Interview with Johanna Kühl of Kaviar Gauche
Published at L'Officiel Italia on 12th March 2015
Fairy tales can come true – lately on the runway of Kaviar Gauche. For their winter 2016 collection Johanna Kühl and Alexandra Fischer-Roehler presented graceful couture dresses – and only dresses – that were inspired by feminine creatures in Greek mythology and the legends of deities.
The voluminous floor-wafting gowns created a romantic look that was still extremely sexy due to artfully applied transparency. At times zippers juxtaposed with the filigree materials, leaving an urban appeal. Sumptuous gem embellishments and flounces were given proof of the duo’s handcraft and tailoring expertise.
I met Johanna Kühl during Berlin Fashion Week backstage at the artistic space of Italia Palazzo where their show took place and talked about nymphs, new collaborations and the lust after abstinence.
What is the theme of your current collection?
From the beginning it was all about femininity and sensuality. Of course, these are themes which are always in our focus. But this time we really wanted to concentrate on the dress. It’s our core element because we started with dresses before we included the bridal couture and red carpet looks. So that was our starting point. The initial inspiration eventually came from a painting at the Musée D’Orsay, that we had seen in Paris during our last show there. It’s called “Les Oreades” and is by the French painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau. There are flying nymphs. And that led to the whole nymph-oreads-theme, sensual beings from legends and mythology, as well as this elusive nature of women.
That fairy-tale-like spirit?
Yes, exactly. The women in these mythologies are mostly very feminine, with curves, long hair and very little clothing. We translated that into different elements. For instance we deconstructed lace in its component parts and then partially readjusted them manually so that individual lace appliqués are created with a 3-D effect. That is of course an immense work of craftsmanship – it really is couture. Not haute couture, we would never claim that, but couture, a lot of handwork. And everything is manufactured in Germany and Italy.
Which other elements feature the collection?
Most notably really are the floral lace appliqués. Basically our inspirations arise from nature, we work a lot with blossoms, flower and animal details. This time we adjusted blossoms made of vinyl like little worlds.
What are the other fabrics?
The typical for us – lace, chiffon, organza, mousseline.
Leather not so much, but we included it. We will also offer jackets and tops for the collection, which are not shown on the runway. We really wanted to have a clear message: dresses, dresses, dresses.
How come so?
There’s a really strong request from our shops. The evening dresses are sold out immediately. Some things might not work out for us, but the dress always does (laughs).
Are there projects or ideas you could recently fulfil?
At last the couture is a new way of working for us. The immersion in these couture details was really a lot of fun for us, we could really celebrate that, even though it was a lot of work as well. Apart from that we developed a limited edition make-up series with Catrice. It’s great to create our own look and to evolve colours.
Do you still have that shoe cooperation with Selve?
Yes. This time the shoes are reduced, efficient, if you will.
What kind of shoes?
We felt like doing high heels. After all this time of understatement we really lusted for femininity. You see all these reduced designs and think they are cool, but at some point you think, now you need volumes and short dresses and details again.
Do you have any projects planned for the future?
There are a lot of requests. Also in the beauty area. And lingerie. These are things we really like to do.
You are very open?
Yes we are really extremely open, just because it’s so much fun for us. We fancy variety. And also like other products – not always just fashion. We both had tended to be product designers. We would also like to design lamps, things that constitute a room.