From taking Levi's from work wear to a viable premium denim brand, to designing labels for wineries, Rikke Korff's work is as varied as any major designer in the industry. With her newest line, The Furies which she brings to San Francisco boutique Azalea on Thursday November 11th, Korff is set to take the sportswear world by storm.
Style Wylde caught up with Korff just before her trunk show to chat about style, personal aesthetics and the immortality of the sheath dress.
SW: How did you first become interested in fashion?
RK: I grew up with design and craftsmanship. My father designs and builds yachts. My mother never worked in design, but was very creative around the house. Interior decorating, making me clothes and she drew me paper dolls when I was a kid. Then I could make them clothes and accessories.
My most vivid TV memory from when I was about 10 years old was the fashion rapport from Paris on German television. We could see that in Denmark where I lived. It was amazing and from that day on basically all my drawings turned into fashion illustrations. Women in extravagant outfits. Lots of huge shoulder pads and spiky hair. This was in the early 80’s…
SW: After serving as Design Director for Levi’s premium denim lines Red and Vintage what made you decide to start your own line?
RK: It was coming for a long time. As your mind never stops and mine seem to be preoccupied with ideas, changing a current situation or fixing a fashion problem, I naturally accumulated a lot of ideas to brands or products that would never fit with the Levi’s portfolio and it therefore felt natural to eventually go independent and release some of those ideas. Push the industry from a different angle.
SW: Who is the Korff Kounsil?
RK: The Korff Kounsil is a vision I had quite a while ago. The idea was to work with a very small tight group of people with talent, drive and ambition to make a difference and change in the industry. I wanted to get an all star group together that had similar goals for their area of expertise. This way we can even with a small team perform professionally and effective in most situations. We are currently only 6.
I see The Korff Kounsil as a brand. A brand with a point of view and a distinct aesthetic. The Furies is our first label and we are currently working on label # 2 which will launch for Fall 2011. More labels to come in the future.
SW: Do you feel designing for Levi’s helped shape your personal style, or the style of The Furies?
RK: I think, aesthetically, I was already tuned into the style of the brand before my first job at Levi’s. From when I was quite young my interests in music, Americana, street and youth culture started shaping my own aesthetic in that direction, but spending 10 years with a brand definitely also leaves an imprint. I feel that some of the very valuable lessons I learned at Levi’s was about making product that work, not wasting time making things that are really not going to have an effect on either the industry or peoples wardrobes.
I try to use that in the vision of The Korff Kounsil in general.
The Furies is a line that starts merge the world of fashion, seasonality and newness, with the world of classic or core product. Product you can fall in love with, then come back and get more. It not a fling. Just like Levi’s.
SW: Your mission in designing The Furies has been described as “to make women who rock, look like they f*&#n’ rock", can you elaborate on this for us?
RK: The Furies is really a simple jersey line. But there is a sense of directness and boldness to the aesthetic. Much like rock n’ roll. It’s not very common to find women’s product that feel rock n’ roll even if it’s studded and black. Most times the feeling is more fashionable and the essence of rock, the simplicity, the directness and the defiance, is not present. I like to put a little defiance in everything I do…
SW: Where did you draw inspiration for your collections?
RK: The idea was to make a line for women that is appropriate to how we live our lives today. Making garments that make life easier and more pleasant. Not complicated or uncomfortable as I find a lot of women’s fashion to be.
Taking inspiration from how men are able to throw a t-shirt on and look sexy and strong was what I wanted to attempt to do for women and from a woman perspective. So, starting with the American male jersey T-shirt borrowing lines and shapes from the soft, simple and graceful asia, and The Furies was born.
SW: Looking at the Fall 2010 The Furies collection, we see several loose, draping pieces that are sexy but not overly clingy, and do you see fashion moving away from the 80’s-inspired “body con” dresses that have been everywhere in the last few years?
RK: Silhouettes change, not seasonally, but every so often, 10 years or so something shifts and aesthetics are adjusted. When you manage to get the world in skinny jeans and leggings naturally the world of tops will change accordingly. Tops have for a while I think been going looser to balance out the very skinny bottoms.
So, to answer your question, yes, I think we will be seeing a tendency to looser silhouettes for a while still. That does not mean that slim or sheath like silhouettes are gone. The balance between two different shapes has just shifted, leaving room for new ideas and a new silhouette.
SW: Any future plans for The Furies that you'd like to share with us?
RK: Yes, we will finally have our website for The Korff Kounsil, and The Furies updated with lots of new information. We are planning to have it up by Dec 1st starting with the web store. The site will be growing over time, and more features will be added including an integrated blog. It’s something I’m really excited about as it will be a great communication tool for us. We will have a way to express thoughts and ideas that go beyond creating a brand or product and we will introduce ways to have a dialogue directly with readers, wearers or interested parties.