Fashion designer Koi Suwannagate first came to my attention when she collaborated with Phillip Lim for his Spring 2007 collection (remember those rosette dresses that were sold out everywhere?). Also in 2007, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and Vogue chose the designer as a finalist for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award. Born in Bangkok and now designing out of Los Angeles, Koi is known for her romantic designs and signature draped cashmere pieces. It's easy to see why Kirsten Dunst, Oprah Winfrey and Christina Ricci have all worn pieces by Koi! We got a chance to talk to Koi, amidst her busy schedule, about who her favorite designers are and what we can expect from her next! Read on to see the interview and check out the slideshow to see her favorite pieces from her Spring collection, as well as a few beautiful looks that you can purchase from her online store.Stylehive: How has being a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award finalist impacted your career?
Koi Suwannagate: It has opened so many more doors for me and has exposed me to new customers and clients around the world who may have never heard of me before. It has allowed me to create so many great relationships with people I really admire in the industry and can look to for advice.Stylehive: We love how you take basic prints and designs & update them with modern details like sequins, bows, fringe, & oversize buttons - what kinds of things can we look forward to in your next collections?
Koi Suwannagate: I hope to take things back to where I began, with a lot of hand-sculpted detail and embellishment. I love to drape and create interesting forms that are a bit unexpected.Stylehive: Your work is so whimsical yet elegant- where do you draw inspiration?
Koi Suwannagate: Nature, architecture, art and female body. The material itself.Stylehive: Who are some of your favorite designers?
Koi Suwannagate: Dries Van Noten, Prada, Alexander McQueen and Raf Simons.Stylehive: Your work is some of the most unique we've ever seen! Any favorite pieces in particular?
Koi Suwannagate: Look #9, #19 and #24 from my SS€™09 collection.Stylehive: Your pieces always seem to follow a very cohesive color scheme depending on the collection - how do you choose which few colors to work with in each particular line? (ie: burnt oranges with dark blues in Fall 08, then ivories & lilacs in Summer 09)
Koi Suwannagate: I feel that the season I am designing for strongly dictates what colors I€™ll use. A lighter, softer palette works better for spring as you want to feel free and for fall I like to use richer, warmer colors. With my cashmere pieces I often use multiple colors in one piece though, as there are often so many different pieces in a sweater, all the pieces mix well together. But like most designers, I do feel that you need to have somewhat of a color scheme with colors that may be very different, but compliment each other, in order to create a strong, cohesive collection.