Colm Dillane–founder, fashion designer, wunderkind, and the living manifestation of this month’s theme, ardor, because despite helming a Puma collaboration, winning the LVMH’s Karl Lagerfeld prize, and working with Louis Vuitton, it seems that Dillane’s name has only recently thrown around in conversations about promising designers. Even with the many hats he wears, Dillane’s relentlessness in mastering his craft is often tucked behind a cheeky, mischievous grin or a stoic demeanor–a part of his charisma reflected in the brand he founded, KidSuper.
Informed and influenced by his upbringing in Brooklyn, Dillane was always enchanted and surrounded by Supreme, Bape, and streetwear staples of that ilk, but instead of buying them, Dillane was inspired to create his own pieces. What started out as selling t-shirts to his classmates turned into starting KidSuper in 2010.
As legend has it, the name originated from a session of freestyling and Dillane’s desire to become a superhero–and thus, KidSuper was born. Hallmarked by original painted graphics, quilting uniting vibrant colors, and patchwork that your grandfather would be proud of, KidSuper’s fantastical, larger-than-life design DNA has allured the likes of Mac Miller, Bad Bunny, and the A$AP Mob, among other cultural icons. The brand ditches minimalist pastels for extravagant, maximalist designs intricately incorporated into baggy silhouettes. Traditional motifs and compositions are reimagined from patterns into dream sequences on cloth–army camo becomes an aged, disembodied face the same way monogrammed sweatshirts replace the brand name with rows and rows of eyes jutting out. The brand has also achieved the prestige of being recognizable without the overwhelming use of its logo; somehow, crayon-colored designs reminiscent of lunch time in kindergarten and multi-plaid compositions are equally distinguishable as KidSuper pieces. No piece of clothing is left out either, as KidSuper offers everything from quintessential streetwear uniforms–puffers, sweats, and corduroy jackets, etc.–to gala-ready garments, the likes of which include long coats and blazers.
Despite its near ten year stint as a clothing brand and its prevalence among cultural icons, KidSuper only began gaining mainstream traction in Paris Fashion Week for Spring Summer 2020. Dillane’s show, titled ‘Bull in a China Shop,’ paid homage to his Spanish heritage. With a custom Russ-created soundtrack played by Dominic Fike of Euphoria fame, the surrealism of disembodied faces on sweaters giving side eye glances–among other equally imaginative pieces–were probably firsts for many in the audience. But while this show and subsequent ones failed to drum up much attention, it provided traction for Dillane to flourish during the pandemic.
In a virtual stop-motion Barbie fashion show labeled, “Everything is Fake Until It’s Real,” the likes of Pablo Escobar, Salvador Dali, and Meryl Streep were in attendance as plastic dolls. Arguably, Dillane had a leg up when it came to the virtual space, given his deep connection to modern youth culture and social media–an advantage that propelled him to the levels of LVMH brands as his show garnered their attention. Capitalizing on this momentum, Dillane was soon enlisted to work on a notable assemblage of other creative projects.
Puma’s September 2020 collaboration blended KidSuper’s iconic visages with Puma’s iconic silhouettes–tracksuits, polar fleece camos, and other sportswear. However, the collaboration was most notably hallmarked by the reinvention of Puma’s Mirage Mox sneaker, where elements of suede, nylon, and leather got to know each other in a wildly colorful intersection of streetwear and sport. Puma has since dropped two other capsules in 2021, which saw even odder creations from sneakers with pencil holders to variations of the human face camo.
Most recently, following a win of the LVMH Karl Lagerfeld prize and other collaborations, Dillane has been enlisted to helm the latest Louis Vuitton collaboration–a milestone in the creative’s career. Off a viral–infectious, almost–collection with Yayoi Kusama, Dillane was shouldering the monumental challenge of keeping standards high and his fans satisfied. Fusing his signature motifs with LV’s premier craftsmanship yielded reinterpretations of LV’s camo with the iconic faces, along with monochromatic suits interspersed throughout. The collection saw a rather drastic mutation of the LV DNA that was set forth by late designer Virgil Abloh. From rustic accessories representing quaint everyday items to a complete redesign of an LV handbag silhouette, Dillane’s influence was more than present–it was apparent. Nonetheless, these risks garnered critical acclaim with only pluses added to Dillane’s stats and his resume.
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So what’s next? The answer is: No one really knows. For such a hot topic at the moment, Dillane’s endeavors remain largely private to the wider public, with the only certainty being that his studio is up to no good. The thing is, Colm Dillane is liquid in a form-changing vase–he’s the Super Kid.
Written by Lucas Sumartha