STYLE

Designer Mikhael Kale keeps technique top of mind as he ascends fashion ladder

10/14/2013 06:00 EDT | Updated 12/14/2013 05:12 EST
TORONTO - While colour, prints and patterns may be of primary focus for fashion consumers, it's the painstaking process that takes place long before the garments hit the racks that's key for Mikhael Kale.

"I think my work has always been about pattern-drafting and technique and really about I think complementing the architecture of the body. So I spend a lot of time really looking at pattern and a lot of time dissecting it," he said. "At the end of the day, I think it's really a study of the body and expressing it through fabric."

Craftsmanship and fine-tuned attention to detail have long been top of mind for the Toronto-based designer, whose sleek, elegant creations have been worn by such high-wattage stars as Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez. Kale is primed for his own turn in the spotlight as he kicks off Toronto's World MasterCard Fashion Week on Friday, set to stage his show at a 20,000 square-foot loft in the process of being renovated.

"It's just this raw space that's incredible," he said.

Kale has made significant strides from his early days dabbling on his mother's sewing machine. Growing up in a household full of female family members, he had a front-row view as their style sensibilities transformed over time, serving as a source of fashionable inspiration.

Prior to launching his eponymous label in 2007, Kale bolstered his international resume with studies and work abroad.

At age 19, he headed to London to attend Central Saint Martins, a prestigious fashion design school that counts Stella McCartney and the late Alexander McQueen among its notable alumni. He also worked in Milan with fashion brands Antonio Marras and Bally.

While attending school, Kale said the emphasis was placed on designing, colour concepts and blocking rather than sewing.

"You're supposed to hire a team to help you sew something and execute it, but really, my interest was always in technique. It was always in taking a garment and turning it inside out because it seemed so architectural, it seemed so complex," he said.

"Even when I was really young, that's one thing I did, is turn it inside out and sort of see how it was built.

Kale's spring-summer 2014 collection is inspired by the geometry in existing silhouettes, encompassing slick separates and lush dresses.

"There's a lot of cutouts, a lot of shadows ... and it's all based on colour," Kale said of the line, which boasts muted yellow, blue and pink hues alongside prints.

Sleek leather motorcycle jackets with bold cutouts are among the eye-popping standouts in the new range. Kale took the unconventional approach of constructing the garment on an actual model, playing with lighting cast on the model to create geometric patterns.

Kale said he feels fortunate to have established a following among his female clientele whom he described as "confident," "strong," and "well-aware of fashion and direction."

"I think they're women that like to take risks and like to challenge themselves when it comes to fashion and I'm really fortunate to have that," he said.

"I think not a lot of people have that — have a following of people who support what they do, and I've been really fortunate that way. So I do consider them. They're sort of my main idea of what I want to do."

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Online:

www.mikhaelkale.com

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