If Telfar’s Shopping Bag takes the award for the top “It” bag of the past five years, Kiko Kostadinov’s Trivia handbag is going home with the “Rising Star” trophy. The purse’s classic, baguette-like silhouette—distorted to an askew trompe l’oeil effect—has become a street style staple since launching in the London-based emerging brand’s fall 2021 collection. Iris Law and Bella Hadid were both photographed wearing them, further establishing the bag’s power as a design symbol synonymous with the label, which just showed its fall 2022 collection at Paris Fashion Week. The brains behind this accessory, and Kiko Kostadinov’s womenswear range at large? Laura and Deanna Fanning, Melbourne-born Aussie twins who took on roles as co-creative directors a Kiko Kostadinov immediately after graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2018.
For their latest presentation, which premiered this past Saturday on PFW’s digital schedule, Laura and Deanna pushed the boundaries of their creative output even further, debuting a collection with a particular focus on accessories. Their fall 2022 line was inspired by stereotypical glamour and femininity, harking back to the 1930s and the visual ideals set during Hollywood’s Golden Age. “Our starting point were obvious references to things that happened in womenswear then—dresses were really close to the body, all the fur and the sparkle, too,” Laura told W in a recent interview. The designers then reappropriated what has since become a pastiche of female expression, using a sense of humor: old-school glitz was revisited through sparkly textiles peppered throughout the collection, such as sequined knitted jumpers and tinsel gloves. A literal highlight were the seasonal updates on their now-signature bag, done in blue and green glitter.
Joining the Trivia in their expanding portfolio of accessories is a brand-new bag silhouette, which they named the Wishbone, after a piece of custom hardware that comes on the strap of each handbag. (Its shape also happens to resemble the twins’ Zodiac sign, Aries.) “We worked with modular shapes, wanting to bring the feeling of Art Deco by playing around with the importance of elements of a bag—it’s thinking about accessories in this delicate way that messes with their function,” Deanna explained. And while those shapes—a circle, a square, and a triangle—pull from vintage bags, the “bold and uncomfortable” choice of colors, taken from opposite sides of the color wheel, brings an unmistakable sense of modernity.
For fall 2022, the Fannings applied their methods of accessory design to the ways their clients dress, by incorporating jewelry as essential parts of the clothing. “The bag can’t exist without the big piece of hardware, some of the dresses can’t exist without the necklace. We asked ourselves, What does jewelry mean in an everyday sense?” Deanna said, explaining that the snake chains shown on the catwalk will also be sold as part of the garments. The Murano glass bead chokers and necklaces, including their delicate take on a bolo tie, carried a transformative quality and offer shoppers an opportunity to adjust and interpret Kiko Kostadinov designs to fit their own personality and lifestyle.
But the lifestyle of a Kiko Kostadinov woman is always active—as evidenced by their choice of footwear. Laura and Deanna consistently create hybrids of sneakers and classic women’s shapes, blurring the lines between the decorative and the utilitarian. “This season is definitely more on the decorative side, but it alludes to a sporty ideal, too,” Laura said of the Mary-Jane-ski-boot mash-ups, which come replete with tiny bows sprinkled all over. Deanna added that the duo was influenced by their past collaborations with the sneaker experts at Asics, and took away from that partnership a considered approach to product design. “No decision is made lightly—every aspect is very well-researched. What am I designing? What are the components, and what’s the best way to put them together? This process breaks down everything and helps us think about it in detail,” she said.
Though the collection carries plenty of street style potential, it’s clear Laura and Deanna Fanning have no intentions of conquering the world with their designs. “We’re approaching designing collections through craft and image-making, and know that not all ideas are going to translate to a massive audience. That’s not the stage that the brand is at, or what we want to do,” Deanna said. But when applied to the world of accessories, their niche hits a balance of innovation and practicality—which is why their designs have already resonated with a wide range of fans, both A-list and otherwise. “I never really thought that what we do would come into their orbit, but we’re happy that all of these different people can relate to it,” she added. “It’s come full circle, in a way, because the idea of the Trivia bag came from a 1990s baguette bag, seeing all the celebrities [of that time] with them in hand. And then, to see someone like Bella or Iris Law with the bag—it’s like the bag has gone back to the initial reference.”