Steven Khalil on 20 years in fashion

4th May, 2015


Fresh from a successful show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia, Steven Khalil is going from strength to strength and just celebrated 20 years in fashion. I caught up with Steven to chat about showing for the first time at MBFWA, who he’d love to see wearing one of his designs and what’s left on his fashion bucket list…

You’re celebrating a big milestone this year! How does it feel to have been in fashion for 20 years?
It is a huge milestone for me. I have worked very hard over the past 20 years to get the business to where it is today. I can’t quite believe it to be honest! I love what I do so to me it doesn’t feel like 20 years but I am very grateful to still be doing what I love for so long and I am so excited for the future of the brand…

What inspired your collection for Fashion Week?
Inspiration comes from everywhere for me for any of my collections. It could be a fabric, an embellishment, colours or even places. This season my focus was on texture and tailoring, I really wanted to highlight detail and let the fabric be the focus. There are cocktail dresses, blouses and skirts in this collection to fully cater to a couture customers complete wardrobe needs, not just red carpet gowns.

For you, what’s the highlight of designing a collection?
Design is an everyday occurrence for me in my work- with every client but designing a collection for the runway lets my mind wander and go to places I don’t normally get to develop in my work with clients. I love being able to take a look to a new dimension or work with a fabric that isn’t considered safe or traditional. I also love to create new silhouettes and styles for the runway- it is a really creative and interesting process for me.


What’s that toughest part?
Waiting for the design to go from concept to reality – I’m very impatient! Working from a sketch to going into fabric and hoping the design is as successful in reality. Sometimes it needs to be modified or changed but usually it works out beautifully…

How would you describe your latest collection?
The 2015 Couture Collection to me is a representation of where the brand is going but also remaining true to my work and aesthetic. This collection is all about texture, tailoring and has a Parisian feel to it- very chic silhouettes with couture embellishments. The colour palette ranges from nude, salmon and mushroom to navy, black and white- I wanted this collection to symbolise a more modern take on red carpet dressing but also to show that I can design couture pieces for everyday wear too.

Who would you love to see wearing Steven Khalil?
I love that I have women the world over wearing and wanting my designs so I have been very lucky. But I would love to see Cate Blanchett in one of my designs- I think she is so chic and timeless but also quite daring and confidant in her choices on the red carpet.

What’s on your bucket list as a designer?
I want to expand my brand and to take the label to the next level. Celebrating my 20th Anniversary is a milestone but I want to move forward and grow as a business and as a designer. A more global focus for 2015/16 and to hopefully see the brand evolve in a positive direction.

How long does the process take to take an idea and turn it into a collection?
It really depends on how inspired I am or how quickly I want to work- an idea I have can quickly materialise or it can take a while- this collection came together quite seamlessly as I had a clear idea of what I wanted to present.

What are your essentials for Fashion Week?
Valium! No only joking…Organisation is so key to any event and I have a great team to help me realise my concepts and collection. And always have contingency for anyting to go wrong- as it usually does! This was my first time showing at MBFWA so I wasn’t sure what to expect but I could not have been happier with the outcome- I was really pleased and everyone worked really hard to make it all come together.

Who inspires you as a designer?
Everything, anything and nothing. This isn’t evading the question I think it’s true with any designer or creative- it really does depend on where you are at with a collection or design at the time, or your own personal experiences and situations.

If your brand could be synonymous with one thing what would it be?
Quality and desirability- that’s two things! But I can’t separate the two. I pride myself on the attention to detail of a garment, it’s construction and fabric and I want women to want to wear my designs- for many, many years to come!

What’s one thing you wished you could have told yourself when you first started out as a designer?
That patience is key. Looking back over the 20 years I have been in business I have certainly learnt a lot- what to do, what not to do and what to focus on, and to me being patient and letting the work and designs speak for themselves and to trust my instincts a lot more has helped me take my business to where it is today.

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