Ten’s To See: ‘OTTO 95,8’ by Kiko Kostadinov at Moràn Moràn Los Angeles
The key to an excellent coat is functionalism. It should have loads of deep pockets to safely secure all your nooks and crannies; the sleeve should stop just slightly above the palm – no lower, no higher; it should be warm enough to shield you from the blistering winter winds as you brave the night bus home on a Friday night. But it should also be interesting, in terms of fabric and cut, like something a smudge unusual to give it some extra oomph.
Kiko Kostadinov has become an auteur of sublime outerwear ever since his emergence onto the scene in 2016. Both for his eponymous label and at the helm of British heritage brand Mackintosh, Kostadinov has time and time again turned to the codes of utilitarian workwear to inform how his cracking collection of coats are constructed. Taking this formula off the catwalk and into a gallery space, the London-based designer is wearing his workwear inspirations on his sleeve (literally) with an exhibition that runs in tangent to how utilitarianism informs his practice.
OTTO 95,8 at Moràn Moràn gallery in Los Angeles journeys Kostadinov’s own personal connection to utility. For example, jellyfish-like sculptures are structured from disused Bulgarian Bags, a specific type of weight-training system used widely by wrestlers, a popular sport in (obviously) Bulgaria, where Kostadinov was born and grew up. As you enter the space, Kostadinov uses the initial installation as an ode to the community exuded in working-class fields of employment. The installation is dotted with mugs courtesy of Brit home improvement stores Travis Perkins and Jewson to signify the good ol’ tea, curated next to Japanese chalk-line devices to unite two geographical locations under one underlying field of both objects representing must-haves for manual labour workers.
The exhibition’s focal point sees a chorus of Kostadinov-designed Burr Snap Coats which are morphed into futuristic sculptures. The coats are assembled from fragments of Travis Perkins and Jewson-sponsored rugby shirts and over oddball composite fabric elements, which create second skins to the original coat structures. The gelling of high and low; luxury outerwear with more affordable rugby shirting, demonstrates how Kostadinov has collided workwear influences pulled from his youth with a sense of community sporting uniforms carry at their core.
A mismatch of reference points borrowed from all corners of the world, OTTO 95,8 is a totally unique sensory experience that delves into the extraordinary mindset of a designer who’s a frontrunner to be luxury menswear’s next modern great.
‘OTTO 95,8’ by Kiko Kostadinov is open at Moràn Moràn Los Angeles until December 21, 2019.