She’s known for her love of print, colour and an innovative use of textiles and it looks like designer Kitty Joseph’s SS14 won’t disappoint on any of those fronts. Inspired by sun chasing and holidays, Kitty talks us through her SS14 collection which we recommend you wear with a Pina Colada in hand.
YOUR LATEST COLLECTION IS INSPIRED BY THE FACT THAT YOU HAVEN’T BEEN ON HOLIDAY SINCE YOU STARTED YOUR LABEL, HAVE YOU STILL NOT BEEN ON HOLIDAY?
I actually have. The collection was more about me craving another one! I had an amazing time visiting friends in San Francisco last year. I met so many gorgeous people, danced around a giant beach bonfire, played with miniature dogs, attended an Easter Sunday ‘Hunky Jesus’ competition and waved off a busload of Easter drag queens on their annual trip to Reno. (Thank you Jasmine and Corinne for having me!)
WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO?
Right now I am craving big expanses, landscapes and skies. A place where I could escape the bustling mentality of the city. The internet would be banned! I’d have to look and think about stuff. My Mum grew up in Australia and I’ve only ever seen a tiny glimpse of the continent connected to my family but have been seduced by the idea of huge expanses of desert, scrub, the few untouched islands off the coast of Queensland. I’d like to go on a driving tour across the australian outback, dirty jeep etc, armed with a sketch book and handsome driver companion (I don’t have a license). I’m sure I’d be wildly inspired and worldly wise on my return.
HOW DID THE SIGNATURE PALM TREE IN THE NEW COLLECTIN DEVELOP? WHAT WAS IT ABOUT THAT SPECIFIC DESIGN THAT ATTRACTED YOU?
The palm tree for me and many is a symbol of the exotic. I was sitting in my Bermondsey studio fantasising about some tropical resort holiday that would have gone down a treat and looking at a pile of old masking tape on my desk. I started doodling palm trees with the tape and that turned into the SS14 print.
HOW IS THIS COLLECTION DIFFFERENT TO PREVIOUS YEARS, WHO CAN YOU ENVISAGE WEARING IT?
I think as a print maker, this collection is really my most seamless fusion of print and clothing. Absolut Vodka supported me on another exciting project this season which gave me the budget to really push the mainline forward. My good friends Tope and Olwen ordered pieces this season so envisaging my friends in the collection and people like Kim Howells and Zandra Rhodes in pieces is so inspiring and encouraging. My friends are my muses!
YOU TOOK YOUR LATEST COLLECTION TO PARIS THIS YEAR – WHAT SPARKED THAT DECISION AND WAS THE RESPONSE DIFFERENT TO THAT IN THE UK?
At the moment my focus is on really pushing the brand forward to commercial success. It is so important to do this so that the creativity can continue. Paris is a great place to meet international buyers and this has been a particularly great season for us in terms of acquiring some great new accounts.
YOUR COLLECTIONS IN GENERAL ARE VERY MUCH FOCUSED ON COLOUR. HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT COLOURS TO USE, AND WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE COLOUR THIS SEASON AND WHY?
I could never choose a single colour. Colour is so relative. You never really see a single hue in isolation in real life, and the real joy of working with colours is with mixing them and seeing the relationships that unfold. So each season is never about finding a single hue, but exploring a harmony. The SS14 colour ways were inspired by the story of light hitting the palm leaves throughout the day, from morning to afternoon, dusk to moonlight.
IS THERE ANY ASPECT OF THE FASHION INDUSTRY YOU HAVE COME TO DISLIKE OVER THE PAST YEAR OR SINCE YOU STARTED YOUR OWN LABEL?
My philosophy is quite simple, to surround yourself with people you respect and admire and like. I have such a supportive network around me in the industry that my experience so far has been really amazing. Working with Kim Howells each season is wonderful as she always understands the vision and brings something new to the table, breathing new life into the collection for me after the long graft of creating it.
YOUR GRANDPARENTS MET AT ART SCHOOL, DO YOU THINK THAT HAS INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO PURSUE ART/TEXTILES AND SEE IT AS A CAREER?
I think that growing up with colour and painting and sculpture around the house definitely influenced me. However these things were never elevated to being something out of reach or self indulgent. Instead they were kind of essential and normal. I don’t even remember consciously making a decision about my career at a certain point, it just evolved and felt right, inevitable almost.
WHAT IS THE FUTURE FOR KITTY JOSEPH? DO YOU THINK YOU WILL ALWAYS WORK FOR YOUR OWN LABEL OR CAN YOU SEE YOURSELF WORKING FOR A LARGER FASHION HOUSE?
I love to collaborate, to work on projects with other brands and I really enjoy consulting and teaching as a sideline. However my heart is with my label and exploring new ideas around colour and print, and joys that come with seeing this creative output grow and develop into a strong business.
YOU WORK WITH NEW TECHNOLOGY AND HAVE MADE SOME GREAT FILMS. DO YOU THINK THERE IS A DANGER THAT THIS FANCY TECHNOLOGY AND COMPLICATED EFFECTS COULD OVERRULE TRUE DESIGNING AND FASHION TALENT?
I have said this before but I think that you should use any technology as you would a new box of paints. You take them and mix them according to your own needs. And you always make sure you wash and dry the brushes when you’ve finished!