Traveling by design

For Kobi Halperin, design is in the details. 

His canvas begins with a monochromatic palette, but his final portrait tells a story of dedicated craftsmanship and cultural richness.

“It’s about making the woman feel feminine and celebrating wearing clothes,” he says. “It’s not just about covering herself.”

The designer of the eponymous brand recently showcased his Spring 2016 collection at Bloomingdale’s in White Plains. The collection features tassels, collar and sleeve embroidery, belted waists and bead and threadwork in lightweight materials, such as satin, silk and linen. He offsets his neutral color palette with shades of red-orange, navy and indigo and counteracts the solid colors with cheetah, Ikat and tribal prints.

But much of the collection still embraces classic black and white.

“Neutrals are the best,” he says with a smile.

Each piece was made with versatility and comfort at the forefront. The silk blouses, such as the Dakota Embroidered Silk Blouse ($398), include a built-in shell to provide coverage, and the belted styles, such as the Josie Abstract Print Silk Dress ($498), can be adjusted as desired, “for before and after lunch,” Halperin jokes.

“The whole idea is that you can wear it this year and you can wear it next year, and it’ll always be a good investment,” he says.

Halperin recently joined the fashion market, but he isn’t new to the fashion world. Having worked as the creative director for Elie Tahari and Kenneth Cole Productions for a number of years, he chose to launch his own line in January 2015.

“We’re 1 year old and we’ve been in stores for seven months,” he says.

Halperin draws inspiration from various cultures, including his own. The designer, now based in New York, was born and raised in Israel and has strong Eastern European roots. Bohemian-Hungarian undertones, such as cloth drapery and fringe detail, are commonly featured in his clothing.

But this season, Halperin turns to Southeast Asia for inspiration.

“Every collection is designed by my traveling and my journeys,” he says.

After visiting the Philippines, he was intrigued by the country’s unique textiles, which include Ikat prints, tassels and beading that is woven into clothing to mimic the appearance of jewelry. He incorporates each of these elements into pieces from his collection, such as the Adeline Long-Sleeve Printed Blouse ($348) and the Florence Silk Beaded Halter Blouse ($348). Audience favorites at the Bloomingdale’s showing included the Maribel 3/4-Sleeve Embroidered Coat, a straight-line linen jacket featuring three-quarter sleeves and a belted waist in a tribal print ($698).

“There is so much richness in the culture,” he says. “I brought back amazing pieces and started to recreate them.”

Halperin was also inspired by Henri Regnault’s “Salomé” (1870), an oil on canvas in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. During a recent visit, he used the femme fatale’s bold appearance, along with her antique-by-way-of-Victorian-style dress and the animal print rug beneath her curling toes, to inspire his more urban pieces.

But one of his favorite items in the collection is a simple pair of black trousers — the Alexandra Slim Ankle Pants ($198), which he dubs “the magic pants.”

“They put everything in the right place, if you know what I mean,” he says with a smile. “It’s all about remembering there’s a body behind it and following the contour of the body.”

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