Above, left: Katie in her home-studio wearing the Rigor half jacket, Lobe leggings, and Idol shirt, all from her fall 2010 collection. Above, right: A dress made from handmade springs that Katie made for her first project at RISD.
Above: Katie and her boyfriend Nikolay at a fish market near their apartment in Chinatown. Katie wears the Pastiche leggings from her spring 2010 collection and the
Banded jacket from her fall 2010 collection with Topshop shoes.
1. "Black La Perla bra (undergarments don't seem to be especially important to what's worn on top, but for me they are perfect layering pieces.)"
2. "Black tights with the crotch cut out and the toes cut off."
3. Oversized black shirts, usually my own designs."
4. Tripp jeans, they are cheap and also a really great fit...very tight and they never fall apart."
5. My black Bat dress. This dress is from my spring/summer '10 collection, and it's great for layering.
What's the story behind the armored dress in your apartment?
"Metal was the result of my first project in the apparel design department at RISD. We were to create a wearable piece made from unconventional materials. I decided to make my piece out of metal springs. Originally, I had contacted a guy in PA (my home state) about manufacturing thousands of springs for me for very cheap. A few weeks into the project, everyone was slaving away, and so was I. I got an email from the guy—his factory had blown up, so he couldn't make me my springs. I had a meltdown, but wouldn't give up this idea of the springs. After hunting eBay for hours, I got to work on making the springs myself with an electric drill and some plexiglass dowel rods. The dress was pulled for both Lady Gaga and Daphne Guinness."
Tell us about your inspiration behind the fall line...
"I did a landscape painting to help me understand the color palette that I was imagining. After I have lots of sketches and the beginning muslins for the individual pieces, I love going fabric shopping, and I come up with the textiles that I want to use. Basically, I like to draw everything out then try to re-create what I've drawn three dimensionally. This requires pretty obscure pattern-making and lots of problem solving."
What inspired those crazy claw nails the models had at your show?
"I found an image that I had saved a long time ago of a girl's hand with gnarled nails. I really wanted to re-create the image in some way on my models for the show. My friend Mayaan of The Lake and Stars and I figured out exactly what to do: light acrylic nail tips on fire and then paint them gray!"
Above, left: In her bedroom wearing a ThreeAsFour dress. Above, right: In a park near her house wearing her running outfit—the Hallow hood jacket from her fall 2010 collection, spandex leggings, Asics running shoes, and bear mittens (when it's cold).
Do you design for yourself?
"I try to create what I would love to be wearing myself. In most cases, this is extreme versions of what you'd actually see me wearing; but it all works pretty hand in hand."
How do you get your hair that color?
"I'm naturally very blonde; so when I dye the entire thing cool blonde and use the right toner, I get a blue/gray hue. It's basically what happens to the grandmas you see that have light pink, purple, or blue hair. They had a little chemical accident with their color and the toner mixture...or they're just really cool."
Tell us a little about your apartment.
"Our apartment is a tiny one-bedroom, but it has huge windows with lots of light. I live here with my boyfriend Nikolay and our cat Sveater. Having my apartment as my workspace is difficult, being that I cut everything on the floor, and we eat where the laptops are and own two chairs—but I manage fine!"
Who do you find inspiring from a style perspective?
"I don't really have anyone I watch—I'm terrible. I've been wearing versions of the same thing since I was 14; it's just gotten purified."
What's your style theme song?
"My last show had a lot of Current 93 and Coil on the soundtrack. The next one is going to be a bit more Eurodance-y. Hi NRG remixes. Nikolay is good at picking these."
What reading material can't you live without?
"I just went through Yukio Mishima's Sun & Steel again for design inspiration."