We spoke to Ekaterina to discover more about her inspirations, her style and how she is breaking boundaries and giving knitwear a new lease of life.
-Your AW 2011/12 Collection is very sophisticated and wonderfully glamorous, but how would you describe it?
My AW11 collection was created with a modern woman in mind who needs very little accessories as the clothes themselves are heavily much embellished, very elegant and chic.
-You are very clearly inspired by your Ukrainian/ Russian roots, but what else inspires you?
I feel inspired by the vast majority of everything in the world around me, such as: people, nature, but mostly I have been inspired by historical artifacts and specifically for this collection my main inspiration came from my recent find- a book on the House of Romanov, my visit to Moscow Kremlin and Church of Saint Basil. I have always wanted to create a collection based on my knowledge of Russian culture. We have seen a lot of designers for instance: Karl Lagerfield, Dolce&Gabbanna, Roberto Cavalli being inspired by Russia and interpreting their own way of seeing the culture, religion etc. With this AW2011 collection I have portrayed my inspirations with the help of intricate fabric woven details as well as having simple cuts and silhouettes.
-This collection is based on the Russian Tsaritsa, what other women inspire you in both designing and in general?
I am inspired a lot by a modern woman because she is an individual who tends to have a lot going on in her life these days: family, work and therefore a woman who has to balance a range of tasks. There are a lot of women out there who are able to manage all these tasks and I really look up these women.
-You have said you are interested in Queens of preceding periods, why the intrigue? And who is your favourite Queen of all time?
Yes I am interested in designing collections inspired by queens of previous eras. The reason for this is because there are certain artefacts, knowledge and books that we can read on their life, but also a lot that is left to our imagination. For instance Cleopatra- an inspiration for my previous collection. There have been a lot of books, facts, films made about her and every century there would be a movie made showing her differently in each one of them. As a result of this I decided to create my own version of how I see her.
-Do you have a muse?
I do not have a certain muse in mind, but every time I design a collection I imagine a woman and how I would dress her, what is she like, who is she, where she comes from.
-Who is the definitive ‘Ekaterina Kukhareva’ girl? What is she like?
She is sexy, elegant, aware of her body. She has her own personal style and is effortless chic.
-Are all of your designs pieces that you would wear? Who are you designing for?
Yes I always try and think about what would women wear and I tend to try it on myself first. If there is a piece that I would not dare to wear myself, I would rather not make it. At the end of the day I would like women to wear my collections and make them as comfortable as possible.
-You graduated from Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design with a degree in Textiles specialising in Knitwear. Why knitwear?
I did not know what to choose at the begging and I had a choice of weaving and knitwear to pick from. At the end I thought there are so many things I can do with knitwear, also I was quite interested in the technology side of it all and how different stitches are created.
-Could you see yourself ever designing a collection that was not predominantly knitwear?
I think I could try it, but I really see myself more as a textile designer first, as I create my fabrics from scratch so I have got more freedom in my designs than other fashion designers.
-Designers such as Mark Fast are giving the world of knitwear a new lease of life, is this something you aim to do? And if so how?
Yes I think it has been a while now since knitwear has been renovated and made modern. It is part of my job as a textile designer to give knitwear a new life and brake boundaries of knitwear being considered as a grandma’s sweater, scarf or socks. There is now a generation of young knitwear designers such as : Mark Fast, Louise Goldin, Derek Lawlor, Sandra Backlund, who have a fresh feel on knitwear and this is something I would like to follow as well, develop new techniques and approaches, to brake boundaries of conventional knitwear.
-What is your own personal style?
I have a casual style when I work, I try to dress into something plain and comfortable such as jeans and t-shirt. But I definitely have more knitwear in my wardrobe than anything else. I do love to dress up for special occasion and sometimes it takes me a long time.
- What are your five must have items for summer?
Long maxi dress, knitted/crocheted cardigan, which is perfect for summer weather in London, flower printed skirt/dress, neon pink/orange coloured tops, jumpsuits.
-What are your favourite trends, past and present?
Favourite trends are brightly coloured clothing and knitted or crocheted cardigans accompanied with long maxi chiffon dress.
-Who is your favourite current designer? And why?
Louise Goldin is definitely the one to watch! I always follow her collections. I find is amazing how she uses the new techniques and new technology in developing new collections.
-Tell us a random fact about yourself
I’m perfectionist and sometimes it is frustrating for instance when I work on a garment I get involved so much, it is hard to control myself and try not to overdo it.
-Tell us three things you just can’t get enough of
Summer days, sleep, sweets
-And finally, what’s in store for Ekaterina Kukhareva over the next six months?
Over the next six months I hope to show my next season’s collection in London and at the moment I am in touch with a few shops all over the world to arrange the stockists.
With the aim to make knitwear glamorous and elegant, Ekaterina is set to shake up the world of knitwear, one seductive Tsaritsa inspired piece at a time.
Original published source: http://balladof.co.uk/2011/07/ekaterina-kukhareva/