Louise Goldin made her prodigal return to the runway this season after a two year hiatus from the fashion spotlight. After showing to growing critical acclaim in London as one of its rising Fashion East superstars, the knitwear genius moved her operations overseas to set up shop in New York and take some time to reflect on what's going to fulfill her next.
Kanye was like my first friend in New York, so I've had amazing experiences. He's introduced me to George Condo, the artist, for instance
Dazed Digital: Your latest collection looked so cool. I also noticed that's a word that gets used a lot in describing your work. How do you feel about the word "cool"?
Louise Goldin: I love it, I think it's really good. I'm really happy because I feel really fulfilled with the return and the collections and being seen as this cool new comer and the clothes being labeled as cool. It's good for me, I'm happy about it.
DD: Speaking of cool, how about Kanye West and Kim Kardashian as the celebrity guests at your show?
Louise Goldin: Kanye and I met actually at Rihanna's birthday party a few years ago and he and I are really good friends. He was at my wedding, he actually came to one of my earlier shows in London, so I've always had a strong friendship with him, particularly over the last few years. He's just so passionate about fashion, he genuinely really wants to learn about it and he really loves the industry and supports the industry. He is really open to meeting new people and wants to know everyone's opinion. From that side of things it was nice of him to come and support my show; he flew in from Hawaii to see it, so I thought that was really sweet. Kim as well, she's lovely. My husband works with Kanye, so I was on some of the European tour of Watch the Throne. I got to meet Kim from there. They're great people.
DD: Have they been good ambassadors of New York City, welcoming you in?
Louise Goldin: Kanye was like my first friend in New York, so I've had amazing experiences. He's introduced me to George Condo, the artist, for instance. When I went on tour with him he took me to New Orleans which was this inspiring trip. The thing is, with what I do, I have to live in factories. For this collection just now I was living in China in a factory for six weeks on my own. It's really heavy stuff; you have to be completely in this factory life. I sort of felt, by 2010 or late 2009 that I just needed to live some life. Healthy people these days do other things and that's what I did, and I think it's really refreshed my mind. I also reflected a lot on my collections, what I loved and what I thought was ridiculous, because there were some ridiculous pieces, but at the time I felt really fulfilled by knowing all that stuff.
DD: That's a great experience to be able to have.
Louise Goldin: I do think there's a lot of pressure on young designers to race against time. It's a race against time to make your collections, manage your team, deliver the goods. I work with factories so it's a hundred percent factory work and I really need quite a lot of support for what I do, you need industry professionals. Right now I have the most phenomenal factory who really believe in my line and really want to build it and that's also what I really really needed. I felt like, in the London period, that I was living in a factory over and over and over again. At the time I was consulting for Versace, so when I got engaged I came to New York and, knowing I was going to try and start here, took a bit of time to put everything in place. At that time I was really reflecting on the things I felt were strong about my work and what I really wanted to do, what I really want to wear and what I could drop and stop kind of playing with. I'm really pleased it was received as well as it was, it was a real boost.
DD: Being in New York instead of London, do you feel like the change of environment has changed the way you approach a collection?
Louise Goldin: No, absolutely not. Obviously I've always loved showing in London. I've had tremendous support in the UK so I feel really spoiled, with Topshop sponsoring the shows and having the most amazing production and all that, but the entire team at Milk Studios and Project, everyone involved in my show, were so amazing here. They really make the process feel easy. In terms of the work and environment, I take each step as seriously as the next and as long as the work is great it doesn't matter where you show. It's always going to be seen online so it's all the same to me.
DD: What were you working with in this collection, aesthetically or thematically?
Louise Goldin: I was looking at sports cars, Bugatti, that was the initial theme and research. I started by taking reference colours from various cars and looking a lot at the style lines. I think I've always had an element of sports aesthetic, whether it's in eveningwear or daywear and I just sort of evolved from there. I really wanted something neutral at the base with injections of the main color, being the peacock blue, and the elements of silver and rose gold. And the jacquard in a lot of the jackets is tyre tread, I love playing with different yarns, matte and shine. Plus I focused on the technical use of knitting machines, how to work with that in a summer collection so it was lightweight.