This week we caught up with Fashion Designer, Dawn Green, founder and creative director of Kokoro London & Creative Visual Retail Consultant. Dawn is also a designer of knitwear label Hollygolightly selling to such stores as Brown’s & Liberty.
As a child I was bewitched by Audrey Hepburn. Whether dressed by Hubert Givenchy in Breakfast at Tiffany’s; stylishly ‘dressed down’ in Roman Holiday or surrounded by the height of camp in Funny Face – she was mesmerising. Also Sophia Loren in Arabesque dressed in Dior by Marc Bohan or Grace Kelly in the classic To Catch a Thief. The style and glamour of those iconic movie stars of the 50s and 60s was such an early influence; they formed the foundation for my belief that how we choose to dress can transform and enhance our lives. A young Diana Ross has always been a major style heroine for me; starting in my teens I would always love to dress up for some of the best dance club nights in London. Finally – and not forgetting – my parents – both took pleasure from dressing beautifully.
2. YOU ARE NOW CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF KOKORO LONDON, WHICH IS A PRETTY IMPRESSIVE TITLE, WE’RE INTRIGUED TO HEAR ABOUT THE JOURNEY THAT LED YOU HERE?
I started working on the fashion floor at Harvey Nicholls in my teens and later worked at Browns in South Molton Street as a senior buyer which meant travelling to Paris and Milan for the collections. In 1998 I was invited by Paul Smith to set up Westbourne House in his vision. I have always wanted to design my own line but my first role as creative director came developing the fashion line for Miss Italy and Domitilla Getty – and finally here I am doing what I love in my own store. I have been so fortunate in the mentors and opportunities I have had along the way – I value my experience greatly.
3. CAN YOU TELL OUR READERS WHO AREN’T FAMILIAR WITH THE BRAND A BIT ABOUT THE KOKORO STYLING?
Kokoro is a Japanese word which means Heart, Mind and Spirit in English. When I opened Kokoro in June 2015 I had a clear vision of the line I wished to develop and the kind of store I wished to create around it. It starts with the dress. The key dresses of each season have a bespoke print in luxury fabrics inspired by couture elegance but with a modern spirit that reflects the lives stylish women lead now. I look for original and bold accessories from unique small designers that complement the spirit of my own collection. Kokoro has also worked on collaborative projects which recently have brought to the store a beautiful line of very special cocktail coats that we created with the supremely talented Geraldine Larkin.
4. YOU’RE CURRENTLY BASED ON CONNAUGHT STREET, ANY PLANS TO POP UP ANYWHERE ELSE IN LONDON?
Although as yet there is nothing in the diary to pop up anywhere else in London the Kokoro spirit is about being open to exciting future possibilities. For the immediate future my focus is on the store in Connaught Street, creating a beautiful line and drawing people to our special neighbourhood in Connaught Street. It is very like a village; a friendly creative one!
5. SO TELL US, ASIDE FROM YOUR AWESOME STORE, WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO SHOP IN LONDON?
I adore my neighbour’s store, Kindare in Connaught Street, I have worn his clothes for 8 years; Selfridges is just around the corner and has possibly the best shoe department in London. Also if there is one shop I’m dying to set foot in it has to be 8 Holland Street just off Kensington Church Street. Art and furniture and just beautiful things. It looks fabulous.
6. WHAT WOULD YOUR PERFECT LAZY SUNDAY IN LONDON LOOK LIKE?
In the morning I would walk across the park to visit the Dior exhibition at the V&A; follow this with a cosy Sunday roast and a Bloody Mary with good friends upstairs at the The Cow and end the day with a long walk in Kensington Gardens with my cocker spaniel Blue.
For more information on the store and Connaught Village, please visit the Connaught Village website here: https://www.connaught-village.co.uk/