Q & A

Kevin Krier: The Ruler of the Runway

Kevin Krier
Founder, Kevin Krier & Associates

Sources of inspiration: Anything. "I was watching Good Morning America when the song 'Over the Rainbow' came on. And I thought about a rainbow."

Clients: Tom Ford, Tommy Hilfiger, Todd Oldham, Giorgio Armani, Yves Saint Laurent

June 11, 2001, 12:00 AM EDT

Fashion critics often compare runway shows to theater. But don't use that comparison with Kevin Krier, the man behind the staging and production of shows for some of fashion's hottest labels, including Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Tommy Hilfiger.

“I don't think fashion shows are theater,” says Krier. “The drama is inherent in the work. I don't like theatrical excess.”

It's a surprising remark, coming from Krier, whose first love and career was the theater. Krier was an actor before he started Kevin Krier & Associates, a special events production company that stages fashion shows as well as events such as the Council of Fashion Designers of America's awards. When producing a runway show, Krier oversees the selection of music, models, theme and venue--just about everything but the clothes.

Krier arrived in New York in 1981, after touring the regional theater circuit as an actor. His first show was for designer Bill Robinson, and he graduated to working for designers including legends Giorgio Armani and Yves Saint Laurent.

In his stark, white, SoHo office, which is punctuated by monochrome backstage shots of models, Krier explains his fashion show formula at his characteristically warp speed.

“There's a common myth that fashion shows just happen,” says Krier, dressed in an understated but stylish, crisp, slate blue shirt. “But in fact, it's a very ritualized, choreographed event. I try to make the sensory experience of a show come alive for the audience, and I try to bring an emotional quality to my work. All elements play equally, from the casting decision of the right boy or girl for the right fashion moment to the venue.”

Take, for example, his work for Tommy Hilfiger shows, which has included the casting of non-models including a bike messenger, a welder and an actor (Dharma & Greg's Thomas Gibson). He also booked rockers Bush to play at a show at Madison Square Garden that crystallized Hilfiger's all-American, rock 'n' roll image.

“They were some of our best moments in runway history,” says Stephen Cirona, Tommy Hilfiger's executive vice president and global creative director. ”[Krier has] always been able to keep it within our world. Kevin has the unique ability to understand each of his clients' individual needs so that he can create a vision that truly represents their individuality. It's not like he forces everyone down the same path.”

Krier credits his success to his highly efficient staff of 10, and the opportunity to work with visionary fashion designers. “I can learn from Tom [Ford, Gucci's creative director] every minute. I've had some great experiences with young designers like Todd Oldham.”

“For me, the hardest thing to do is to be a businessman,” says Krier. “I don't have the time schedule to do everybody.” But after doing more than 500 runway shows, and in spite of typical workdays that last up to 18 hours, Krier still has a sense of humor about his work. “We're not deconstructing the human genome,” he says. “But it's a life.”

Posted 06.11.01

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