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«To be successful, creativity is not enough» interview with David Koma

We met the designer during his first Italian press day

«To be successful, creativity is not enough» interview with David Koma  We met the designer during his first Italian press day

In the universe of David Koma, sensuality draws from the past all the stylistic codes of old Hollywood. Illuminated by the rays of sunlight filtering through the windows of the Reference Studios showroom, the garments of his Pre Fall 2024 collection, for the first time on Italian soil, welcome us. Bows, cut-out details, and lace inserts stand out from white and black dresses, adding pink and red accents to a dark collection. On the boldest silhouettes, large shiny feathers wrap around the chest, while on a pair of jeans, they are hand-printed in white. Enclosed within the semicircle that makes up his creations sits David Koma, who tells us about his conception of femininity. «I have always felt inspired by women and wanted to celebrate them, not only for their physical beauty,» the designer explains. «The David Koma woman I have in mind is a complicated character, a so-called modern femme fatale, strong and self-assured, with sophisticated sex appeal. She is also full of contrasts: tough yet sensual, free yet controlled, youthful yet mature. My goal is to create pieces that make women feel the most confident version of themselves.»

Over the years, David Koma's collections have drawn inspiration from historical icons of femininity: from Aphrodite, who infuses the brand with iridescent tones, to Marlene Dietrich, from whom he takes the red color of lips and nails, there is a bit of history in every look. Color, as Koma tells us, is an indispensable tool for conveying an aesthetic. «I love iridescent and metallic shades and have turned to them season after season,»he explains. «Whether incredible sea creatures or the goddess Aphrodite emerging from sea foam, these inspirations are ultimately eternal, I will come back to them over and over.» Just as the "Koma Woman" draws from disparate pages of history, the brand roots itself in distant cities, counting presences in London, where Koma studied at the prestigious Central Saint Martins university, in Paris, where he worked for years as creative director of Thierry Mugler, and in Berlin, a city to which he is very attached. «I feel very comfortable there,» reveals Koma, who says he fully identifies with both the music and artistic scene of the city. Despite the DNA of his brand being divided between Berlin, Paris, and London, he recounts, his designs found success thanks to the American market. «When my MA collection was presented at London Fashion Week, I had nine dresses,» Koma recalls, thinking back to the early days of his career. «All were immediately requested by nine mega-stars: Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue, Rihanna. We were fortunate to have the support of incredible women.» How many emerging brands, before him, can count names of this caliber among their community members?

Despite Koma's name being projected among the stars even before his name became a brand, the climb to success was not simple, as for any independent company. To succeed in this profession, artistic ability, creativity, and good ideas are not enough; you also need a good business sense, something that seems to come naturally to Koma. «It's a necessity,» asserts the designer, certain that having entrepreneurial knowledge is a mandatory characteristic for anyone wishing to embark on his same professional path. «I have always had the obsession of having my own brand, and this pushed me to work much harder,» he adds, remembering the support he received from the British Fashion Council, which included him immediately in its talent incubator, from the press, and from stylists. «After all, it's all about the business of fashion. No matter how beautiful the clothes are, if there is no business, you might as well do something else.»

As confirmation that David Koma's plans are not only about shows and collections, the designer promises that in the future we will be witnessing the great expansion of the "Koma World". After the launch of footwear and accessories, two lines of clutch bags, crossbodies, and boots bearing the designer's initials, this year he will focus everything on "Club Koma", in true Berlin style. «I am planning to expand the brand's after-parties and take them to a global level,» he reveals, but at that moment, the topic of our conversation changes abruptly. As a great tennis enthusiast, Koma comments on the results of the Australian Open, recalling his favorite players, and so it is natural to ask the designer if he has ever thought of venturing into the sportswear sector. He doesn't fully admit to working on a project related to the world of athletics, but judging by how his eyes lit up when we mentioned Sunday's finals, we may as well start picturing a Jannik Sinner in a DK-branded uniform.