Following his departure from Halston, fashion designer Robert Rodriguez is back with a new line of sustainable, opulent eveningwear that aims to “establish a common thread between art and fashion.”
The former chief creative officer of Halston says in the show notes that Koltson by Robert Rodriguez was founded out of a desire “to do something more meaningful than simply creating clothing,” while also providing sustainable eveningwear that supports artists and artisans through partnerships and collaborations.
In addition to fashion illustrator Pepe Muoz and fashion architect Geri Gerard, Rodriguez has worked with New York-based abstract expressionist Vicky Barranguet on a series of seven canvas paintings titled “Threads” for the brand’s first autumn/winter 2023 collection. Rodriguez reworked Barranguet’s artwork in the collection’s prints, foiling, silhouettes, and embroideries, and Muoz transferred Barranguet’s artwork onto the dresses. Barranguet drew inspiration from Rodriguez’s mood boards and overall vision.
Regarding the importance of collaborations to his new label, Rodriguez said: “I feel privileged to be surrounded by such incredible creatives that motivate me to push the boundaries of my own work. Collaborations enable me to realise my vision.”
Kolston will also emphasise sustainability, with Rodriguez choosing to use only natural and approved fabrics. The cotton and voile used in the debut collection are sourced from Italy and woven at a family-owned mill that complies with the highest European standards, using nontoxic dyes and ethical production practises. The viscose used for the jersey is FSC Certified. The silk in the collection was chosen for its all-natural and biodegradable qualities, according to Rodriguez.
In order to reduce the brand’s carbon footprint, guarantee quicker lead times, and improve quality, Rodriguez also adds that sustainability is more than just about fabrics. He is therefore choosing to make his collection locally in New York City.
Rodriguez explains, “I want to support the garment district and the local suppliers, sewers, and artisans here.” Additionally, local production allows for better quality control, guarantees that workers receive fair salaries, reduces lead times to enable on-demand production, and enables a more environmentally friendly supply chain that reduces transportation emissions. We hope to contribute in some tiny way to the revitalization of manufacturing in the US, particularly in New York.
The 32-piece first AW23 collection has reinterpretations of the traditional kaftan at its foundation, with double-layer translucent silk georgette kaftan gowns with embroidered feathers and a crepe mini dress with an ostrich feather collar among its standout pieces. A black cotton poplin bustier top with gold foiling, a gold metal backless jersey gown with a draped back, and a corset slim-fit trouser in silky jersey combined with a cotton poplin caftan bodysuit are some of the other standout looks.
Prices for body suits, which will be sold separately, will start at $279 USD. Evening tops will cost between 695 and 895 dollars, cocktail dresses will cost between 995 and 1,595 dollars, and evening gowns will cost between 1,595 and 3,995 dollars.