The biggest dream of a fashion designer is to follow in the footsteps of the legendary Haute Couturiers of the past. In life, Every artist grows with a certain aesthetic to look up to, someone that inspires their vision and creativity.
This story is about an ambitious couturier who followed his dreams and made it to the top of the world with his enduring creativity, the one and only Kobi Halperin, who has now spearheaded the upcoming showcase for the iconic heritage French fashion house of Emanuel Ungaro.
Kobi Halperin is an established New York-based designer who is admired in the industry, his approachable and friendly approach to fashion including the clients he cares for made his brand a huge success around the world.
Halperin is best known for his beautiful prints and cultural and ethnic inspirations, each season he takes us on a journey through a different land whether it is Morocco, India or Asia. He knows how to interpret the colourful and vivid destinations he has been to into a collection that everyone woman wants to wear.
Further proving, that he is one of the best designers out there Halperin became determined to be the head designer for Emanuel Ungaro this season at Kornit Fashion Week Exchange in Los Angeles, California.
We sat down with Kobi Halperin to discuss, post-pandemic business, and the iconic dive into the Ungaro archives and inspirations.
Your first presentation/collection for the house of Ungaro in Paris was spectacular, how did it feel to fill such big (chic and Parisian shoes)?
Since my very early stages as a design student, I admired the house of Ungaro. Now, I feel like it’s closing into a full circle as the head designer for the house. I feel immensely lucky to fulfil my dream and be part of this magnificent house.
You had the pleasure of going through the Emanuel Ungaro archives and work and recreating some iconic pieces, as a designer, how did it feel going through such incredible pieces, what inspired you the most?
My days at the archive were beyond fulfilling. The superb attention to detail which I love so much was at the highest level. It was overwhelming and I took a lot from it. I want to keep the house what it was always famous for and not reinvent the wheel, so the archive visit was very meaningful for this process.
What is your vision for this iconic French brand? Any future plans you can reveal?
I want to celebrate dressing up in the daytime. The house has such a couture background and I want the UNGARO women to have the same feeling every day. I want my muse to wear intricate details and quality pieces but have her wear them day to night and not only on special occasions.
You are known for being one of the most approachable designers in the industry and for your personal connection with your clients around the country, do you think that’s a key to becoming a successful fashion designer?
I think the key is always to be connected to the real consumer. It is very easy to float in the creative design world but forget about who she really is. I meet with my clients ALL the time and travel around the world to dress them up and talk. There is always something to learn and I am very humble about it. I love this connection.
Every season you have such a vivid inspiration for each collection, tell us about the recent/next one and about your creative design process.
I love getting inspiration from different places and cultures. I enjoy travelling and each season I am taking her [my customer] to other places. This season we were in the South of France and brought a lot of it into the collection. The inspiration is never too literal but the feeling and details are there.
You recently designed a special capsule collection of blouses with Lauren Levison who is one of the best-dressed ladies in America, can you tell us about this collaboration and the very special presentation you did in the Hamptons.
I enjoyed following Lauriane for a while and was so taken by the way she dresses up. It is so much what I am after. We connected and created this beautiful over the top blouse collection which is now selling very well. I am so happy to see who the customer reacts to this and is not intimidated by dressing up again!
What is the main difference between American and European Clients? Do women shop differently?
I think that the main differences are that the American client is more practical and planned with her wardrobe and how she purchases her seasonal items compared to her European alternative who might dare a little more and shop spontaneously. But the main thing here is, both are well dressed.