VELOUR’s Fashion Editor Violaine Bernard talks to designer Daniella Kallmeyer.
VB:Can you describe your seasonal muse (this SS13 and next fall) / what kind of inspiration you are looking for when you design?
DK:I love androgyny, sportswear, and menswear. I also love seeing a woman’s personality come alive in the way she dresses, especially when its super clean and classic. Theres something so intriguing to me about effortlessness. For Spring 2013 I was really inspired by the detailing in high endourance summer sportwear, 90’s streetwear, and pastels. For Fall 2013 I fell in love with a black and white vintage ski photo and really created a whole story about the characters in the picture and the detailing, styling, and proportions of their clothes. I used a lot of techy fabrics juxtaposed with sophisticated classic styles, and a rich color pallet.
VB:How do you go about research?
DK:I often start with a single concept, image, color story, or idea and from there I create a story thats usually made up of as many chapters and footnotes as possible. I usually experience a really complex journey and sometimes end up in a very different place than I started, but I always say, the end result should be more beautiful than the explanation.
3- Who is the woman that you might imagine wearing your collections?
She’s a woman who doesn’t take her style too seriously but always wants to look put together and sophisticated. Maybe influenced by a more European aesthetic. She is someone who appreciates style over trend and values quality and simplicity to build a lasting wardrobe that will feel fresh no matter the age or season.
VB:What about collaborations? Anyone you would like to work with?
DK:Where do I start! I grew up involved in so many different things and artforms and to this day dont consider myself just a fashion person. I would love to collaborate with a shoe brand, or costume a show, or a restaurant, or a hotel. I wake up and go to bed every day with so many ideas and dreams for collaborations, when the time is right, I look forward to exploring as many of them as possible.
VB:Tell me about the music you’re listening to (if any) when you work.
DK:It changes every day. One day all I can stand is Madame Butterfly and the next day its Frank Ocean. Most days I like having something more vibey in the background like Blood Orange, Grimes, The Knife, or Glasser. I also really appreciate female rappers right now, I just discovered Angel Haze and I think she’s dynamite.
VB:I would love to hear what you think of fashion nowadays and how girls dress (in NYC and in general)
DK:I come from the school of thought that quality trumps quantity. People say they appreciate that but I think most people are so desperate to keep up with all the influences and genres that inspire fashion, and there is so much saturation and turnover in the garment business that its hard to maintain that kind of integrity. At the same time I cant help but be inspired by how much the fashion and entertainment business has penetrated the influences of society and pop culture, and visa versa.
VB:Do you read fashion magazines?
DK:Yes. when I have time. I get my daily fix of WWD and The Business of Fashion. I love the lifestyle stories about tastemakers and influencers. Editorials are so amusing, but nothing is more inspiring than an artist’s sneak peek inside his private island villa, or the big family dinner party of fashion royalty.
VB:Where are you from and when and why did you move to NYC?
DK:I always find that to be a funny question. I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and was blessed to grow up around around a lot of culture. I grew up outside of DC but I think I considered myself a New Yorker since I was a kid…we used to come up here to visit my grandparents and when I was old enough I would stay with my grandmother and study at dance studios or intern for fashion designers. When I went to school in London I think I grew tenfold as a person creatively, emotionally, and culturally, but I knew I would end up back in New York one day.
VB:You got to work for Lee McQueen. Did you love working for him during the era when you worked for him, or did you wish you could have worked with him in another time?
DK:I loved working for him when I did, I only wish I had been there longer. I came in right when McQ was taking off and I was lucky enough to be able to contribute on a small design team and a wearable collection, while having the resources and experience of the atelier at my fingertips. I’ll never forget the day Lee came in to check on research and development for the line and was notably impressed with a bleach technique and color story I was presenting. He barely acknowledged me for the idea, but the simple glance and nod of recognition was just the right moment of humility and confirmation that I still hold with me to this day.
VB:What do you love/hate the most about being a designer?
DK:Sales. Theres nothing I love more than making clothes for women to wear and seeing people make my pieces their own, but its so hard to maintain creative clarity and intuition as a young designer when your business is being dictated by the trends of bigger designers and the taste of the store owners and buyers who are the right fit for your growing brand. But fashion is amazing, Im constantly being inspired and filled with ideas at every moment, and when that inspiration comes, it has little to do with sales and business.
VB:When you started, who helped you create your brand and identity?
DK:I think Im still creating it. There are so many women, muses, and influences in my life that inspire and shape the brand’s aesthetic, but the brand identity is one of longevity that exists in a really transformative and ever-changing time right now for fashion and culture and therefore is still being developed as I grow as a designer and business owner.