Stretchy, curvy and a touch of leather

Credits for David Koma’s Autumn/Winter 2015 Collection – Stylist: Elodie David Touboul; Hair: Karin Bigler at Jed Root using Bumble and bumble; Makeup: Andrew Gallimore at CLM Hair & Makeup for Nars Cosmetics; Nails: Rebecca Jade Wilson at Jed Root using Ciaté; Lingerie: Triumph; Shoes: Malone Souliers x David Koma; Casting: Piergiorgio Del Moro. All images courtesy David Koma.


Fashion designer David Koma may be based in London, but he has plenty of fans on this side of the pond, including Mary Jane Denzer, whose eponymous White Plains store near The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester carries his designs.

“I love the clean, sleek lines of his collection,” she says of the ultra-body contouring silhouette created by his sculptural statement dresses. “He knows how to shape clothes to a woman’s body. And that’s what women want.”

His designs — which use stretch wool, thick jersey, leather and embroidery — are both curvy and angular, often within the same dress.

“I just love to play with the balance of contrast,” he writes in an email interview, “whether it’s a mixture of unusual textures, colors or playing with soft and sharp.”

Those contrasts are apparent in his Autumn/Winter 2015 Collection, where his trademark angles meet and marry cyclical cutouts, knitwear, macramé lace and ruffles in a salute to the 1960s and ’70s. Necklines are high, but then, so are the hemlines in a series of black buckled wool dresses, while orange, indigo and beige play homage to the likes of Pierre Cardin, he of the Space Age designs.
Equally out of this world are the space cadet-style sandals that along with stilettos are the first fruits of Koma’s collaboration with Malone Souliers. Also a first for Koma — a resort-wear collection that builds on the ’60s theme of A/W 2015. Look for nods to Rudi Gernreich’s monokini cutouts and mosaic swimming pools in separates, short shifts, dresses and cropped jackets that use a spare palette of off-white, black, beige, gray and sky blue and fabrics ranging from leather and jersey to crepe and silk.

Koma was born in Georgia — the Eurasian country, not the American state — and studied art in St. Petersburg, Russia.

“I am still very keen on art. When I have some spare time, I usually go to exhibitions or art fairs, trying to see as much as I can,” he says.

“It doesn’t necessarily influence my designs directly, but sometimes it might be helpful to look back and recall a certain artist. …I also do some oil painting myself, but not that often anymore,” adds Koma, who counts travel, music and vintage clothes as other inspirations and family, friends and TV as relaxations.

Not long after debuting his first collection at the ripe-old age of 15, he headed to London to study at Central Saint Martins, one of the leading art and design schools, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in fashion design and a master’s with distinction in 2009. That same year, he launched his label, which presents two women’s wear collections a year during London Fashion Week.

In 2013, Koma became creative director of Mugler, the fashion house begun by Thierry Mugler, which requires working with a different team in a different country with a different approach from start to finish, Koma says. The Thierry Mugler woman, who Koma has been credited with reinventing, is also different from the David Koma woman.

“I think both women have much in common. They are beautiful, strong, successful. The Mugler woman is more mature and ‘tailored.’ The DK woman is a bit younger and more playful, experimental with her style.”

Recently, there has been criticism in the press — namely by Vanessa Friedman, fashion director and chief fashion critic of The New York Times — regarding a return to using very young models. But Koma says, “When we cast models for the show, it’s not about their age, color of the skin or anything else. It’s more about a certain spirit, attitude, experience that we want to communicate to the audience.”

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