Kiko Kostadinov: A Breakout Moment

All bets are on Kiko Kostadinov to be one of the breakout stars from the London stable of designers. By that, I mean a brand that has a real chance of commercial success in the same league as Gosha Rubchinskiy. His contemporaries – Charles Jeffrey, John Skelton, Matty Bovan, who all hail from the new generation of designers from CSM – are landmark shows in their own right, but Kiko seems to wield an edge that keeps him apart: his knack for organising precisely the right sort of collaborators. 

Kiko Kostadinov FW18 menswear show in London. Picture by Regis Colin Berthelier.

Fall/Winter 2018 witnessed quite a pronounced departure from his austere men’s show last season. This fifth collection, “Obscured by Clouds,” channelled a more meditative response to his perennial investigation into the psyche of living in a world plagued with technology, or “digital suffocation,” as he describes it. The girls wore delicate Ikebana-like head pieces while the boys fashioned lavish curls, Mapplethorpe style. Kiko had partnered with hair maestro and milliner Katsuya Kamo of KAMO HEAD who frequently works with Junya Watanabe, Undercover, and Chanel Couture. Joanne Burke provided the rustic jewellery, while the shoes were pieces taken from two of his recent footwear collaborations, one with performance-wear giant Asics and the other with Camper. The collaborations allowed Kiko to focus on what matters most: the clothes. His soft tailoring is much kinder on the silhouette this time. Kiko’s unusual use of colour and clever blend of oversized and cinched proportions displayed a poetry in his designs that was previously obscured. It all culminated in a show that felt upper crust, like the real deal. 

Kiko Kostadinov FW18 menswear show in London. Picture by Regis Colin Berthelier.

Kiko’s maturing as a designer could stem from his unrelenting stamina. On the side, he also designs for a line within the Mackintosh brand, which is due to present its third installation later at Paris Fashion Week. At Dover Street Market, Kiko’s side project with London-based stylist Stephen Mann, Affix Works, is on display. It, too, has its own line of merchandise. His sheer fortitude may have inspired Adrian Joffe’s ardent support. 

The designer is a machine in the making and this recent show is proof that he has the bandwidth to take his initial concept of dystopian clothing into an immersive namesake brand that can permeate each strata of the fashion system.


See Kiko Kostadinov's full Fall/Winter 2018 men's collection here