AnOther interview: Laura and Deanna Fanning

Designers behind Kiko Kostadinov womenswear, Laura and Deanna Fanning, partnered with Ward for their Spring/Summer 2020 collection

Sat in the corner of the bustling Kiko Kostadinov studio, a week before their London Fashion Week show, designer duo (and twin sisters) Laura and Deanna Fanning are explaining their new collection – their third womenswear offering for the brand – which is built around a collaboration with emerging British artist Rosie Grace Ward

Collaboration is fundamental to the Kiko Kostadinov design philosophy. For this season’s footwear, Laura and Deanna worked with Asics and Camper, creating football boot-like trainers decorated with constellations with the former, and low-slung heels adorned with similarly space-age crystals with the latter. In both, the sisters were able to colour between the lines of established footwear brands with their own aesthetic. “Creative collaborations allow you to expand your world,” says Laura. “Exactly,” adds Deanna. “You develop a visual language, you have a way to express it and then collaborating with different people allows you to explore it in different mediums that perhaps you wouldn’t get to do on your own.”

For the Fannings, independent research and the freedom to explore their own ideas are critical to collaborating successfully. After Deanna stumbled across Ward’s sculptures at an exhibition at Hannah Barry Gallery in May, they decided to take a similar approach for their Spring/Summer 2020 collection. “With that show, I really felt like I’d entered another universe,” says Deanna. “It felt like an alternative narrative or a parallel thinking that really resonated with me.” Ward’s work, developed independently, spotlighted themes that were already beginning to emerge from the twins’ early toiles. “In the clothes, we were looking at things that are curved, and emblems,” Deanna continues. “Allusions to infinity and divinity.” A couple of studio meetings soon gave way to working separately and sharing updates via email, but the results are remarkably cohesive. “It felt very organic,” says Ward. “There’s a call and response between our work in the show and the set.”

Circular motifs are rife in the collaboration. The wearable amulet Ward has made curves in a spiral towards a neolithic arrow made of resin, while fabric drapes from circles hidden within Laura and Deanna’s garments. The amulet appears as a necklace, a prop and an adornment for keyhole cut-outs. But the references run even deeper. It’s often said that fashion moves in cycles, harking back to past trends to inspire future progression. Ward’s work toys with time in a similar way. “I try to machine time with my work,” she explains. “I’m not trying to make work that reflects right now, I’m trying to project it forward a bit, using history.”

In their first collection for Kiko Kostadinov, Laura and Deanna looked inward, contemplating an anxious woman and the politicisation of her body. In February they turned to the past, reimagining bandidas for the modern day, while their latest collection, styled by AnOther’s senior fashion editor Agata Belcen, ruminates on the future. “It’s not our role as artists or designers to save the world,” says Ward. “But it is our role to experiment with possibilities.” Inspired by history, they muse on the future. The result is a fantastic kaleidoscope of off-beat colours and optical illusions.

This interview was commissioned by AnOther Magazine, and appeared on their website, here.