Friday, July 22, 2011

5 Minutes With Alexandre Plokhov

Alexandre Plokhov was the man behind the goth-chic menswear label Cloak. Following Cloak, Plokhov served as head of menswear at Versace. Now the New York-based designer is making a comeback for Fall 2011, with a revamped, eponymous collection which will be available at Barneys, Atelier, and Hong Kong’s Joyce.

Q1. What was the first record you bought and how did it change your life?

“Ride The Lightning” by Metallica. Actually, it was not an album – it was a tape reel pirated by a black market recording studio. You have to keep in mind that Western records were extremely hard to come by in the former USSR. My parents bought me a Soviet made reel-to-reel tape deck as high school graduation present. It was supposed to help me study languages. So the first thing I did I went to Moscow and got this tape. James Hetfield screaming aboutcreeping death was much more interesting than mastering the complexities of The Gerund… It sounded escapist, fast, dangerous and heroic…

Q2. You've returned with a new Alexandre Plokhov collection. Is this an evolution from Cloak or a totally new approach?

My new line is definitely an evolution of my previous work. It is a spiritual progeny of Cloak augmented by my consequent experiences.

Q3. I keep hearing that stylists are the new designers...what do you think about that statement?

I think the job of a stylist is making us look at the clothes in a new way – be it through an editorial or a runway show. Putting disparate elements together to create a new look is a daunting task, especially in the format of the show. There are so many components to consider– color story, fabric interplay, continuity of construction elements, heritage of the house, casting, pagination – to name but a few… All of this is only relevant if we are talking about working for a big house. The stylist is there to help designer tell a story, making that story engaging (designing clothes) is still the responsibility of the designer.

Q4. Fashion and business are not easy bedfellows, particularly if, like you, the designer is very creative and ahead of the curve. Do you think the climate is tougher now that belts are being tightened, economically and metaphorically speaking?

Thank you for the compliment! It is hard for me to say anything intelligent on this subject since I have an uncanny ability to start new businesses in the middle of recession (both Cloak and AP). So much for my business acumen! It has always been tough – the cycle is just so much faster now.

Q5. Any funny stories you can share from your time working with Donatella Versace?

DV gave me a job during rather difficult period of my life. I learnt how to make clothes in Italy on a level previously unattainable for me. So, I will be forever grateful for her support!

Metallica - Ride The Lightning (Fillmore 2003)

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