May 14, 2013

Kookai helped me get through my wardrobe dilemmas in my late teens, I turned to the label almost every week to find a new outfit to all those oh-so important parties (back then I had the confidence to pull off those bodycon skirts). I have grown up with this iconic Australian brand. I have to...

Kookai helped me get through my wardrobe dilemmas in my late teens, I turned to the label almost every week to find a new outfit to all those oh-so important parties (back then I had the confidence to pull off those bodycon skirts). I have grown up with this iconic Australian brand.

I have to admit I did go through a stage that I felt I drifted away from the brand, that was until I attended the recent collection launch and I was blown away, it has cemented itself back to the front of my wardrobe.

The new winter range is right on trend with high-end leather, lace, suede, metallics, sequins and a mix of soft wool textures. The range of accessories in the form of felt and leather hats and unique shoe designs are phenomenal and right up my alley!

I recently had a chat to Danielle Vagner, the artistic director that has her finger on the pulse when it comes to international trends and how it translates into the Australian market.

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Danielle your such an inspiration as you opened your first Kookai store in 1992- fast forward 21 years and Kookai Australia has more then 30 stores and is known for its beautiful basics and classic lines, how do you juggle being co-owner, stylist and creative director?  Is there one hat you find the most fulfilling? An inspiration…. thank you. I would like to think I am somewhat of a role model to my Kookaiettes (this is what we call our staff and brand advocates). I am very passionate about my company it has been an incredible journey and a challenging one over the last 21 years. I call myself an ‘Old’ retailer as yes I wear many hats as co-owner, merchandiser, stylist and creative director, I see all these roles fuse into one and therefore I am a retailer first. The hat I’d find most fulfilling would be Styling, dressing up and styling people is what I’m most passionate about… ever since I was 5 years old with my dress up box.

I love telling a story through styling, clothing is an expression of myself and the quintessential Kookai women.

Your recent collection ‘The Colour Of Night’ is very strong with a beautiful Parisian influence. I was lucky enough to attend the show in March and I was left gasping after each model stormed down the catwalk as I wanted so many of the pieces. What key trends will we see in this collection? the Colour of Night’ was inspired by “street style” from the streets of New York, Paris, London and Milan. Think ‘Model off Duty’ with her innate style of mixing and matching varying textures and the eclectic art of layering fabrications that make a subtle look a real point of difference. The collection comprises of Leather, Denim, Lace, Sequins, Suede, Metallics and printed silks and matches back with our ever growing accessories and basic collection. The runway show was also a perfect platform to showcase our shoe collection which is the biggest one yet –  which is really exciting.

Favourite piece from the current collection? I love it all of course.. actually my favourite pieces is the leather Chrysler Dress styled back with the Lace Nimbus Top. I wore this to the runway show and Nicole Trunfio also wore it.

The other pieces I love are the Leather Pants, arriving into all boutiques in June and the Sky Fall Jacket which is arriving in May – this is an over sized leather jacket featuring Shearling & Suede.

The campaign shots are stunning- featuring the renowned Australian model, Nicole Trunfio. This is the second season we have seen Nicole the face of the brand, and she appears to be the perfect fit for Kookai, what is she like to work with? I Love Nicole, She is a wonderful choice for a Kookai ambassador.

She is a perfect Kookai women; strong, confident, has a wonderful sense of self, innate style, an amazing personality. She is also very easy to work with.

Favourite place or city in the world? Paris of course! I love this city, it was the beginning of my Kookai story, the city where my best friend lives and to me it is the most inspiring, beautiful, romantic, magical place in the world!

Reading? At the moment I’m reading two books; The Great Gatsby – I love a poignant love story and of course it’s all the rage now since the re-release of the movie.

Grace: A Memoir (Grace Coddington)

Whats next for Kookai? Looking ahead we are reinvesting back into our store design concepts. You’ll see the new concept launch with two of our stores; Collins Street and Emporium towards the end of the year. We are also looking to expand internationally with the opening of our first boutique in Singapore. There is a customer demand in that market, so it will be interesting to see how the brand and our product offering translates. We are also currently planning our Summer Campaign photo shoot which will be shot in a secret exotic location in June- and that is as much as I can reveal at the moment…

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Wearing | Kookai Winter Felt Hat, Kookai Onyx Jacket, Anchita Tank, Zip It Up Pants and RMK Brixton Shoes

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