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Focused and fixated on a ‘preppy ensemble with added edge,’ Mychael Knight steps away from creating a look for summer to tell us about what the future holds.
WORDS JEN PRUDHOME
PHOTO OF MR. KNIGHT ALEX MARTINEZ
The client for the day is, Mychael. We say it is all well deserved for a designer who has kept himself productive as both a designer and businessman.
Rather than get wrapped up in a second round chance at winning Project Runway as an All-Star, Knight spent time sewing his fashion sense for Fortune 500 companies including Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and Nike.
“At this point of my life, I’m confident and competent in the flavor I bring as a designer. I’m not in a place where I feel like I need to be directed in that. The aesthetic I have and bring to my brand, there’s a value in it.”
Appreciated is an understatement, it is precisely Knight’s unforgettable sense of direction and design that led him to this point. People continue to believe in his work and ability. After a short hiatus from appearing on the coveted New York Fashion Week (NYFW) schedule, Knight returned in September 2011.
His bold Spring 2012 ready-to-wear collection featured a mix of neon separates embellished with stone beadwork; celebrities and fashion editors were amongst his supporters. Several years after Mychael Knight exposed his work to millions, the same design sense and brilliance will be the driving force in his latest retail and creative developments.
FASHION INTERVIEW (Q&A)—
Jen Prudhome: What led to your decision to show a ready-to-wear collection during NYFW versus something experimental?
Mychael Knight: I’ve always been a designer who wanted to do things that was wearable and approachable, but still had some interest in something that was special and different. It had been five years since the last time I showed in New York and felt like it was just time. The collection is one that I worked on a few years prior, but I was scared of it and thought there were certain things I wouldn’t be able to pull off so I put it away. An opportunity came from my sponsor, Red Bull, who approached me about showing for New York Fashion Week. I pulled the collection back out, redesigned some looks and shifted some things around. All stars were aligned with the timing: my anniversary with Red Bull, plus having a collection that was designed and ready.
JP: Your accessories collaborations for Spring 2012 were fantastic. How did those relationships start?
MK: With the handbags, Mel Boteri is a friend of me, and I had actually pulled some handbags for a previous collection. This year I wanted her help again, and when I came to her she said “why don’t you just design something and we’ll do it together?” We were just two friends putting our heads together wanting to do something bigger and better. For shoes I collaborated with Messeca New York. They showed me a couple different shoes, and I told them which styles and colors I was interested in. Similar to Mel, Messeca expressed how they wanted me to design my own footwear, from the leather, to colors, to the type of heel. A few styles are still available on Messeca.net, the handbags will be available for purchase at MychaelKnight.com – I was really happy about how it all turned out, [explicitly] ready-to-wear and wearable.
JP: The designs are not completely intended for entertainment. That seems to be what an audience forgets while attending a fashion show.
MK: The way that I see it, the actual fashion show production is the entertainment. The clothes presented, that’s the business of it all. And I always end up explaining that, I don’t just willingly do a show anywhere. A lot of people don’t realize, in these times, it’s all about the business of [fashion]. I’m working on a deal now to produce my first manufactured for retail collection. You’re actually the first press related person I have mentioned that to. I’m always aware that the garments are intended for sale.
JP: What can we expect from your Fall 2012 collection in comparison to Spring 2012?
MK: I know the palette is light; I really try not to think about it. When I get to the point and space of not knowing I just try to let it go – and then, it all just hits me. This collection is going to be much smaller and all the pieces are going to be beautifully worked. The last collection was ready-to-wear and that was on purpose because I wanted to see the response along with the accessories and shoes. My new collection is going to have a story.
JP: We noticed that people hold you to a standard broadcasted almost six years ago. Designers and the fashion business are constantly evolving. Tell us about your evolution.
MK: As a designer I am a lot more adventurous. I’m not an avant-garde designer, and I’m okay with that. Fashion design is just like music, there are many genres of designers. I really like to produce clothes that women can live in. I think it really has a lot to do with the fact that some designers who create ready-to-wear clothes tend to sacrifice that just to venture into the fantasy of fashion. I can say I have a really good balance between the two styles. At this point I’m going to continue doing what I do because it is appreciated.
MYCHAEL KNIGHT SPRING/SUMMER 2012 COLLECTION: