A bowling pin arrangement of tropical Toucan statuettes, clean polished wooden floorboards and a handful of mannequins create a peaceful ambience in Carl Kapp’s latest boutique in Hawksburn. Unlike the flagship Sydney store, which Kapp fondly describes as “a chaotic creative studio as well as a retail store,” the intention was to have a clean, minimal space, similar to that of an art gallery but with a Palm Springs feel. “In Melbourne there is a lot of black and darkness. I wanted to bring light and colour into the store to highlight the colour in the fabric, which is what my designs are well known for,” says the affable designer.
In his latest Spring/Summer 2012/2013 collection, dubbed Collision, structure meets softness with Kapp’s trademark draped dresses remixed in fresh colours and juxtaposed with clean tailored jackets and trousers. Using only natural fibres such as Italian viscose, linens and angora and cashmere, Kapp takes inspiration from nature and colours rather than anything thematic. “It’s about the technique and colour, with a focus on draping,” he says.
It’s his reverse design process that brings about the best results, as his understanding of pattern and construction enables him to do patterns first, drape it on the mannequin and then sketch. “I never draw anything,” he says. “I draw afterwards. Drawing is limiting.”
Paying particular attention to the fit and finish to produce beautiful, quality garments that buck fleeting trends is the key to his success as a designer. “Women start wearing colour when they shop with us. I call it the Carl Kapp addiction – we are a very client focused business,” Kapp says. A knowledge of the technicalities of textiles and fabric, especially understanding the way the garment hangs and the way it moves, has produced some of his best selling designs such as the Chameleon dress, which can be worn 12 different ways.
With trunk shows planned across Asia and the opening of another boutique in the not-so-distant future, Kapp is looking most forward to his latest project: “A much-needed holiday to somewhere tropical with birds, perhaps Costa Rica,” he says with a smile.
574 Malvern Road, Hawksburn
(03) 9510 5949