default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
Not you?||
Logout|My Dashboard

What's in My Loft?: Karolyn Kiisel, Fashion District Building - Los Angeles Downtown News - For Everything Downtown L.A.!: Community

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
Not you?||
Logout|My Dashboard

Community What's in My Loft?: Karolyn Kiisel, Fashion District Building

The Tools of the Trade, and Some Tiki Fare, in a Fabric-Powered Edifice

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Friday, March 16, 2012 3:44 pm

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - Fashion designer Karolyn Kiisel lives in a decidedly appropriate spot — on the sixth floor of a building that holds a fabric store and storage facility. Kiisel is the only resident in the structure and playfully refers to the space as her “international headquarters.” The Los Angeles Street building even has an elevator operator 

1. “I had this longtime friend, Bill Wolf, who I worked with in my 20s. He was a set designer and when he passed away I inherited all of his artwork, which is stored in shelves below my favorite painting he did. I love this piece because it kind of reminds me of him. Also, it was done 20 years ago, but is still kind of of-the-moment. It’s very graffiti looking and kind of hip.” 

2. “My father carved this tiki statue in the ’50s and I preserved it. I moved it from our family house in La Crescenta where it was falling apart. When I was a kid the house was decorated Hawaiian-style. We had a kidney-shaped pool, wicker lounges in the shape of mermaids and fishing nets on our patio with glass bulbs in them. My father was an artist, so one day a delivery truck pulled up with two giant palm logs, and he went into the garage with these logs for the next four months. He used his blowtorch and chiseled away until he made two tikis.”

3. “This old sewing machine was my first industrial machine. After I graduated from UC Berkley where I studied costume design I got a job at the Napa Valley Theater Company. There was a big Levi Strauss factory in Napa and I had a friend who was a mechanic there. He got me this sewing machine for $125. It seemed like a lot of money at the time, but it’s gotten me through many a costume job. I gave it to my daughter but she’s keeps it here. People always think it’s an antique, but it’s a working sewing machine.”

4. “When I moved from South Pasadena I cleaned out my storage and I found these Women’s Wear Daily advertisements. They were big, oversized newspapers with fabulous color illustrations that I had stored in the ’80s and then mounted to preserve them. Some of my favorite prints were by Andy Warhol; he got his start by drawing shoes and purses for department stores. I was really happy to find these because they remind me of working in the fashion industry in the ’80s.”

© Los Angeles Downtown News 2011

More about

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 2 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. AND PLEASE TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
  • 3 Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
  • 4 Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 5 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 6 Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Welcome to the discussion.