To kick off New York Fashion Week’s fall 2023 season, WWD highlights Robert Rodriguez’s new label, Koltson by Robert Rodriguez, which will hold a fashion presentation on Tuesday.
Brand: Koltson by Robert Rodriguez
City of residence: New York City
Average price point range: Designer price point with bodysuits (sold separately) from $279 to $559; evening tops from $695 to $895; cocktail dresses from $995 to $1,595, and evening gowns from $1,595 to $3,559
Retailers: Debuting this season with fall 2023.
WWD: What is the ethos of your brand and what do you hope to introduce that feels new and fresh?
Robert Rodriguez: “Koltson is a name that really spoke about the brand and what I wanted to do with it, as opposed to the brand being my surname. I wanted to collaborate with different artists and artisans and really do something that was a bit more sustainable locally — supporting our local communities, vendors and fashion industry here in New York with domestic production.”
Notes from the sustainable designer eveningwear brand echoed Rodriguez, stating, “By collaborating and supporting local artists, artisans and communities, Koltson seeks to build a sustainable platform that will change the way we look at fashion. Intertwining art throughout this eveningwear collection.”
The designer said that, “What I did was collaborate with local artist Vicky Barranguet — she did a series of paintings called ‘Threads,’ because our brand slogan is, ‘a common thread between art and fashion.’ It’s about bringing the designer and artist together to create a collection collectively. Her taking from my inspiration, and me taking from her art, to create an amazing collection that will feel very cohesive and special. [Barranguet] is very talented — her art is very abstract and modern, which is what I resonate with. I will be collaborating with different artists every season in support of their artistry and we’ll be doing two collections a year in spring/summer and fall/winter.”
WWD: Who is your ideal customer?
R.R.: “My customer definitely wants to have an experience. She wants to be connected with the brand through the storytelling, how the collection came about and the process of art and fashion. I think there’s a strong connection among women who appreciate all that, and I think that’s how my customer will connect with the brand, where she feels like she’s part of it because we’re going to do a lot of social media to get the brand out there for them to see and read about. I’m also doing a lot of different trunk shows — it’ll be more exclusive and personal.”
WWD: What is the idea behind your fall 2023 collection?
R.R.: “It’s very clean and sophisticated. My first inspiration was taking the silhouette of a caftan and recreating that. I’ve always loved caftans, but it was about taking a silhouette and reinterpreting, reworking and redraping it so it feels like something totally different with creating the art on it. There’s also a lot of eveningwear where it’s sexy, caftan-y but really special.”
WWD: Describe a key piece from the collection and why it’s important to you.
R.R.: “Crepe minidress with feathers paired with Corset slim-fit pants in silk jersey; cotton poplin bustier top with gold foiling.”
WWD: Hopes and dreams for the collection?
R.R.: “From a business side, I never go in with expectations. For me, it’s about doing something beautiful that has a different meaning behind it. It’s not about who i’m going to sell to, or how much i’m going to sell but go into this without expectations, although I do have buyers coming to the show. I’m a little bit humble in a way, where I’m going to go in, showcase my collection, feel good about it and tell my story. As long as there’s a connection between the brand and my consumer and retailers, that’s what I’m hoping for.”
Rodriguez also noted the importance of having a much more intimate, personal relationship with the clientele and more exclusive retail approach compared to those he experienced before launching Koltson. “It’s about making beautiful products and it’s sitting where it will be best showcased and curated. For me, that’s my goal.”