The Fashion Folk S02 ep7 : Mahlia Kent, Eve Corrigan, [State]
Interview with Mahlia Kent
Mahlia Kent was Coco Chanel's fabric creator. Today, the company consists of a creative team coming from 15 different nationalities, under the direction of ex-fashion model - EVE CORRIGAN (French - American Mahlia Kent has over 50 years of long term relations with artists, designers and fashion stylists of the world and the great couture houses of CHANEL, DIOR, GUCCI, PRADA, KENZO, YSL, RALPH LAUREN, CK, DKNY, VERSACE, VALENTINO, etc.
Mahlia: Mahlia came for the student a lawyer student and she was doing like little pieces of fabrics
in her room and one day she pushed the door of Coco Chanel and Coco Chanel said okay I need
like 20 metres of each for next week and that’s how it started.
Mahlia: They worked together for like more than 10 years and after she created this company to be
on her own.
Mahlia: She was an artist. She had no idea about weaving so she had not limits. The technique was
there to help her not to stop her.
Mahlia: She had no children and it was like her baby and she wanted to have somebody with the
same sensibility than her so she had a lot of proposition from big groups and she didn’t want to sell
because she wanted to keep the spirit.
Mahlia: We had the same lawyer and one day he called and say you have to come now and Mahlia
was there and we spoke like half an hour together and she said okay it’s her. Well I had no idea
about weaving, about fabrics, no idea, that’s what she liked.
Mahlia: She was supposed to do the artistic job and we were waiting for her for one month, two
months and the division was coming closer and closer and we had no collection and one day a call
of the American hospital saying okay, this is Mr Kent and Mahlia my wife is almost dying so you
will not see her again alive, oh I said that’s very sad and on top of it I have to run this company, I
don’t know anything about weaving, I said okay, I’ll go there, I’ll go the factory. And I will see
after we will go on chapter 11 and that’s it. What else okay, so I went with no, absolutely no idea,
so in fact I felt very free and happy and I don’t know, and I did thing that usually you don’t do, at
the factory they said you can’t do that, I said yes, why not? It’s my thing of fashion so do it.
Mahlia: I made an history of art degree and after I was a model for Vogue, Elle and so, and after I
opened some shops where I would sell my own clothes so in fact I know about colours, I know
about fashion, it’s in my blood. But anyway I didn’t know anything about weaving at all. So I
come back with my rolls and the exhibition premier vision was like 2 days after and I say okay I
was laughing in my … because it’s okay, everybody’s going to come because we have people like
Valentino, Armani, Chanel and they are going to laugh and say ha, ha, ha, but what else, I did what
I could and it was like a hard … like a tsunami of people in the stand.
Mahlia: My main direction is creativity. All the time day and night when I travel it’s, I think
fabrics; when I go to an exposition, I think fabrics; when I go in a nightclub I think fabrics. You
know, it’s in my blood now.
Mahlia: We have a very famous creator that lost 30 kg if you see who I mean and so he was on a
diet and we had an appointment at 11 o’clock. He looked at the collection dah, dah, nice, this one,
okay, okay and he said okay. I would like a fabrics marmalade. I said sorry? Yes, like marmalade.
I said that’s it, marmalade fabric. I said okay, what else? Nothing else, I don’t know. Find it, do it.
I said give me perfume, he said okay, strawberry and orange. Okay so I came back here like you
know sometimes you come back, oh, oolalalala, so for the strawberry by dyed some nylon yarns in
Bordeaux so it was like a little trans___ like sugar, we weaved some sequins Bordeaux and
transfers also to make the pieces of sugar and the pieces of fruits. We made a tweed, in fact it
looked a little like a strawberry marmalade. It was a great success we made like 10,000 metres of
Mahlia: Every morning I feel happy to come here and to feel the spirit of creation the colours I
mean you know with few lot of music you make some melodies for years and with so many yarns
we have like 15,000 yarns different so imagine how many fabrics we can make for years, I would
like to live I don’t know 2,000 years more.
Mahlia: Sometimes when I do some fabrics I know already that this one is going to like is this one
and the other one, I know they are very different of course and we have never a problem that they
want the same fabric. Never. They don’t read the same things. We give exclusivity of course but
we don’t have to make choice because they don’t like the same things because they are I don’t
know like Picasso and Rembrandt, they don’t have the same sensitivities so it is the same, they
don’t like the same thing.
Mahlia: I’m still afraid, at the beginning now of each season because you have always to come up
with something new and it’s been now 20 collections that I’m afraid of not finding the new thing.
Of course you’re going to sell … and so, but you need also to excite people, to have something
new. And the truth, I’ll, so far, I always find it.
Mahlia: Galiano he wanted, we weaved some sequins, it’s very difficult to weave because to
embroider it’s easy but to weave you have to pass through the warp and sometimes it’s cut so when
it goes like this, it’s not easy, but he wanted sequins up underneath and up and underneath, like if it
was you know old, old fabric, I said, no … I’m not going to go to the factory and ask them because
they are going to kill me or they’re going to quit immediately. And at the end we succeeded.
Mahlia: We start with a design, with colours, and if it’s, we make 10cm and if we like it, we go to
one metre so we can make the collection and if we don’t like it we change the design or we change
the colours and we go on. And one of my stylists one day she was I don’t know she would do 10cm
and call me up, no, and some more and so at the end of the day she was crying, there was like two
metres of 10cm and nothing good, she had changed design, colours I mean she was crying, I said
okay, it happens, it’s not your day, tomorrow will be your day, or … week or so calm down okay,
you are a good one so, it’s not your day that’s all and one day people from big company, I’m not
allowed to tell the name, they … on the floor and the go like this and they say what’s that? Oh,
that’s fabulous because one piece was not nice but all together it was like a patchwork. And they
say, that’s what we want, we are looking for exactly this. We had it almost to clean the floor you
know so I said oh yes, that’s something else, it’s a new, a new concept and we made plenty of
metres of this one.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Mahlia Kent, Eve Corrigan, State