Inviting innovation in leatherwork, At.Kollektive – first launched in 2022 and led by prolific Danish tannery Ecco leather – is an ongoing collaborative project which sees international fashion design talent create one-off capsule collections of clothing and accessories. The first two seasons saw Natacha Ramsay-Levi (former creative director of Chloé), Bianca Saunders (a rising British talent and ANDAM award winner), Kostas Murkudis (former first assistant of Helmut Lang in the 1990s) and Isaac Reina (a leather specialist previously of Hermès) work in Ecco leather, a raw material used by the world’s most esteemed houses and brands for over six decades.
In June 2023, as part of Paris Fashion Week Men’s S/S 2024, At.Kollektive announced a full change of roster, as three fashion designers – Peter Do, Kiko Kostadinov and Nina Christen – joined the mix (it had always been intended that designers would be part of the project for two seasons). Alongside, architect Anne Holtrop also joined the collective, creating a special furniture installation that provided the backdrop for the presentation which took place in the basement of Dover Street Market’s Rue des Francs Bourgeois location. ‘A quartet of designers with distinct voices sharing common vision to push the boundaries of product innovation, questioning norms and existing boundaries,’ said At.Kollektive of its latest class of design talent.
At.Kollektive returns for a third season
American designer Peter Do is perhaps the season’s headline act. Alongside his eponymous label – founded after stints at Phoebe Philo’s Celine and Derek Lam – he was recently named creative director of New York-based brand Helmut Lang. Here, he sought to create a genderless capsule collection of clothing and accessories primed for the demands of his home city of New York, which includes his first-ever sneaker (‘The Hybrid’). He’s joined by Bulgari-born, London-based designer Kiko Kostandinov, who brings his idiosyncratic, experimental eye to a collection inspired by travel. ‘I travel a lot and I really wanted to design items that I could use myself,’ he said of the pieces, which span a wallet for your passport and credit cards to a roomy carry-all.
The final designer is Nina Christen, a footwear specialist who held roles at Phoebe Philo’s Celine, Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta before beginning her current tenure as as head of footwear at Loewe under Jonathan Anderson. Her approach was to create a series of unconventional hybrid accessories, like a ‘ballerina pump with the attitude of a sneaker,’ as she described.
Here, speaking to Wallpaper*, Do, Kostadinov and Christen tell the stories behind their collections for At.Kollektive.
New York-based Peter Do is one of American fashion’s foremost young designers, beginning his label after working with Phoebe Philo while she was creative director of Celine. Earlier this year, it was announced that alongside his eponymous label he would be the next creative director of US-based label Helmut Lang.
‘The team at At.Kollektive reached out about the project last year through a friend of mine and I was intrigued by the concept of just working with leather to create elevated objects. We use leather every season [at Peter Do] for ready-to-wear, shoes and bags, but I wanted to learn more. I had a lot of fun visiting the Ecco team in Amsterdam where I was exposed to its incredible resources and techniques.
‘I want to create a collection of modular leather objects. Which piece do I love? We already edited down to the pieces that I love. I love all of them. The best part of this experience was meeting and working with the incredible team at At.Kollektive. I've felt very supported and welcomed since day one.’
Accessories designer Nina Christen held roles at Phoebe Philo’s Celine, Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta, before beginning her current role at Loewe, where she designs footwear. For her At.Kollektive project, she wanted to rethink ‘classic shoe archetype’, from the sneaker to the ballet pump.
‘Leather is a very big part of my work as a shoe designer and a very sensitive one as well because leather is skin – it has the same organic properties and can be transformed in amazing ways almost like a living organism. I have used a Ecco leather in this project which simulates a fabric mesh and is therefore extremely breathable.
‘I have worked around the idea of a sneaker ballerina and bootie on which the sole is injected in one piece and becomes part of the upper. The used PU compound is extremely light and the inner ergonomic construction extremely comfortable.
‘[The project] sounded from the beginning very exciting because of the other participants – I truly respect as [them] as creatives – and the amazing infrastructure Ecco can provide. It has been really a great experience, I definitely got very inspired on a technical level. But the most important experience is always on a human level, all the people involved here are creative in a different way, but also great human beings.’
Kiko Kostadinov studied at London’s Central Saint Martins, founding his eponymous label on graduation in 2016. Known for an idiosyncratic approach to cut, colour and silhouette, he added a womenswear arm – led by Laura and Deanna Fanning – in 2018.
‘The brief and the project are, and have been, very open – the idea is to prioritise strong design identity through leather development. I was keen on creating a total look where each of the pieces has its own space when all together but also when worn on their own.
‘For ready-to-wear, we used mixed materials, combining some core Kiko Kostadinov twills with leather ideas. For the bags and shoes, we work with similar bonded bamboo leather and linear stripe techniques. On shoes, we pushed the cutting of the panels so the lines are at mirrored 45-degree angles so they create beautiful graphic lines when the shoes are together.
‘We all worked very independently, but it was great to see all the products in one space created by people with such strong identities.’
The collection, priced between €195 and €4.900, will be available online at atkollektive.com, and in select stores internationally.
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Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*. Having previously held roles at 10, 10 Men and AnOther magazines, he joined the team in 2022. His work has a particular focus on the moments where fashion and style intersect with other creative disciplines – among them art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and profiling the industry’s leading figures and brands.
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