The own label and Mugler designer’s fashion world started at home as an eight year old, but he now sees London as the place to be
After graduating from Central Saint Martins College in 2009, David Koma showed his first full collection at London Fashion Week for spring 11. Since then, his modern, sculptural aesthetic has earned him a coterie of prestigious international stockists including Harvey Nichols, Bergdorf Goodman and Luisa Via Roma. In late 2013 he was named artistic director of the French designer womenswear brand Mugler.
Can you tell us a bit about your background, including where you grew up and studied?
I was born in Georgia in eastern Europe and moved with my family to Saint Petersburg in Russia when I was eight. I studied fine art there from the age of 10, before moving to London to study for my BA and MA at Central Saint Martins.
What sparked your interest in fashion?
I’ve been interested in fashion for as long as I can remember. I started drawing at a very early age and I remember sketching designs when I was eight. I was always fascinated by the female form and the beauty of a woman’s body. I guess I started designing to enhance this beauty. I always felt a strong connection to women.
At Central Saint Martins you were mentored by Professor Louise Wilson, who sadly died last year. What was the most important thing you learnt from her?
She taught me to be different, to be focused and to always have my own point of view.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
Everywhere. It really depends on the season. I can be inspired by cinematography, books, art, or even a random person on the street. The starting point of the collection is always different but it always leads to deeper research in the library.
How would you describe the David Koma aesthetic? Who is the woman you design for?
Strong, sculptural and feminine. The David Koma woman is youthful and grown-up at the same time. She is confident and happy in her life.
What are the benefits of being based in London?
It is the best place to be for a designer. The level of support you get here is fantastic; you wouldn’t get it anywhere else. London has the strongest new generation of designers at the moment. It’s a city where you can be extremely creative with your designs and still, at the same time, enjoy commercial success.
What made you want to take the job at Mugler, and how do you feel your aesthetic fits with the brand?
I’ve admired this iconic fashion house since childhood. I always dreamt of having my own successful label and working for a big fashion house at the same time, so when I was offered the position I was extremely happy to become the artistic director. The code and DNA of Mugler is very close to my own aesthetic, so I feel really comfortable designing for the brand.
What is the proudest moment of your career so far?
I will never forget my first show at LFW. It was very special for me.
Your designs have been worn by the likes of actress Jennifer Lawrence and singers Taylor Swift and Rihanna. How does that feel?
We’ve been lucky to have the support of incredible and successful women around the world who have worn David Koma, and every time I feel extremely honoured.
What is the best thing about your job?
I’m lucky that it involves doing what I love the most.
And the worst?
That I don’t have time for anything else.
What has been your biggest fashion faux pas?
I’d like to believe I’ve never made one.
When are you at your happiest?
At home with my family.