Koltson, the new sustainable eveningwear label from designer Robert Rodriguez, former chief creative officer for Halston, made its debut at New York Fashion Week.
Bringing together sustainable luxury and innovative design for the label’s autumn/winter 2023 collection, Rodriguez partnered with Vicky Barranguet, an abstract expressionist artist based in New York, as well as fashion illustrator Pepe Muñoz and fashion architect Geri Gerard.
“I am honoured to be surrounded by such amazing artists who inspire me to push further boundaries in my work,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “Through collaborations my vision comes to life.”
The designer says his desire to do something “more meaningful that simply creating clothing,” spurred him to launch Koltson. The designer says Kolston will create a common thread between art and fashion, supporting artists and artisans along the way.
“I was thrilled to receive Robert’s invitation to bring my abstract expressions into his world,” Barranguet said. “I enjoyed the harmonious flow of inspiration and the freedom with which we could express ourselves in our own mediums. That was the rule of the game, joining our purest forces to create a final piece through Robert’s magical touch. I loved capturing his inspiration and stories, our interactions, and moments in my work. It’s truly a great privilege to be part of this wonderful collaboration, which gives new life and movement to my art.”
Muñoz said it was an “instant yes” when Rodriguez called with the offer. “To work with somebody so passionate, kind, and inspiring is a gift,” Muñoz said. “He loves what he does, which inspires me to become a better Illustrator. I want to portray his work to the level of beauty and perfection it deserves. Working together on this collaboration and illustrating Vicky’s beautiful art on Robert’s striking gowns has been a pleasure and an honor.”
Koltson is shining a spotlight on sustainable and biodegradable materials including FSC-certified viscose, as well as non-toxic dyes, and responsible manufacturing practices.
According to the designer, Koltson’s sustainability commitments go beyond materials and includes production, too; Rodriguez says the garments are being manufactured in New York City in order to reduce the label’s carbon footprint.
“I want to support the garment district and the local suppliers, sewers, and artisans here,” Rodriguez said. “Local production also allows for better quality control, ensures fair wages are paid to workers, shortens lead times to allow for on-demand production, and facilitates a more sustainable supply chain that minimises transportation emissions. We are hoping to play a small part in revitalising manufacturing in the U.S. and specifically here in New York.”
The Cuban-born Rodriguez got his start at Dior as a young designer. He has dressed celebrities including Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lopez, Nicole Kidman, Rihanna, Eva Longoria, Oprah Winfrey, Angela Bassett, Lady Gaga, among others. He was inducted into the Council of Fashion Designers of America, where he remains an active member. In 2015, Jones New York acquired his eponymous brand, where he continued his post until 2019 when he became the Chief Creative Officer for Halston in 2020.
There, he rediscovered the roots of the brand and recreated the iconic designer’s aesthetic through a modernized lens. Rodriguez collaborated with the Halston Netflix series on a capsule collection sold exclusively at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, leading to a resurgence of the brand at the forefront of fashion.
The Koltson debut collection features 32 looks that take inspiration from kaftans, which were a mainstay at Haltston. Prices range from $279 to $3,995.
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