IWTB Interview: Paul Kolyer
By Heather Dunhill
Tell us a fashion quote that describes you…
"Elegance is refusal." according to Diana Vreeland. This quote has haunted me since I read it 20+ years ago. For me, so many things come to mind, especially one's refusal to compromise, stick to your guns as it were and don't settle for less than you deserve!
Do you think fashion is art?
No. Like Lagerfeld says in The World According to Karl — "The purpose of dress design is to make people feel good, not to express the pain and the suffering of the world in taffeta."
What color defines you at the moment?
Gray. In all shades and textures, I always loved Christian Dior's use of gray!
Put three words down to capture your aesthetic…
Minimal. Classical. Romantic.
I know it’s a challenge, but pick one current designer and choose a must-have piece from that collection.
I have two, one is an accessory, I love these Hermès pleated silk neckpieces (seen above). From the beach, to a restaurant, with a tshirt or under a tuxedo jacket... And Balmain, I love asymmetry, military, sweater dressing, and skirts so this collection is a bonanza for me! Have to have the one shoulder military jacket, will last for seasons and is so versatile!
Okay, now the same from history...
Elsa Schiaparelli black velvet evening cape from 1938, it was given to the Met in 1951. A masterpiece! The embroidery is based on the Neptune Fountain in the Parc de Versailles. The photo below is from V Magazine © 1977 The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
What’s your social media of the moment? And, what’s your recent favorite find on it?
Still getting used to this new age of social media, I keep going back to Facebook, it's like having immediate access to 1000s of fashion magazines! I love men's fashion and The Fashionisto has everything I need to know, and I subscribe to the magazine.
What’s the last accessory you purchased?
Black leather Margiela cuff, it's two different wrist bands connected, two textures of black.
And, for fun...
With whom would you love to be stuck in an elevator?
Emmanuelle Alt, of course, we would talk about her personal style and fashion career. I could maybe get some style, health, and diet secrets, [she looks so good!] and imagine the interview for IWTBAA! I would also ask her to hire the IWTBAA team for Vogue Paris and Vogue.fr! Whatever we would like, but I would love to be an assistant! Dry cleaning doesn't pick up itself!
When I entertain, I like to make...
The three-grain pilaf from The Angelica Home Kitchen is something I never tire of. It is easy to make and can be a side dish or tossed with sautéed veggies, like onion, garlic, broccoli, kale, and spinach. It is also good with butter or veggie gravy on top!
What did you collect as a kid?
Wacky Packages stickers by the Topps Chewing Gum Company. They are funny parodies of American popular products, like Minute Rice, Ajax, Planter Peanuts, etc. Pop Art for kids! Google them and see!
Paul Kolyer photograph © 2014 Paul Kolyer.