KiC recently caught up with one of our first Style Setters, Nikki Kule. Last summer I was thinking about a kid’s cashmere fisherman-knit sweater that Nikki had designed a few years ago. I asked her if, by any chance, she had one left over. “You’re in luck!” she replied and proceeded to tell me about the Kule women’s line she had set to debut this fall.
So, with KiC photo team in tow, we stopped by her uber chic (70’s mixed with antiques) apartment to preview the premier Kule collection. You have to remember, despite being an Upper East Side mother of two and head designer of Brooks Brothers’ children’s line, Nikki is super cool and relaxed with boho-meets-prep style. The eponymous collection captures its “preppy luxe” tagline to a T, with perfectly cut grey wool trousers, tailored jackets that are “just so”, sleeveless sweaters, Breton striped tops, and a bunch of great accessories. The entire line, plus some hand-picked “essentials” from MiH, Woolrich, Black Fleece and others, are available on her Kule website.
And yes, there is the most divine cashmere fisherman-knit sweater in her new collection!
You have been successful at designing children’s clothes, what made you want to re-launch Kule as a women’s line? I have been so lucky to have customers who have been so incredibly supportive over the years and willing to share directly with me what they want and what they are looking for. So many of them asked me to make the kids clothes in their sizes. Also, many of them would wear the kids clothes themselves. I made a couple of capsule collections for women years ago and they did very well. As soon as my kids grew out of the kids clothes I decided it was time to do something that was pure me.
Who is the Kule customer? She definitely has style and wants to always look great but she does so in the most effortless way. I want my customers to always feel comfortable but cool and modern at the same time.
You describe Kule as being Preppy Luxe. What is your inspiration for the line? I love everything that is classic and timeless. But even with the most iconic styles, fashion is never finished. I am inspired to reinterpret them in the most luxurious fabrics with a modern take. This season I found inspiration in the Scottish Aran knit sweater, the stripe boat neck tee and an old vintage Fair Isle sweater. I made them in super luxe cashmere with a sleeker fit to bring the classics to this decade. The preppy look is what I grew up with and what I aspired to wear as a teenager. I was always influenced by the New England aesthetic– the collegiate look from movies like The Graduate and Love Story and stores like LL Bean and Brooks Brothers.
Kule essentials: Everything I design is meant to be timeless and classic. That is the definition of an icon and the essence of the Kule brand. I want my customer to feel that each piece is an investment that they can wear for a long time. I plan to have my basic items, like the cashmere sweaters, always available.
Your fall essentials: Fall essentials aren’t so much about the items as what I am doing. For example, I love taking walks in Central Park with my kids on the weekend. That to me is a ‘fall essential.’ As for clothes, I will be wearing my Brooks Brothers Black Fleece Macintosh bowler bag and Mih oversized white shirt with a Kule Scottie ivory sweater and a Woolrich down coat.
Coming next season: This was a very small collection that will be sold mainly online. Next season the collection will include more handbags and I am currently working on shoes. Mostly, I have been working on sourcing globally to expand Kule’s design capabilities and to insure a truly unique look to each piece.
18-karat gold turquoise ring
Kalia denim jacket
Lighter-heel leather mules
Carolina single-breasted wool-twill cocoon coat
Demi-fine 14K gold-plated hoop
Oversized-lapel double-breasted wool-blend coat
Quincy shiny ballerina loafer mule
Pleated checked wool midi skirt
Checked wool blazer
High-rise straight-leg jeans
Blanche leather ankle boots
Bellechasse medium leather-trimmed canvas bag