It didn’t take me long to discover that Kathryn Beker is a girl after my own heart. In fact you could pinpoint it down to the moment where, in discussions about her transparent raincoats for Mimco, she forwarded me the clip from Blade Runner where Zhora pounds the dystopian city pavements in her thigh-high boots and clear plastic mac, only to be mercilessly shot down by Harrison Ford’s Deckard. Her second collection for 2011 takes the title COSMOS and, closet geeks unite, the sci-fi inspirations are again immediately apparent. This time it’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, and how Kubrick “as an image maker, influenced other artists and designers at the time”, Kathryn tells us when we steal a few moments of her time for an interview.
Specifically the colour palette was loosely based on Kubrick’s famed piece of cinematic work, like Beker’s red dress which took inspiration from “the space station with all those futuristic red chairs and their cut outs”; while some of the collection’s cuts have a weightless feel that gives the impression of being suspended in zero gravity. Beker’s billowing trapeze maxis are the perfect example of this. While most maxidresses you’ll find on shelf in 2011 are slimmer in cut, these take on a new shape – yet no femininity is lost. “I’ve done them in such light-weight silks so that when the wind catches them a woman’s silhouette is revealed underneath,” Beker explains.
As well as the float-in-space trapeze dresses, you’ll find shorter frocks in Beker’s collection that are rainbowed with Rodarte-esque strips of coloured silk, some gathered some neatly pleated as they fan out towards the hemline. Other pieces are more suitably day-time, from gathered leather minis to utterly wearable trench-coats.
Another thing we notice about the COSMOS collection are the unusual fastenings; peruse the look book below and you’ll spot rows of silver hook-and-eye fastenings creeping their way up the backs of dresses on strips of herringbone ribbon. Those little details, those hand-finished touches, lead me to another key point about Beker and her work – something she perhaps put best in this quote:
I use mostly natural material like silk, cotton or leather. I think it’s just as important how something is finished on the inside and how it feels against the wearer’s skin… My only way to compete with the big brands and their off-shore mass production is to offer something special and unique with hand-finished details and beautiful fabrics.
And so offer something special she does.
To view the full COSMOS 2011 collection from Kathryn Beker, click on the gallery below.