SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS feature strongly in her designs and she readily admits to gimlet-eyed, magpie tendencies. “I want to stick them on everything! If the sun hits when you’re wearing one of my necklaces there’s an instant rainbow disco.
Ward often uses crystals on her garments instead of traditional studding or stitching. She’ll pierce the fabric, hold it with wire and then deploy a crystal as a stud. “I enjoy the contradiction of harder and softer accents used together. SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS bring a beautiful mix of femininity, luxury and shine.” Unsurprisingly, she has some trail-blazing ideas of her own. “I love the ceramic SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS – they’re like cool little cubes of cement. I’d like to bring the everyday into the crystals – it would be great to see hybrid ones with a touch of latex, or flocking on one half.”
So, how did this undoubtedly unique creative talent first reveal itself? “I’ve always wanted to look different. I’d buy beads and trims from charity shops and customize clothes – I really enjoyed cutting things up. I’m still obsessed with jewelry and cut-outs. I like to experiment with hand-bent loops and merge jewelry with garments; it gives clothes texture and movement, like hair or fur.”
With the presentation of her Autumn/Winter 2012/13 collection in Paris at the beginning of March, she’s now embarking on her fourth season. The show zooms in on clean, minimalist structures with a utilitarian touch in the form of tabards and apron fronts that add a variety of layers and lengths. “I love functional ‘tea lady’ style uniforms.” New this season are digitalized images of fabric details and jewelry components printed on silk vests and tunics – the basic palette of grey, white and black act as a backdrop for hints of ’80s green and pink.
Some inspiration comes from retro movies and books, as well as hardware… She admits a certain weakness for particular ’80s films. “They’re my guilty pleasure. I’ll often sit watching a DVD while I’m busy bending loops!! Anything with Jennifer Connelly, plus sci-fi that involves bizarre visions of the future, such as Bladerunner. I love George Orwell’s book 1984 for that reason.”
When she’s at the drawing board, Kirsty has a clear sense of who would wear her designs. “I always have an idea of ‘my girl’. Someone with an eye for detail who likes to have fun with fashion, but not necessarily a certain size or look.”
As a 29-year-old, cutting-edge designer of a hotly lauded label, one would imagine that there’s a constant pressure to look hip and fabulous. “Not especially. I’m quite happy to create beautiful things for others. I wear big necklaces, crazy shoes and a lot of menswear. Basically, I’ll shove anything on and then add statement jewelry.
“What really drives me is creating new looks. I get butterflies when I’m onto something that inspires me – that’s when I know I have to make it immediately.”