“The Mugler role was a perfect opportunity because I had always genuinely loved the house. It was one of the brands I had been admiring since childhood actually. My dream from day one was to have my own successful label and to work for one of the big houses—so I was like ‘Ok, this is really happening!’ I accepted the role and have been working hard ever since.”
“I have been building my own label for a couple of years already, to the point that now it’s something I couldn’t live without,” says Koma, who speaks with a soft, measured, and almost coy voice, punctuated every so often with a revealing giggle. “It’s how I communicate my creativity and ideas to the world.”
Fashion, especially womenswear, moves at such a frenetic pace that it is easy for a designer’s vision or personality to get lost in the maelstrom of non-stop collections, yet Koma’s creations are inimitably his. “Fashion right now is going at a completely different speed to what it was in the 90s or even 2000s. I would say that it is probably affecting the clarity of collections on the whole, as there is simply less time to give ideas such rigorous contemplation now, but I guess that is just the way the world works right now; you have to manage and once you understand the pace then it’s fine.”
As I begin to ask him another question, he stops me apologetically. “But, you know, it’s all based on the team around me. I have a beautiful group of people at David Koma who I have been working with for some time now so they really know me well. They understand me and help me develop the collections according to or despite my whims! At the same time we have built quite an amazing team at Mugler in a very short period. Building a collection is a very complex process and that’s why a great team is crucial. Success and fulfilment is above all about communicating.”
Koma has become synonymous with an undeniably sexy body-con silhouette, creating designs that skim contours and accentuate and reveal the figure. As a result, they are a huge hit on the celebrity/red-carpet circuit (it’s no surprise that Koma’s biggest market is the US). “The main inspiration for me is the female form itself and women in general. I always want to do something that enhances their beauty and their confidence to make them more empowered.”
And yet time is not in great supply for Koma, given that he is responsible for two seasonal collections per year for his own line and four collections for that of Mugler. Nevertheless, you get the impression that this charming Georgian designer looks upon the challenge with a rose-tinted romanticism, as if it were a higher calling rather than mere obligation. Looking at his oeuvre so far, it would be hard to deny him that.