As a little girl, Sara watched her mother sew clothes and was soon making clothes for Barbie dolls and Cabbage Patch Kids. At 12 years old she realized that a “fashion designer” was actually a job description and commented that “since then there was nothing else I wanted to do so badly.” Graduating from FIT in Milan and designing for Michael Kors and Valentino for many years, Sara Roka pursued her dream of creating a fashion collection inspired by the men’s shirt. Her brother, a swimmer with tall slender features and long arms, could never find an “off-the rack” shirt that fitted properly. She decided to make his shirts, which eventually evolved into a shirt dress with a poplin belt. “I have always loved the shirt, as it has many faces. It can be dressed down or dressed up, worn with anything, worn everywhere; beach, dinner, dancing, formal, work, or relax,” Sara explains. “When faced with having to make a quick decision for what to wear, the shirt is the easiest way to be sophisticated and casual at the same time. The shirt is great for every occasion, and the perfect can- vas for accessories and one woman’s personality to show through.” Bringing masculine fabrics and construction into a women’s collection is her trademark.
How best to learn haute couture fashion? Spend seven years designing with the best in Paris, Ate- lier Caraco Canezou. Working with clients such as Chanel, Givenchy, and Yves Saint-Laurent, Ms. Kepp honed her skills of printing, dyeing, cutting, stitching, and designing; and started the Lucy Kepp label in 2011. South of Paris in Sancerre amidst the beauty of vineyards, Lucy focuses on her signature, Art in Fashion. Painting with colored fabrics and sculpting every garment with ribbons, she creates original pieces, no two exactly alike, pleasing clientele looking to express their individuality with truly original women’s wear. “Silk painting and ribbon pleating, exclusively made by hand, are free and spontaneous sewing techniques created be me,” Lucy states with pride. “It’s like holding on by magic.”
A recent project, Art, Fashion and Wine, was a collaboration with renowned painter, Guy le Corroller, and Lucy Kepp. “He undresses women in his paintings, she dresses them with brush strokes of fabric. The two artists have created a common work: a dress cut and draped in an original canvas painted by Guy Le Corroller”. The dress, worn by Berry Tagadda, was featured at the winery, domaine Thomas et fils. All participants are residents of Sancerre, love art and enjoy a glass of wine on occasion.
What’s next for Ksenija Vrbanic? Fashion evolution or maybe revolution is her lifestyle now and forever. “The game never stops, it starts from the beginning … from season to sea- son,” says Ksenija with a smile. The next stop will be fashion week in London or New York.
For more exclusive photographs, be sure to purchase our Aug/Sept 2013 issue!