(BERLIN) This season Kilian Kerner celebrates his 10th year showing at Berlin Fashion Week so we thought we’d check in with the recovering “It” boy to find out how he’s maintained his lasting appeal. Because he enjoys acting—like our sainted muse, Colette—we then followed up with the truly important questions.
BY EDDIE ROCHE
Let’s talk background!
I was born in Mönchengladbach and later moved to Cologne. Cologne is where I come from and Berlin is my home. I moved to Berlin in January 2003, so the 10th anniversary of my show at MBFW coincides with my 10 years in Berlin. It’s a double anniversary in January 2013. I dropped out of school three times and had three attempts at getting my diploma in commercial subjects until I was thrown out for absenteeism. At the time I had my first leading role in the theatre and that was more important to me than business administration. I studied drama in Cologne and Berlin until I launched my own label in 2004.
So you really wanted to be an actor?
Acting was my dream. I loved situations where I could stop being me and be someone else. There’s one role at drama school that I particularly like to remember: I was playing the 12-year-old son of the American president who was not allowed to go into the large room of the house and read a certain book. During a celebration he went and did it and discovered a big family secret. I was so involved in the role that I felt light-headed after the performance. I really loved it. I did a bit of theatre, made independent films and two or three small TV productions. But then fashion came into my life and changed everything. I was a very undisciplined person when I was at acting school. I think I was too confident about what I could do. Fashion changed me, as I was uncertain and had to fight. I have given my soul to this label. I was happy to do it and still am. It is the absolute love of my life.
You’ve had quite a few celebrities wearing your clothes. Who would be your dream client?
I’ve already been lucky enough to dress really fantastic celebs. I have lots of associations with most of them; Tom Schilling is one of my very favorite actors, Tim Bendzko used to model for me and his music is exactly what I like. I met Karolina Kurkova and Eva Padberg last year and we hit it off right from the beginning. Alina Levshin’s acting moved me so directly that I just had to write to her. I have a very close relationship to Karoline Herfurth, too. For me she’s one of the most beautiful women on earth. She is an unbelievable inspiration. It was love at first sight. This woman is so talented, so radiant, and has a very distinctive character of her own. I greatly admire her and am proud to have her as a friend.
I recently realized that I am very much drawn to women called Kate. Kate Moss, Cate Blanchet, Kate Middleton, Kate Winslet, that’s why I have named my new Kilian Kerner Senses collection ‘Dear Kate’. To dress the Kates of this world would be a dream come true.
Why is it important for you to have live music during your shows?
Music is an expression of feeling for me. Who can live without music? I certainly can’t. Live music helps the emotional work while creating a collection. For me the live music creates, on the runway, the atmosphere that I experienced while I was working on a collection.
Who are your biggest influences?
Worlds of emotions, people and their stories.
How did getting the support of Suzy Menkes help your brand?
Through Suzy Menkes I had a lot of press coverage for a while and the purchasing agents also reacted. This gave me encouragement as a designer. The fact that Suzy spoke about me so positively a number of times showed me that I am on the right track.
How did it help your confidence?
It helped a great deal. I remember us standing in front of my designs in Corner in Berlin and her praising my collection. It was a tremendous compliment. And also the interview in Quality, in which she spoke about me, boosted my confidence enormously. Critics didn’t always give me an easy time and so these statements, particularly coming from her, were very important.
We shot you on your bike. Where is your favorite place to cycle in the city?
Me on a bike? The picture must be a fake.
PLUS: The Colette Questionaire!
What’s one way of being wise?
Sleeping a lot, then you can’t get up to no good.
Where would you like to escape to?
How do you feel about the month of January?
Fashion Week, Fashion Week, Fashion Week. It’s the only thing you think about.
What pleases you?
Thinking about five days of uninterrupted sleep.
What pains you?
Unreliability, empty words and liars.
Who is your perfect companion?
My mind: it never forgets anything, but that can also be very, very tiring. There are days I’d rather leave it at home so that it stops thinking, but most of the time it’s a super companion.
What’s your favorite smell?
What do you do with enthusiasm?
Since its inception my label has been my enthusiasm. Each and every day.
What do you miss?
I am not a person who misses things much. I try to live my life in such a way that that can’t happen. Anyway, I don’t have much time for anything apart from the Kilian Kerner label. I travel to Africa often as I sponsor children there and am very attached to two of the kids in particular. It was love at first sight and a strong bond. If I miss anyone it’s the two little ones. Yes, I often miss them.
How do you feel about truffles?
I prefer gyros.
What qualities do you look for in true friends?
I have high expectations of friendships. I give a lot and would like to have my friendship returned when I need it. Reliability, honesty, frankness, loyalty—many things in a friendship should be a given, without having to be spoken about. People who don’t understand that won’t have an easy time with me.
How often are you alone?
At the moment, I’m often alone. I love having my peace and quiet. When I return home from my studio, I don’t want to talk to or see anyone. I turn the TV on and let it wash over me.
What do you wish you had realized sooner?
Doesn’t fashion have something to do with glamour?
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