A printed scarf from New York designer Ilana Kohn's collection.
Ilana Kohn first started tinkering with a clothing collection as a kind of creative outlet while wrapping up her masters degree in Historic Preservation. "Before I knew it, it had blown up and become a serious, viable business."
Launched in the fall of 2010, Kohn's collection of silky separates has an easy yet artful appeal, with bold geometric patterns and cheery, super-bright color palettes. "I’ve been into some pretty crazy colors lately, and sometimes I really feel like I need to tone it down a bit for the sake of wearability," she explains. "But you name it -- fuschia, Kelly green, ultra-marine, cobalt, tomato red, bright yellow -- I dig it."
Having worked as an illustrator prior to pursuing her masters degree, Kohn was eager to try to her hand at designing textiles. Her spring '12 collection (which hits stores this week) is the first to incorporate her own self-made fabrics. "I’m pretty excited and nervous to see how people respond to them!"
Her lifelong love of history comes through in the garments as well. "I definitely draw a lot of inspiration from historical sources," she says. "I’ve been looking at a lot of textiles from the early twentieth century lately, they really were doing pretty amazing stuff from around the 1910s to the 1940s."
As for how she comes up with her fun, girly silhouettes, Kohn explains: "It all comes out of my sketchbook at this point. I just doodle doodle doodle, and when something finally strikes my fancy, I’ll scan it in and go to town on it in Photoshop or Illustrator. Once I’ve got the image cleaned up, I’ll turn it into a repeat and a pattern is made."
Fans can also look forward to a smattering of new handmade silk scarves for this spring, which boast the same candy colors and wild patterns as Kohn's ready-to-wear.