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A Living, Breathing Piece of Art – Stylist Marian Kihogo

We had the pleasure of speaking with the fabulous Marian Kihogo, who in her own words embodies ‘a car crash of 70s luxe bohemian meets unapologetic tailoring meets rock n roll.’ In our humble opinion, may we say, this chick kicks ass. The Ghana born, London based stylist is making an impact on fashion blogs and online magazines with her edgy, yet incredibly sophisticated style. We got her take on fashion inspiration, music, contemporary art, and a little bit of everything in between.

HS: So you are a celebrity stylist, creative consultant, editor, writer, blogger, and art director. What’s your favorite part of what you do?

MK: “I love working with people. Whether it’s styling clients for the Red Carpet, creative consulting for different brands, or tv engagements, the relationship with people is what I find interesting. Interacting and receiving feedback from my audience is what I find most exciting.”

HS: We understand you came from a family of artists and creatives. How did this inspire you to get into this industry?

MK: “I don’t think I had an ‘aha moment.’ I was born into it. I’ve never known anything other than that. Ever since I can remember, my earliest childhood memories at four or five, there was always art around me. My mother traveled a lot and I had a multi-global view on fashion and art from an early age. Maybe that’s inspired me to always push boundaries – some of my contemporaries at fifteen and sixteen would imitate what they saw in magazines – as most teenagers do, often wanting to blend. But for me, my mother inspired me to push boundaries and create my own identity. I had my own philosophies and style. I think some of my friends  find this approach more fascinating – always pushing and interpreting things in my own way.”

HS: We love how you balance the masculine and feminine aesthetic. Are there any male style icons that have influenced your look?

MK: “Yes. Androgyny – I admire the look. Prince and David Bowie have influenced me. Before Lady Gaga, Bowie was known for reinventing himself and I loved how he transformed. Jimi Hendrix’s look also influenced me a lot. His whole 70s luxe thing was quite incredible. Those three: Prince, David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix have been very instrumental for me.”

HS: What are the five pieces in your wardrobe you couldn’t live without?

MK: “Wow this is a hard one as there are so many pieces I adore but if I had to pick I’d say…

* Leather pants – These are like superman’s suit to me. I can do anything in them, be anyone style wise.

* White shaggy faux fur – I am drawn to texture and the possibilities it creates. I have this shaggy faux fur jacket that is a little crazy and mad-hatter but sometimes the messier the better.

* Ana Sekularac Ana Fall Winter 2009-2010 Scarlet Red Cocktail Dress – Forget the little black dress, in my closet it is all about the impact having, Scarlet Red Dress. Ana combines conception, structure and grace with ease. The satin dress is in her signature scarlet red with focal pleat folds that lead into a structural left shoulder. The back and right sleeve (including the insert of the top of the bust) is in black sheer fabric. It is my favorite dress.

* Vintage YSL Rive Gauche dogtooth coat – I like that this embodies two things that I adore; masculine tailoring and print. They just don’t make outerwear like they used to. The tailoring is immaculate.

* Vintage Wim Hemmink couture dress – It is an off the shoulder metallic brocade dress which is no doubt from the 80’s. I took a pair of scissors to it to make it more current.

HS: We’ve noticed you have a penchant for highly conceptual designs. What do you feel is the relationship between conceptual art and conceptual fashion?

MK: “They are symbiotic, aren’t they? Fashion couldn’t exist without the connection between fashion and contemporary art. Fashion is a form of art and I couldn’t exist without art. I love the idea of living, breathing pieces of art. It’s one thing to hang a piece of art, but it’s more fascinating to breathe life into that piece and wear it. Wearing art makes you live it.

Art and fashion are merging more and more. So many new designers are more of artists these days – Dries Van Noten, Comme des Garcons, Ana Sekularac. Ana is a Serbian born, British designer who blends the conceptual with elegance. Her designs transcend trends. I can see myself wearing her pieces for 10 – 20 years.”

HS: So, you have to be tuned into the music industry. Who are your favorite artists?

MK: “If I had to name my look, I would call it a car crash of 70s luxe bohemian meets unapologetic tailoring meets rock n roll. I love rock – I’m a huge fan of the Rolling Stones. But I adore every type of music, from Marianne Faithfull to Billie Holiday to Grace Jones. But Grace is my top pick. I see her in the work of Gaga and the popular artists of the moment.

I need someone I can follow on a journey music-wise. Joni Mitchell is my favorite songwriter. She is just incredible. In every song, I feel like she is speaking to me. She’s probably the artist I listen to the most. Her music is like a lifestyle i believe in… The Church of Joni Mitchell. I even love her artwork. She’s fascinating. In my opinion she’s the greatest songwriter.”

HS: What do you see being the big trends of 2011?

MK: “There are quite a few but I think the one that will have the most impact has to be the 1970’s. Its influence is everywhere; the opulence trend which sees designers like Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton show a decadent spring summer 2011 collection, the resurgence of both the maxi skirt and the wide leg, the palette of  purples, plums, turquoise, mustard and jewel tones etc.”

HS: Is there a part of the world that you cannot get enough of… to visit or just for pure inspiration?

MK:  “Africa. The continent is an incredible source of inspiration for me. There is endless inspiration to be had as each country has many tribes, languages, cultures, traditional dress and so on.

No two countries in Africa are the same be it in terms of landscape, food or way of life. I am inspired by the little things and all the nuances in between, like the hair braiding trends in each country, or the bearing someone might have in their traditional wear, architecture in the different countries, the way people interact with each other, and how they celebrate their milestones.”

Marian Kihogo is a stylist, an online contributing editor at PUSH IT Magazine, and creative consultant. Check out her incredibly influential and entertaining Vogue UK approved blog.

Katherine Tyznik.HighStreet.New York

One Response to “A Living, Breathing Piece of Art – Stylist Marian Kihogo”

  1. Mum says:

    Oh May, my baby, You did it I knew you will go places with your talent and I was right. This is so incredible and I am very happy for you. Keep it up and remember the sky is the limit. Go girl! GO!

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