It’s hard to tell how much Kat spends on clothes because she wears most of her wardrobe inside out. Her style tends towards a vintage look even when she wears new clothes. She lets threads hang freely from the hems, tugs at them even like a nervous girl might tug at her hair. It never occurs to her that she might be pulling her precious things apart. This is how she keeps in touch with the craft behind the business of fashion. The hidden charm of neatly pressed seams, the width of a hem that is blind stitched, the true colour of the inside of a fabric versus the faded exterior. All this fascinates her. The saying beauty comes from the inside means something different to Kat than most people.
She likes her clothes to look like they’ve lived life. Like they’ve returned after a night out, a little the worse for wear but every nerve bristling with new experiences and encounters.
If blind stitching is well executed, she wants you to see it! Why should we be blind to it? It’s somehow not fair, she thinks. She is drawn to embroidered or beaded clothing but only so that she can wear it on the reverse and display to the world the labour behind the embellishment. It’s in direct contrast to people who wear labels conspicuously. She will cut the labels off. What she is interested in is celebrating the delicate hands and long hours that contributed to the garment’s beauty; the people behind the clothing, never the brand.
But make no mistake–she loves the expensive stuff, just as much as her vintage. She has vowed she will ask for a pay rise first thing Monday morning and she won’t be palmed off this time. She has had time to scour the runways now that the shows are over for another six months and there was plenty there to tickle her fancy.
She has narrowed Spring/Summer 2014 down to four essentials:
Coats; Art; Faces; Frills.
If she can manage to combine several of these elements in one garment she would be delighted.
She’s particularly excited that Miu Miu teamed lilac, lemon, turquoise and pillar box red all in one outfit.
Once in a while, along comes a piece of clothing so ornately embroidered it would be a travesty to turn it inside out. Valentino is one of the few designers whose creations she would promise to wear right side out. Of course, she won’t ever encounter this predicament. She could never afford those clothes, raise or no raise. But she can dream.
So she pictures herself attending the opening night of La Scala dressed like this:
Frills have returned to the catwalks. For Kat they never went away. Ruffles spring from her closet like jack-in-the-boxes as soon as she slides open the door. Or frolicsome puppies that’ve been kept indoors too long. They greet her after a long day and make her melt. She doesn’t approve of puny frills that trim and edge. She likes the ones that announce pure joy like banners across her torso or slice through the length of a floor-length skirt and maybe trail onto the ground. Ruffles should be high-spirited and rambunctious or not at all.
A piece of Kat’s heart remains in London, where, while at St Martin’s, she first experienced high fashion as street art.
She loved all those defiantly outrageous kitchen sink style mavens traversing Soho, Portobello Road and Clerkenwell at all hours of the day and night. Many of them, her friends, were unemployed but that was no excuse to let their style slip. Flying their freak flag with empty pockets. Phoebe Philo’s collection for Celine reminds her of these people:
Amongst all the faces that were plastered across Fashion Week; all the famous mugs, Botoxed features and celebrity sightings, there was one face that Kat was really happy to see: Kate Moss’s. No, not in real life, not yet. But one day. For now she contented herself with the glorious Giles Deacon dress that featured a famous photograph of Kate from the 90s splayed down the length of it. Kat would love to be dressed in her idol.
Kat wearing Kate.
She smiled to herself. Right, she said, with purpose. That raise. She hurried off to make notes on what she would say come Monday morning. This was long overdue.