Photography by Krishna Godhead
Text by Katherine Aplin
Tucked away in the dense jungle of southern Bali, KXG Artisanal flourishes into being. Heavy air pulses, warm and humid, pushing forward the creative process of partners in life and work, Katharine Grace and Krishna Godhead. Both of them Australian transplants, they met serendipitously in the mountains of Indonesia. Their instantaneous connection shifted their solo lives towards the manifestation of a shared vision and KXG was born.
KXG marries the harsh and the delicate, creating a relationship of symbiosis, each one feeding off the needs of the other. The expert draping of fine chiffons and silks is blended with the use of structured skins, always revered. An air of heightened craftsmanship flows through the garments, every piece becoming an utterly unique work of wearable art. What results is a collection that is supple yet severe and hauntingly beautiful. Emotion-evoking imagery then propels their creations even further as each photograph of Katharine, shot by Krishna, is not only visually stunning but capable of telling story after story.
The mention of Bali elicits thoughts of lush foliage and sun-drenched skies, but KXG oftentimes puts forth a grave aesthetic, using neutrals and B&W photographs. Can you speak to the contrast at play?
The savage nature of a jungle is a constant play of juxtapositions. Ancient, stoic remnants of temples stand silently in the thick and brutish jungle. The heavy heat of a constant summer maintains itself in the dark shadows created by dense vegetation. Throughout this harsh environment arises hand died raw silks, paper-thin exotic skins, and delicate artisanal hand embroidery. The environment is beautiful and barbaric, creating a dialogue that furthers our creations.
How does your creative process unfold?
After dialog reveals our direction of design, the dress form and experimentation is our next step, along with fabrication. Ultimately, the choice of material and method defines all. Whether we are sculpting a whole crocodile skin around a torso or draping, pleating, and pinning sheets of hand-painted organza, we find the process and evolution of the garment of the greatest importance.
Why is the act of ritual important to the ethos of KXG?
Part of our structure and DNA is to deeply understand that within this world, there is already so much and of such high turnover, with built-in obsolescence. We make a limited number of unique and one off garments as our collections are small and specific.
We try to produce as little as possible in the way of excessive waste and to understand the toil that is imbued in each raw material, whether it be the loss of life in the skins of an animal, the excesses in the process and production of a simple cotton, or the staggering enormity in the yards of woven worm silk. Our ultimate desire is to produce limited pieces that are intensely personal and precious.
If you could dress anyone, who would it be?
Many women from varied disciplines inspire KXG: women who create, fight and inspire. Women of intelligence, desire and individuality and if to be more specific, fellow Australian Cate Blanchett epitomizes the essence of KXG.
Describe KXG in less than 10 words.
Honor of sacrifice; create through humility