Stylish Inspiration: Kayne Gillaspie of Johnathan Kayne

Johnathan “Kayne” Gillaspie is the President and Creative Director of Johnathan Kayne. Born and raised in Nashville, TN, he became enamored by fashion by watching his favorite country music legends perform and walk the red carpet. Two stints on Project Runway (season 3 in 2006 and All Stars season 2 in 2012) plus appearances on ABC, Bravo, E!, NBC, TLC and The Style Network have earned him celebrity designer status and a roster of star clients. Heidi Klum dubbed him a “genius designer” and Michael Kors lauded him as “a designer who knows how to make clothes and fit a woman’s body.” Stars across the entertainment spectrum including Jennifer Lopez, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Kelly Pickler, Tanya Tucker, Lee Brice, Rascal Flatts and his favorite country legend Dolly Parton have worn his designs. He is a magna cum laude graduate of The Fashion Institute of Technology.

Kayne showcases gowns in his Johnathan Kayne showroom

We caught up with Kayne as he prepared his largest Fall collection to date for the April 2017 VOW | New World of Bridal Market.

Tell us about your creative process.

When I design, I really think about the woman. In social occasion, it is so important to know your customer. Where is she going? What is she thinking? What does she want to look like and how does she want to feel?

If my customer is wearing a social occasion gown, it’s because this is an important day or evening for her.  We have the girl who has been nominated for the Homecoming Court, the woman hosting a gala and the pageant contestant who has a shot at the title. Or maybe it’s her first time wearing gown.

I keep all of this in mind and once I see fabrics, I put everything into place.

What is the design cycle?  

I start on the Fall collection right after the Spring show closes. For this collection, I started earlier than ever – I actually spent 200 percent more time on it!

In October, I created the sketches for the gowns and sent them and my mood boards to my factory.

In January, I went to the factory to see how everything was coming together.

We received the samples in March. We photographed them and prepped them to show to our buyers at Market.

Where do you see social occasion fashion going?

The biggest shift is in the new generation. Designers have to have something new and innovative to keep them interested. Social media shows consumers something beautiful and inspirational all the time, so we have to keep up.

We stick to our guns by creating the sexy gowns that we are known for, while innovating the construction. For example, one of our new gowns has a hidden zipper in the plunge that makes it versatile and work for multiple women. We also have convertible pieces that can change up the look of the gown so it can be worn multiple times while looking fresh and new.

What are your three tips for success for social occasion retailers?

  1. Look at the girl’s body and how she is built. Know your gowns’ construction so you can make recommendations that will flatter her the most.
  2. Talk to the customer and see what her vision is for her gown. Ask what she is dead set on and what can be compromised. Then go the extra mile to get her exactly what she wants.
  3. Do it with grace and be good to people. Truly be humble and thank your customers for their business. Do it with a smile.

Johnathan Kayne is located on Building 3, Floor 10-E332.

Charleston Fashion Week Begins, and We’re There!

CFW-logo.purple.artinstitute 1Lights, Camera, Fashion! Charleston Fashion Week kicked off Tuesday night with the Emerging Designers Competition and we were there as sponsors! The collections ranged from Childrenswear to Ready-to-Wear. Highlights included childrenswear designer Barbara Beach who showcased impeccably made kids clothing with adorable children in jackets, shorts and dresses.  Chelsie Ravenell showcased men’s and women’s ready-to-wear with incredible attention to detail and exquisite designs. His prep-inspired looks ranged from bow ties to cargo shorts. Larika Page was inspired by old world details and presented a fabulous line with tulle details. Jamie Lin Snider presented her spring collection with full on feminine details complete with matching pink pumps on all her models. 

Emerging Designer finalists were chosen last night and include Barbara Bush, Larika Page, and Jamie Lin Snider who will all compete in a final design challenge. A final winner will be chosen on Saturday night and the winner will be featured in a temporary booth at the April Atlanta Apparel Market!

The featured designer, Project Runway alum Gordana Gehlhausen, closed the show with a fabulous presentation of her Fall 2010 runway collection.  Her designs included beautiful knits, ring details, sweaters and jackets. Her color inspiration included black, purple and greys.  

And the week continues! Stay tuned for more CFW updates!

Reality Check with Jonathan Kayne

kayne2Jonathan Kayne is no stranger to reality television or Atlanta Apparel. Here is the most recent scoop from Kayne himself:

Kayne’s TOP special occasion trends
Prints – Playful prints and colors have fully saturated the market
Cocktail – Fashion forward pieces that you can wear for more than one occasion
Oversized flowers and bows – using different fabrics, draping and textures to create flower and bow motifs

Kayne’s TOP summer trends
Romantic – Soft, sweet,  romantic and feminine, with a soft and simple side
Color – Soft colors and simple lines, muted colors are fading and soft colors are emerging

Kayne on Inspiration
Kayne uses the female form to draw inspiration. He believes in clothing that comes alive on the female form, which is both sexy and feminine. Growing up with 5 sisters he learned the importance of exaggerating shape.

Kayne on why he chose to be on reality television again
Kayne has always been enamored with television. He grew up watching his heroes on television and in country music so what better way to emulate than be the star of his own reality.

Kayne on Gown Crazy versus Project Runway
Kayne admits the biggest difference between his reality television projects is being free of the attitudes and egos that come with Project Runway. However, this also means more pressure, as he is the ring master of his new show Gown Crazy, and this time the prize is building a reputation and a career.   

Top 3 reasons to watch Kayne on TLC
Hysterically Funny – Kayne admits to brilliant editing but he also says that he really is living the life as the character they portray him to be
Feel good, light-hearted show
Suspense – Can he get the work done in time? (Project Runway anyone?)

I know I can’t wait to watch! If you missed Kayne in the Wow! Showroom during Market, you can catch him on Gown Crazy on TLC.  It will be airing October 30 at 10 p.m. and again October 31 at 12:00 p.m.