Sunday 7th March

| BY Paul Toner

Kiko Kostadinov: Ready-to-wear AW21

Kiko Kostadinov is a brand that’s triumphed through the pandemic. As fashion went digital, the London-based label has turned to intelligent fashion films and iPhone-friendly, interactive exhibitions, to showcase their retrofuturistic collections. And it’s worked. Yet Laura and Deanna Fanning – the twin sisters who design Kiko Kostadinov’s womenswear – can’t deny how difficult the past four months have been.

“Winter brought a lot of the Covid delays that we didn’t experience during the summer,” says Laura, with samples arriving as late as last Monday – “we only had a day to do all the styling.” Add in the UK’s departure from the EU and the duo have spent a large chunk of 2021 on the phone with their suppliers in Bulgaria in order to retrieve product stuck in customs. “It just holds up the whole process and brings this whole red tape, bureaucracy sort of thing,” says Laura.

Despite it all sounding like a bit of a nightmare, the Fanning sisters have been able to find solace in being stuck in the studio. Missing the outside world, they wanted to channel that feeling you get when a glamorous woman walks past you in London, or Paris, into the collection. “The beauty of big cities is people watching,” says Deanna. “When a girl walks by and you’re just like, ‘Oh my gosh, I want to be her.”

Their shared fascination with the inner-city It girl led the pair to develop Kiko Kostadinov’s first leather handbag. Looking to cult nineties Japanese magazine Street, and the early aughts’ obsession with having a small bag right under your armpit – think the Dior Saddle and Fendi Baguette – they were able to distort your run-of-the-mill baguette silhouette to create elegant, architectural curvature (much to the testament of their production factory in Italy).

Pillars of Kiko’s womenswear – faux, eco fur-trimmed jackets, geometric trousers with pronounced pockets, warped tailoring – were met with satin slip dresses that dripped with giant roses and micro-cable knit jumpers that peeled from the shoulder. Twisted blouses and skirts, laden with Wojciech Fangor-inspired polka dots, make the ideal attire for a woman reclaiming her space in the post-pandemic world. “When we were thinking about those women that are so alluring on the street, the way that they dress and the way that they put together is so certain to who they are,” says Laura. “The wearer is in control of who they want to be.”

Photography courtesy of Kiko Kostadinov.