock, a ground-level invitation to construct your own reality without comprising on comfort or consciousness. Named after the Japanese word for dream, the label goes a step further and turns dream maker, stretching the power of colour and structure to reinvent traditional Japanese silhouettes with a mind for the future, a future in which fashion is kind, considerate and playful in its artistry. The introduction of Kate Ahn’s artwork is another step towards making a reality of the brands own dream of intersecting different disciplines and perspectives to form an entire YUME YUME world.
The capsule pairs Ahn’s favourite YUME YUME styles with her own unique illustrations. In a departure from its gorp origins, the Camp shoe mid is adorned with a cloudy dreamscape of baby blue, aptly named ‘Laced’ for the complimentary ribbon that criss-cross into bows overtop, Ahn’s interpretation adds an ornate innocence to the shoe’s trademark puffy proportions. The wrinkled vegan leather of the Fisherman boot has been splashed in a love potion titled ‘Mini Me’s’, a captivating knee-high fantasy of contorted limbs intertwined with a heart that expels a hot-pink diffusion. While YUME YUME’s iconic square-toed slingback sandalsthat invite you to walk a day in cupid’s shoes, continue their campaign to spread love wherever they go, as the ‘Nudles’ artwork wraps the curves of Ahn’s physique around the arches of the shoe’s inflated straps and heart-shaped 3D heel. Beneath Ahn’s undiluted and unapologetic imagery, each pair in the collection retains the directional silhouette, sustainable materials, classic craftsmanship, inclusive size range and cushioned footbeds that mark them as part of the YUME YUME family.
The Kate Ahn takeover is a holistic one, fusing her own visions of love and freedom with the YUME YUME ethos to craft shoes as an act of love, and an ode to originality. Their combined creations sell the ultimate fantasy: that it’s worthwhile to express yourself and to be yourself. YUME YUME x Killla Kate are constructing a new reality, one where rebellion can be cute, resistance can be playful and revolution can be sexy. Don a pair of Kate Ahn painted YUME YUME’s and visit ‘OH NO IM N★KED!’, Ahn’s solo digital exhibition at Terminal 27, to take an almost literal walk in their world.
Heels or flats?
Sexy or cute?
Boobs or butt?
Kate: Both. Why choose when you can have both.
Talent: Vik @vikmelnikk Anti-Agency @antiagencyldn. Photography: Lowe Holton Seger @lowe_h_seger