Such a truly humbling and exciting experience it was to spend a day with and interview Ekaterina, the designer behind the luxury fashion label Ekaterina Kukhareva and diffusion line EK.London. Despite the hiatus since the last ‘In the starlight’ feature, which is an interview with Anna-Paola, it is always a pleasure getting to know the people behind the brands we love and want to know so much about.
Before meeting Ekaterina, my expectations were of the Ukraine native arriving to her London studio, adorned in jewels & wearing one of her fabulous couture gowns. But I was pleasantly surprised when the designer arrived dressed casually chic in neutral tones and minimal accessories. She was also very meek and softly spoken. Before the interview, Ekaterina & Maddalena, the brand’s pr manager, took time to show me around the spacious Ekaterina Kukhareva studio. Where I was able to view past and new collections, as well as a special behind the scenes experience of the creation process, which was phenomenally inspiring.
THE STUDIO TOUR
Ekaterina Kukhareva’s creations exude confidence, quality and glamour, but to touch and feel, is to truly know the intricacy, time and technique that goes into every single piece. Not limited to just clothing, the talented Ekaterina also puts her creative flare into homeware, shoes and accessories. The brands unique knitwear stance means they do not mass produce their pieces. This allows them to create stand out pieces as well as bespoke designs.
The designers break-away brand, EK.London is a more young, fresh but sophisticated, fun and edgy knitwear line. It certainly has more mass appeal and is ahead of the trends.
Getting a glimpse of just how much work actually goes into the whole design process is truly inspiring. So much so that I suggested Ekaterina start giving tours of her studio and workshop. This will enable people to truly appreciate the quality, craftsmenship and prices that go into her work.
You can view the fabulous collections on the Ekaterina Kukhareva and EK.London websites, but to know Ekaterina a little better, I asked her a few interview questions. To find out about her personal inspirations, hobbies and favourite things as well as what Russian culture, quality, old ladies and a close call with Beyonce mean to the designer, keep reading.
Favourite source of inspiration:
EK: People on the streets are inspiration to me. The way they dress and mix colours and culture. I’m also inspired by places & people when I travel, like one of the collections was inspired by the tropical islands. Everywhere and everyone is different and it inspires me how I’m going to interpret that in my work.
Favourite way to relax:
EK: My favourite way to relax is to draw. Drawing sketches, patterns and designs help me to switch off my mind because it’s just me, my pencil and sketchbook.
Favourite collection of yours to date:
EK: My favourite collection so far is called ‘Fairytale’ which was Autumn/Winter 13/14. This is because it was inspired by Russian culture and the older women who preserved their limited wardrobes and wears through the war times.
Favourite piece from your current collection:
EK: My favourite piece from the current collection is the gold floral cape dress. It just looks really great on and it emphasises the figure while not revealing too much. It makes the wearer feel very special and quite ethereal.
Favourite food to eat:
EK: Sushi! It’s just awesome.
Favourite song of the moment:
EK: I like all kinds of music but right now I’m playing Coldplay & Beyonce’s “Hymn for the Weekend” on Spotify. Which is weird because she actually loaned some of my pieces for that music video, although she didn’t end up featuring them.
EK: My favourite colour is light pink. I don’t know why but I think it’s a really delicate colour and good with any skin tone and even on boys including my son.
Favourite animal to be:
EK: My spirit animal would have to be a Tiger because it represents the year I was born and I do believe you kind of act in the way of the year you were born.
Favourite fashion season:
EK: Autumn/Winter is definitely my favourite fashion season because as a knitwear designer, it means I can create heavier pieces as well as be more elaborate. With summer, you have to make pieces really light and airy and it can be really difficult when you have your limitations of colours.
Favourite fashion experience so far:
EK: My favourite fashion experience in my career was doing successful fashion shows at fashion week. Because they’re really tricky to do successfully even when you do have experience. There’s so much more that goes into creating a great show and you go through all kinds of emotions when planning and producing them for which preparation can take 2 months. So I know how much work the team really puts in, so having that success at the end of the shows, its a feeling I can’t explain, like euphoria.
Favourite goal for the next year in fashion:
EK: I’d like to promote the EK.London collections more which is the diffusion line. Having them in various boutiques would make them more accessible and attainable for the wider public. I can see EK.London collaborations in places like Topshop, River Island, Marks and Spencer’s, Anthropology and much more.
Favourite word to sum you up:
EK: KNITWEAR! Everything including cushions, clothes, everything, shows my love and passion for knitwear.