Kiko Kostadinov felt homesick while working on this collection. Unable to travel for research, he instead found inspiration in childhood memories of Bulgaria, where he spent the first half of his life before moving to London at age 16.
Elements of the nation’s traditional costumes, such as circular motifs seen on models’ faces and quilted fabric and silver jewelry got a modern update. Kostadinov said he wanted to “touch something folksy and make it more mysterious” through his lens.
During his research, Kostadinov also came across Bulgarian artist Nikolay Diulgheroff, who started his career a century ago in Italy and later became a member of the interwar Italian Futurism movement.
“This collection is about finding something that means a lot to us.…He is an artist from a different era but going through similar things, like repositioning himself, learning a different language, trying to fit in and be creative, competing with the local talents.…It’s about coming from somewhere and try to really fight for your place,” he said.
He reconfigured Diulgheroff’s pointy and graphic style into elements that resembled a garter belt, an addition to oversized tank tops and pants that gave a modern spin on the swinging movement of flapper dresses. The waistcoat, an item commonly associated with Futurism artists, was another highlight of the collection, offered here in a more dramatic proportion.
Overall, the collection offered a mix of the masculine and feminine. Several tops were cut from satin and lace, but came with narrow shoulder straps, a nod to Kostadinov’s father who was obsessed with bodybuilding. “This is a silhouette to highlight the body and it makes your body look even bigger,” he said.
The designer added that in order to not repeat himself too much, and make “the collection super sporty, color-blocky and patchworky” as he has done for the past few seasons, he balanced the colors with lots of monotones.
In the runway video released Wednesday and shot in South London’s Brixton Market, the designer unveiled his collaboration with Asics — a model made to celebrate the Tokyo Olympics. It will be released in the coming weeks.