Feb 16, 200603:45 PMThe Life
A chat with Kevan Hall
Feb 16, 2006 - 03:45 PMFashion designer Kevan Hall was in Palm Desert, California this afternoon, to help announce the upcoming Fashion Week El Paseo. Mr. Hall will present his Spring 2006 Runway Collection here next month, and graciously spent a few moments speaking with me:
You've said that your fashion creativity emerged early. Was there a decisive event which led you onto this path?
Not really a decisive event, but I had really supportive parents who helped me along. When they saw that I had a talent for sketching and drawing, they gave me all sorts of supplies and books and art magazines, so that I could flourish.
Your brother Vondie is a noted actor/director/writer. Do you believe there's a gene for success?
Maybe there is, but I believe that anybody can achieve something if they are determined, tenacious and work hard. The key is to find your focus, and keep heading toward your goal.
How did the FIDM scholarship open doors for you?
Well, it was really the turning point that brought me to Los Angeles, as opposed to New York or even to Europe. It gave me the opportunity to study, and eventually to go to Europe and do a little studying and touring of some of the couture houses over there. They even helped with job placement. When I graduated, they were there to help me get my start.
Did your first trip to Europe change the way you thought about design?
I always loved really beautiful clothes, and luxury, but on that particular tour, we went to the House of Givenchy, Pierre Cardin and Yves Saint Laurent. That's when I had the opportunity to see the workrooms, and they actually put on small, informal fashion shows for us. At that point, I knew I wanted to be in the luxury market, with beautiful fabrics, and dressing some of the most beautiful women in the world.
You've done costume designs for movies (Eve's Bayou, Gridlock'd). How were those experiences different from the way you work now?
Designing for a film is interesting, because you create a character. And that character has an arc, from the beginning of the film to the end. So you have to decide how the character is going to look, during all the scenes in between.
Your wife is still actively involved in your company. What kinds of input does she give you?
I run ideas past her sometimes, when I'm unsure of certain things: color or silhouette, for example. She gives me a woman's point of view, and she lets me know if a design can be successful.
Do you think her taste is on a level with yours?
[Chuckling] Her taste is probably better, because it's more realistic. I tend to go into the fantasy or the glamour of it all. But a design has to be wearable, and there has to be a purpose for it, in the end.
So she brings you down to earth?
[Laughing] Exactly. She brings me down to earth.
Okay, the television interviewers are waiting for you - I have just two more silly questions: first, do you think Project Runway is a good showcase for designers?
I think it is. I mean, it's a hoot, and I've enjoyed watching it. Certainly, some of the contestants are more talented than others. But it really shows you some of the challenges, and how difficult the industry can be.
And finally, is American's Next Top Model an effective way for models to break in?
Again, I think it is a showcase for those young ladies. But Tyra's aim is also to educate. And she really does show another side of the modeling industry.
Listen to Mr. Hall discuss his experiences as the Design and Creative Director of Halston.