On Sunday night, in the shoe designer Jerome Rousseau’s elegant Hollywood studio, a colorful community of artists gathered to celebrate the debut of MissKK: A Sister Collaboration, a clothing line by costumer, stylist, and designer MissKK (née Kristine Karnaky) and her sister, Kat Karnaky, a textile designer and printer who lives in Oakland. Hanging on racks (and worn by the designers themselves) were the softly tailored silk dresses and starry prints of the Autumn/Winter 2014 “Star Gazing” collection, as well as a preview of Spring 2015’s more psychedelic “Rainbow Snakes and Tears,” which includes a shoe collaboration with Rousseau.
At a certain point in the evening, hosted by tastemaker Jennifer Nicholson, the lights in the studio went dark and a companion “Star Gazing” film began to flicker across one wall. Directed by Maximilla Lukacs with a lilting, dreamlike score by Galen Pehrson and Jessica Tonder, the Super 8 film’s sweetly nostalgic scenes of pretty girls frolicking at the Griffith Observatory at sunset felt old-fashioned except for the poppy purple planets, star-shaped buttons, and the blue lipstick the models wore. This bold, almost avant-garde take on retro styling is a signature of MissKK’s designs, which she started showing and selling at the beloved Echo Park boutique Show Pony (now the home of Tavin) in 2000.
“I love her ‘70s-meets-‘30s silhouette; it’s my favorite,”said Lukacs about KK’s aesthetic. The two have teamed up on many music videos for artists ranging from Courtney Love to Karen Elson to Lavender Diamond. Lukacs described their creative relationship as a “synesthesia of our two worlds.” Meaning: “Anything I can dream up in my mind I know she’s seeing in her mind, in her own way.”
KK and Kat, who designs fabrics for major retailers like Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn, have worked together in the past but “Star Gazing” is their first joint seasonal fashion line. Each piece is custom made in Los Angeles using natural fabrics and non-toxic dyes and can be ordered through MissKK’s Web site (prices range from $250-$1500). It’s a definite goal to be in stores one day, but KK is, after all, a woman who waited until Mercury was out of retrograde to have her launch party; in other words, she trusts in the universe’s timing. “We’re just going to see where it leads us,” she said. “We’re letting it flow.”