Full of nature

In conversation with fashion designer Kayla Satzger.

Desire and mystery, extreme lightness and volatile heaviness, dark aesthetic with a contemporary twist. An insight into the London based designer Kayla Satzger’s romantic realm, with words by Anca Macavei and photography by Paul Franco.

“Full of Nature” is centered around the organic qualities that my collection and nature unexpectedly share. The shoot was much more about capturing the shape and form of the clothing, as well as a general intensity of emotion, rather than the details. We shot with model Gaby Devitry who played a huge role in deciding the feel of the shoot. Gaby has a very classic, soft look as a whole, but her features are angular and striking; she provided a sense of intrigue that paired perfectly with the collection.
The juxtaposition of my voluminous pieces and desolate nature led to an effect that looked both natural but also a bit out of place, intentionally uncanny. The photographs portray exactly that interpretation on form and emotion that Paul Franco [the photographer] and I were aiming for.

You were born in San Francisco, California yet you live in London, can you give us an overview on your cultural background and what brought you to where you are today.
I grew up in my father’s design studio at Apple. I practically lived there so I was surrounded by creativity from a very young age and it really just became a natural part of who I am. Going into design, and specifically fashion design, was an organic choice for me. As long as I can remember, I’ve always had a real fascination and interest in making clothes. Some of my earliest memories are of creating little paper outfits from those paper doll dress-up books. Moving to London was also a very intuitive decision for me. My plan had been to complete my BA in the States and then move to London, but within two months of my degree, I knew it wasn’t where I should be. I made the snap decision to move to London, and it’s been the most transformative choice of my life so far.

Your first collection is called “An ode to romance” and it is revolving around the concept of being “in love.” How come you chose this as a theme, is it something transposed from your personal sphere?
The notion of love has always intrigued me, especially that sort of “eternal-Victorian-Edgar Allen Poe” type of love; when it becomes almost interchangeable with madness. My collection touches on that intensity, the darkness that encroaches on a life centered around an impassioned devotion to another person.

Can you share more about your creative process and work methodology. Do you start from sketching? How do transpose a collection from concept to a three-dimensional creation?
My creative process is a very intuitive one that begins with research and is followed by a lot of draping and experimentation. Once I’ve completed a quick drawing, I move onto rough patterns and samples, then I’ll drape and re-drape and then drape again. I’ve found that designing like this allows me to produce something that’s way beyond my 2D designs, and the result is often a piece I couldn’t have imagined in my head. Once I’m happy with the shape, I’ll start experimenting with different weights of fabric to see what suits best. The choice is always informed by the story I’m trying to tell, but lately I’ve been drawn to the contrast between heavier wools with lighter silks and tulle.

Designers need to reinvent themselves each time, be in constant evolution, avoid repetition and develop an individual signature and vision of their own. Do you already have a clear idea of what makes your approach distinctive?
For me it’s the whole story, from my research to the final outcome, that dictates my aesthetic. Everything about my work revolves around continuously telling the emotional narrative: for example, an “An Ode to Romance” starts with fanciful romance between two lovers that distorts into an eerie, intense devotion of the body and mind. That story translates sartorially into one of contrasts: desire and restraint; flighty lightness and volatile heaviness.

Full of nature


Photography: Paul Franco / @_paulfranco_
Clothes: Kayla Satzger / @kaylasatzger
Model: Gaby Devitry at Premium Models / @gabi_devitry @premium_models

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