Karlie Kloss is a supermodel whose own fame and success put her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri on the map, and she just returned to her old stomping grounds yesterday to host her very own fashion show. Kloss designed a collection for Express that features a set of wardrobe staples that the model herself lives in day-to-day, and now, you can, too. Hosted at The Pageant music theater, Kloss extended an invitation to several St. Louis natives and young women around the country to enter a contest to win a chance to walk in the show. Fun fact: It's the same theater where Kloss walked her first runway show a dozen years ago, when she was just 13.
"It was this charity runway show — stores donated clothes for it, for example — and I was part of it because it benefited my friend's family, and because it was a whole community effort," Kloss told Refinery29 of her very first catwalk experience. "I was scouted to be in the runway show, and that was really the first time I'd ever considered the idea of modeling; I didn't even think about it as an actual job, whatsoever, I just thought it would be a fun thing to be a part of." Kloss would, as we know, went on to grace upwards of 35 covers of Vogue, be featured in top campaigns and on runways across the globe, and boasts a cool 6.5 million followers on Instagram. But Kloss has stayed true to her roots, never forgetting where she came from.
"It's just so surreal to me, the fact that I'm back here, 10 years later. And that I designed this collection and got to really create this experience for other girls to have. I remember that first runway show and how nervous I was, but I was so honored to be a part of it. That was the first of many experiences I'd go on to have on the runway, and it was just something that I will never forget. And I wanted to share that with them." The models ranged from beauty bloggers to fashion bloggers to book club founders, and featured the second hijab-wearing model we've seen on the runway recently since Halima Aden.
The collection represents Kloss' easy-does-it street style, and truly lives up to its reputation as being the only essentials your closet needs, since its 17 pieces can be styled in over 100 ways, and can fit in a carry on-sized suitcase, and it's affordable, too. The prices range from $24.90 to $168. There are embroidered bombers, T-shirts, going-out tops, workwear staples, and even a couple of cheeky pins to dress up day-to-night looks.
"Throughout my career, and this process, I've really learned the power of clothing and how it can make you shine brighter and feel your best," Kloss told us. "When you put something on that you feel really good in, it makes you hold yourself differently; that's what it comes down to. I wanted to empower girls that feel good, and to create a collection that women could have that keeps up with womens' busy lives." In addition to playing designer, Kloss has a successful YouTube channel, and founded her own charity, Kode With Klossy, that provides scholarships to young women and girls who share her love of coding. A handful of '"koders" could be seen dancing around the runway to tunes by Charli XCX, who closed the show with a handful of her Girl Power-style anthems.
As for Kloss' go-to outfit that gives her the most confidence? After the last model took her strut, Kloss walked out in a white pantsuit (no confirmation on whether or not that was an ode to you-know-who, but we can dream, right?) to greet the crowd. But whether she's in a power suit or blue jeans, she's all about a statement pant. "I'm very tall, so I love a high-waisted trouser. Finding jeans when I was 13 was impossible: I never had pants that went past my shins, so I'd always wear high boots to cover up my short pants. Creating the perfect power pant was important: I like to pair them with just a T-shirt — simple and chic." Well, you heard the boss.