There are some things that I think the English just “get” before they seep into our collective consciousness, on this side of the pond – music, for one; razor-sharp tailoring for another.  My dear friend, Kalinka, is the personification of this latter example.

While her designs have been go-to arrows in the quivers of industry insiders and fashionistas for more than two decades, it was the English who really cottoned to her, with such A-list retailers as Harvey Nichols, Harrods, and Selfridge’s ordering whatever pieces of her collections weren’t being made especially for members of the Bahraini royal family.

In the past few seasons, though, the US buyers have again taken notice; and key pieces from Kalinka’s newest collection can be found at Bergdorf Goodman, and online at and (where both sites feature KALINKA in their respective "Premier Designer" sections).

There are a few things I’ve always admired about Kalinka and the way she views fashion, and creates wonderful garments.  First, she just understands a woman’s body.  In addition to never producing anything she wouldn’t wear, herself; she physically wears her prototypes prior to putting them into production to address any issues of fit, movement, and fabrication woes (i.e. does the lace snag, or is a particular dart hitting in the wrong place).

Second, but certainly no less important to the designer or the clothes she creates, is the fabric she uses.  Whenever I’ve entered her atelier – whether in 1997 or 2011 – it’s the way the lights play off of her carefully curated fabrics that immediately catches my eye.   Kalinka can look at a bolt of fabric, and in her mind’s eye see the garment in its fully constructed state.  So, whether it’s a metallic floral jacquard, a beaded satin, or a micro-sequined lace, these fabrics become more than just the backdrop for some fabulous accessories, but often become the adornment themselves.  And, when used in combination with a clever boat-neck or jewel-neck (perhaps dropping to a sassy V in the back), many of her cocktail dresses alleviate the need for a necklace, altogether.  And, at this time of year, what with parties and galas galore, sometimes one less thing to worry about is a very nice thing, indeed.

Finally, every KALINKA garment is imbued with that little twinkle that appears in their namesake’s eye.  The KALINKA customer – like the designer, herself – worries not about such fripperies as the raising or lowering of hemlines; and I’ll wager that she had absolutely no idea that 2011 was The Year of the Shoulder.  As a matter of fact, Kalinka describes her view on the subject, thusly, “I don’t pay attention to trends.  Trends are just the moment. Great style is what lasts.”

Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman
Click HERE to view collection

Get into it!

Related Articles: