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Kitten by Kate Bowman NY fashion label
Courtesy of Kitten / Kate Bowman

Kitten is the coquettish new label nailing the naked dress

‘It’s a combination of chic cheerleader energy and Victorian silk gowns reimagined in sheer silks – the perfect outfits to flirt in’ says founder Kate Bowman

Like plenty of labels before it, Kate Bowman’s fledgling brand was founded when the 26-year-old model couldn’t find the kind of dresses she wanted to wear. Based out of Los Angeles and New York – just like Bowman herself – Kitten is the new go-to for the flirtiest of girlies, with an offering made up of coquettish, see-through mini slips, ruffled chiffon Bardot tops, cutesy baby-tees bearing paw print logos, and nipple-flashing lace-trimmed singlets (though logo-emblazoned pasties are also available for the shy fashion fans out there).

“It’s a combination of chic cheerleader energy, Victorian silk gowns reimagined in sheer silks – the perfect outfits to flirt in,” explains Bowman. Despite having little knowledge of how to start a brand, and even less skills when it comes down to knowing her way around a sewing machine, last year she decided she couldn’t wait any longer to try her hand at making clothes. So far, it’s paid off, with Kitten finding fans in model and foodie Gabbriette, and musicians Blu DeTiger and Sabrina Fuentes of NY indie rockers Pretty Sick. “I’m so happy I dived head-first into Kitten with no real game plan but a lot of,” she says. “I’m so happy with all our success so far, and it wouldn’t have been possible if I’d not just put myself and my art out there.” 

Get to know Bowman better below, as she discusses who she’d love to see in Kitten, her fave conspiracy theories, and her nightmare blunt rotation.

Hey Kate! First, let’s take it back to the beginning. When did you first become aware of the power of fashion?

Kate Bowman: Being a teenage girl is a masterclass in learning how to express yourself via the way you dress. Everything you wear can have a deeper meaning: a reference to a song lyric (think Lana del Rey little red party dress), an outfit copied from a movie (think Rosemary’s Baby Peter Pan collars), or even an interpretation of an iconic moment from your favourite book (think Eve Babitz and her SoCal ease in dressing to be remembered).

How and why did you start your brand? 

Kate Bowman: Kitten is my ultimate daydream. I started the brand because I wasn’t finding the pieces I was searching for: chic cheerleader energy, Victorian style gowns reimagined in sheer silks – the perfect outfits to flirt in. True passion is waking up every day with a vision in your mind. I couldn’t stop thinking about making clothes, so at 25, I decided to take the leap into starting a brand. I create each piece fully sustainably from deadstock fabric I source in Los Angeles, where my manufacturing team is also located. 

How would you sum Kitten up in three words?

Kate Bowman: It’s a first-kiss, it’s flawless, really something: it’s fearless.

Tell me about the collection. Do you have any fave pieces?

Kate Bowman: My favourite piece currently is our Jam Dress, which I named kind of ironically after my dog. Puff-sleeve perfection paired with a triple tiered skirt is the dress I designed to turn heads. Up next, we have a special silk bow top in production right now that I am really looking forward to wearing on summer evenings.  

“Kitten is my ultimate daydream. I started the brand because I wasn’t finding the pieces I was searching for: chic cheerleader energy, Victorian style gowns reimagined in sheer silks – the perfect outfits to flirt in” – Kate Bowman

Did you have a freakum outfit when you were growing up?

Kate Bowman: Pink capri pants, an “I Love London” t-shirt with a Union Jack heart, and clogs. I wore this outfit on the first day of elementary school and then pretty much every day after as long as the weather would allow. 

Do you have any style icons? Or who would you most love to see wearing your clothes? 

Kate Bowman: I’m lucky enough to have seen some of my favourite artists and it-girls in Kitten already: Gracie Abrams, Camille Charriere, Maria Zardoya, the Carlson sisters, and Blu de Tiger, to name a few! I would love to make Phoebe Bridgers something special. Taylor Swift is my number one dream client. My style icons are Brigitte Bardot, Isabelle Adjani, and Naomi Campbell. Classic is classic for a reason.

What would your ghost outfit be?

Kate Bowman: A long white sheer slip dress and a lace veil. I think I would be very good at haunting.

What’s your star sign and are you a typical one of that star sign?

Kate Bowman: I am such an Aries, it’s a little ridiculous. I was born during a blood moon in April skies on a Thursday night.

What would you call your biography? 

Kate Bowman: Blood Moon Baby.

What’s your weirdest internet obsession?

Kate Bowman: Drive and Listen is a website that virtually drives you around your favourite city. You can even listen to the local radio station or play your own music. I feel so much inspiration in the back seat of a car looking at the world passing me by. This site brought me a lot of comfort during quarantine.

What conspiracy theory are you quite into?

Kate Bowman: UFO Drawings From The National Archives is a book by David Clarke that I’m obsessed with. The book is filled with drawings and photographs collected between 1962 and 2009 by the British Government’s Ministry of Defence that were made available to the public. The UFOs were submitted to the MoD from all over the UK and the similarities across the sightings are eerie and undeniable. The truth is out there!

“My nightmare blunt rotation? My ex-boyfriends” – Kate Bowman

Who is your nemesis?

Kate Bowman: There are so many people in my life who have failed me or betrayed me or hurt me, but even so, the answer is no-one: I believe everyone should have a beautiful life and experience peace. 

What would the line-up be in your nightmare blunt rotation?

Kate Bowman: My ex-boyfriends.

You encounter a hostile alien race and sound is their only mechanism for communication. What song would you play to them to inspire them to spare you and the rest of the human race?

Kate Bowman: “Hallelujah” sung by Jeff Buckley.

Head here to shop Kitten, with sizes running from XS to XL, plus custom orders available for those with larger bodies.