L’Uomo Vogue used phrases like “disco nightmare” and “deliberately decadent” when describing Kristian Aadnevik’s work earlier this year. For this rising-star designer, who likens designing a line to outfitting the heroine of a movie, clothing tends to take on a fantastical dimension. He was recently named one of Fall 2008’s “Top Ten Most Promising New Talents” by Style.com.
For those die-hard Versace fans left unsatisfied with Donatella’s attempts at restraint and minimalism this season, Aadnevik may just succeed in picking up where she left off.
For his Fall 2008 showing at Milan Fashion Week, Aadnevik sent a stream of flat-out-fabulous looks strutting down the runway. From attention-grabbing party frocks to opulent furs, Aadnevik’s brand of sexed-up chic has drawn comparisons to quintessential Italian designers like Versace and Roberto Cavalli. While sexy Italian style might seem like a departure from Aadnevik’s Norwegian background, he’s certainly had the right training.
Aadnevik completed his MA in Womenswear from the Royal College of Art in London just six years ago. While at school, he worked at Alexander McQueen as a design assistant – and likely picked up some of McQueen’s dark, gothic and rock-n’-roll influences that would later surface in his own designs. From there, he completed a stint at Charles Jourdan in Japan before returning to the UK in 2004 to start his own eponymous label.
But it was his collaboration with Donatella Versace just a few months ago that would give him his biggest break to date. Versace was one of five designers participating in an initiative that paired an established designer with a protégé of their choice to create a capsule collection using Australian merino wool. His line earned him critical acclaim and the respect of his mentor Versace, who has since continued to advise him and even helped him get further funding to show in Milan this season.
At only 30 years old, Aadnevik seems poised to become a regular for the red-carpet set. His hyper-glam gowns have appeared on divas-in-training like Rhianna and UK pop starlet Jamelia. The influence of his former employers McQueen and Versace can be seen in traces throughout his collection, yet the overall look is all is own. Contrasting elements of the gothic and the romantic, of street-smart sexiness and high-end luxury, all come together to create his signature style. The highlights of his Fall 2008 show were the unexpected pairings – such as a cocktail dress with a leather bodice and a chiffon skirt, or an eye-popping fuchsia number worn with black tights.
Luxe materials like feathers, sequins, and fur – even dresses cut in curve-hugging leather – made the black-heavy collection anything but basic. With a style that is unabashedly, unapologetically glamorous, Kristian Aadnevik was born to dress the bad girl, and the good girl acting the part. Either way, the clothes are gorgeous.