Katja Guenther – reinvention of tie-dye

To some, tie dye is strictly a thing for the hippies. Stylish it is not, and was never considered mainstream until many tie dye material surfaced on commercial runways – Rodarte, Bluemarine and Proenza Schouler etc etc.

But it was Katja Guenther, a German designer and a London College of Fashion graduate who has totally revolutionised the idea. Hippie or hedonistic they are not, the latex dyed jackets and coats exude an air of nonchalant and elegance about them. The dye worked like control chaos, coupled with excellent craftsmanship it adds that je ne sais quoi to the simplistic style.

Maybe it is the palette, pale and cold. The natural progression from nude to navy to black has made the collection so dreamy and addictive. There is a certain fragility emanating from these creations. And yet the hard symmetrical look compensated the softness and has neutralised the whole look. And I am right to say that this collection isn’t for the fragile woman. To put it in Katja’s own words, “The target cosumer is a confident and cosmopolitan woman. She lives an urban and sophisticated lifestyle and loves garments with quality and sophistication.” Say if Dior designs for the flamboyant lot; Katja is like Chanel, designs for the strong woman – she loves the subtle glamour and the quiet hints of innovation.

What I love about this coat – my favourite of all – is its flairish silhouette. The perfectly symmetrical piece are flared on the sleeves and cinched at the waist. It is all very balanced and feminine.

Katja then carried on her endeavour in search of more nonchalant elegance. The sheer blouse shown below, features kaleidoscopic layout of triangles in leather. This collection was inspired by gestalt images and hence the contrast in colour and material.

The shapes were traced on engraved leather and were cut out and sewn onto sheer tulle. The collection was all about the contrast of strong and weak, the balance between fragility and rigidity.

Items are priced between £250 to £750.

Kiwibiwi: How do you hand-dye the coats?

Katja: I worked out several folding and tie up technique, then I found the right solution to get the correct mixture of colour and control of the pattern.

Kiwibiwi: Pot of water let the dye roam free and let the latex soaks?

Katja: Yes.

Kiwibiwi: Any ongoing projects at the moment?

Katja: I’ll be off to Hong Kong in a few days time. I could either work for a young creative label with an art project history or designing an in house collection to a range of targeted customers. If I am working for the former, I will probably create exclusive digital prints for the up and coming fashion label.

Kiwibiwi: How do we buy your brilliant designs then?

Katja: Some of my friends bought a few hand-dye leggings. Are you interested?


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