Kevork Kiledjian's debut Ash collection
If you love shoes, then chances are you have stumbled upon - no pun intended - a brand called Ash.
The Paris-based label founded by Leonello Calvani and Patrick Ithier in 2000 has built a cult following thanks to its urban yet glamorous silhouettes - metallic hi-tops, embellished sneakers and slouchy boots - at affordable prices.
Over the past few years the brand has branched out and expanded its offerings to include children's wear, menswear, outerwear, and this season it is charting new territory with the launch of its first ready-to-wear collection.
"The desire of the owners is to create a lifestyle and ready-to-wear is the perfect complement to that. Ash is different to other brands in the shoewear industry - it's not like Gianvito Rossi, or even Nike. Our look is connected to a lifestyle, so clothing makes sense," says designer Kevork Kiledjian, who was recently in Hong Kong to showcase the spring-summer 2015 collection.
Kiledjian, who was hired to bring the Ash look to life, is the ideal man for the job. Born and raised in Paris, he hails from a family of fashion lovers - his sister is a designer while his father was a couturier at Lanvin in the 1940s. His own entry into the industry came through music via his obsession with hip hop in the '90s. He first open a boutique in the south of France stocking niche street wear labels from New York and Los Angeles, before goint on to launch two successful lines, Triiad and Guilty Brotherhood.
In 2011, he entered the luxury world with a namesake collection that attracted fans such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Moss and Michelle Obama. Then the line took a back seat when he was approached by Ithier to launch Ash's first collection.
"The whole thing was a great challenge, but it's not necessarily about starting from scratch, because you have a world that already exists. I really related to Ash because it's about combining street and luxury. For me it is an opportunity to be super creative while also being able to see my clothes on women on the streets everywhere," he says.
The debut collection, which is available at Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong, offers women a complete wardrobe. There is something for everyone with 100-plus styles ranging from playful dresses, cropped tops and salvaged denim to mesh sweatshirts, printed leggings and trench coats.
Yet the pieces are far from basic thanks to intricate details and fabrics as seen in items such as the ruched leather pants, delicate sheer tops, quilted leather shorts and Kiledjian's favourite - an oversized neoprene perfecto (biker jacket) in a chic shade of pink.
"The look is edgy, cool, sophisticated and street. The street is a big reference for every luxury brand today and in turn the street is inspired by luxury. Ash ready-to-wear is testament to this meeting of cultures - it's modern in its outlook and it breaks the rules," he says.
The collection also references elements of Kiledjian's own style, as seen in the luxe leather dresses and sculptural silhouettes. And he hopes to build on this vision.
"Successful brands are all about building a DNA. In one year we will keep this rock'n'roll feel, but maybe develop more of a sporty vibe. It's all about feeling it out - you have to find your own way while knowing what's right for the brand," he says.