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Fashion's New Optimism: Alice Kirkpatrick

As a part of the December issue's new designers feature, we have extended interviews with 18 designers, starting off with Alice Kirkpatrick.

Alice Kirkpatrick, 23, British, Womenswear

Where did you study and why did you decide to study there?
I studied at Central St Martins, keen to spread my wings from Sherwood Forest I was told it was the best university for my field so I gave it a go!

Which city do work in and for what reason?
I live and work in London.  Although I do eventually want to go elsewhere I love the gritty raw inspiration that London gives me.  I hope the economic recession will being new and exciting times for creatives.

What films/books/tv-programs/moments and stories inspire your design now?
I have been reading the book ‘Apocalypse 2012’ by Lawrence E Joseph on and off for 1 year now as it is a very difficult and disturbing read but it has a very strong influence on my work.

In your own words describe your last collection.
My last collection arrived from various starting points. I wanted to create my ultimate dream women. My muse became a female James Bond; very strong, independent and sexual she had all the power and excitement of the aspirational man. It all sounds a bit Destiny’s child but I like the idea that she was the leading species in a world destroyed by the male powerheads of the 21st century. I researched art deco, fascists uniforms, armour and insect camouflage amongst many things to get the designs I wanted.

Describe the moment you realised you wanted to be a fashion designer?
My GCSE art teacher told me to go to St. martins and study fashion. I had thought about advertising or fine art but being a fickle teenager I dedicated the next 4 years to fashion and luckily got a place at uni.  It has been a relatively young obsession.

Who is your all time fashion idol?  
Michelle Lamy and Daphne Guinness have incredible looks but I think you can only be them to pull off their look.  

In a sentence how would you describe your work/style?
I create concepts, which give birth to characters of sexuality and power infused around the elegant female form.

From the recent S/S 09 shows, which shows were your favourite collections, and why? 
I loved the long dresses and blazers of Jonathon Saunders for the graphic block colours...Louis Vuitton always make me excited.  The women looked so aggressive and sexy, I loved the whole package. And of course Gareth Pugh, I thought his collection was incredible this year, I am very excited about how his clothes are developing.

Which new designers do you respect and why?
Having worked for Gareth Pugh I have the up most admiration and respect for him. Its been the most amazing experience to see how he has risen and I guess he has shown me that with a lot of hard work it is possible to create your dream!

If you could go back in time and experience any fashion moment, what would it be?
I would have liked to have been designing in the 1980’s when Thierry Mugler and Gianni Versace were holding the fort.

If you could get any model/ anyone to wear your clothes, who would it be - who is your muse and why?
I tend to create a muse for each project, give her a name, a job and a favourite drink and use a collaboration of body parts and features to create the ideal. Right now I would have Anja Rubik’s head, Irina Lazareanu’s legs, Lara Stone's sexiness.

If you were to shoot your campaign and you could get your dream team of photographer, stylist, and model and do anything you wanted, who and what would it be?
There would be an infinity pool disappearing into an intense and moody sky. I would love to work with Mert & Marcus as their aesthetic is one that I have always felt works well with my ideas. For a stylist I would like to do this myself, alongside my friend Christopher Murdoch as we understand each other when it comes to creating our perfect woman. And I would use Linda Evangalista in her younger days; the perfect strong, sexy yet elegant woman.

Where do you see yourself/your label for A/W 09?
I am missing A/W 09 as I need to make money to begin again, although I would like to get a small collection together just to keep my inspirations up to date.

Where do you see yourself/ your label for A/W 29?
Ideally I will have an established label, great women buying and wearing my clothes, and I see myself on a yacht, with a tan and a young waiter bringing me cocktails whilst I dream up SS30.

Tell us any anecdotes about the making of your last collection.
Whilst fiddling with a thread on the industrial sewing machine I managed to sew the needle into my index finger the day before our first line up! Luckily it missed the bone but it was quite the harrowing experience.

If you weren’t a fashion designer what would you be?
I would love to try my hand at art direction for fashion advertising.
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