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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Monday, 21 November 2011

From Island to High End

Karine Dupouy- Designer for KanKan

When you look at her, Karine Dupouy could be a Model- beautiful features framed by cascading black hair and a great figure but the pretty young woman is instead a talented emerging Fashion Designer I have the privilege of counting as one of my friends.

Born of Mauritian parents and raised in the Seychelles for the most part of her life, Karine went off to study at the prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. This college formed notable Alumni such as John Galliano, Stella McCartney, Zac Possen, Gareth Pugh , Alexander McQueen and Sara Burton, therefore it could have easily intimidated a young girl coming from small islands in the Indian Ocean. Instead it made her thrive and give her best which led her to a one-year placement in Franck Sorbier's Paris Haute Couture fashion house. She did not stop there, jetting to Italy for a placement with Ratti- a textile manufacturer who provides to Haute Couture fashion houses around the world. Finally the last leg of her apprenticeship gave her the chance to work with London based Brazilian designer Lena Santana where she learned a lot about combining interesting textiles with traditional draping techniques.

With such a resume, one can only expect great things from the young designer who recently presented a new ladies wear collection for her own label Kankan - a creole word meaning 'spread the word'. The label is currently expanding, having started off by making T-Shirts with exquisite prints; a lot of them being pictures of her paintings mixed up with vibrant colours. She has now fully embraced the ladies wear side of designing.

Not one to disappoint, her collection is fresh, elegant and classic.The garments are into two categories, ready to wear and Haute Couture. The ready to wear collection contains summer dresses and tops in subtly printed cotton, silk and lace dresses and a gorgeous embroidered black dress.

Fresh and vibrant, the clothes are perfect for the warm summer season. what is remarkable with the outfits is that there is a strong attention to detail. The beige silk and lace dress above has soft pleats around the bust area which gives it a very feminine and romantic look. The lace is delicate and not over dominant.

Detailing even in the smallest items, like buttons!

The Haute-Couture collection features items in predominantly dark tones, blacks, dark grey, light grey and white. These items set out to overlay time-honored Japanese traditional clothing with refined contemporary french Haute-Couture. The aim was to unify the typical Japanese principle of 'concealment' with the French tendency to 'reveal' and the result is light flowing fabrics combined with layered pleats and ruffles.
Haute Couture outfit

There are also a few pieces in lighter tones, a beautiful white dress strikes out , as well as a full length dress in a beige tone with vibrant aqua and hot pink embroideries. A multi-colored one shoulder dress stands out from the lot, the layers make it seem very comfortable to wear on a warm summer evening. As always the eye catching effect remains in the details with thoroughly worked shoulder straps giving the dress an air of unparalleled sophistication.
Haute Couture Dress

Haute Couture Black Dress

Karine's muse and inspiration for this collection was Eva Mendes; who with her Latin charms was imagined being on holiday. Just like her muse, the collection is sweet and innocent with a hint of provocation. But what makes Karine's clothes so likable is the fact that she tends to design for herself, " I think that it is important to be your own muse; if you design something you will enjoy wearing yourself, it makes it more fun and enjoyable". Her surroundings, the shapes, natural colors as well as the work of other designers also play a big part in the designing process with her feelings being ever present- "I try to convey my emotions through my designs"

Seychelles sceneries shot by Karine Dupouy

Karine Dupouy is a multi talented and passionate woman, her interests list photography, specially editing her photographs on photoshop by playing with artificial colors applied to reality. When feeling in the mood to relax, her favored activity consists of sitting in her room and painting for a straight two days, and the results are fascinating. Cooking up a storm with local produce from the Seychelles, reading fashion blogs and travelling, about which she says she loves ' visiting new places in this beautiful world we live in.' contribute to her versatile list of activities. But most importantly, Karine draws her many strengths from her family which she credits for much of her success 

Photography by Karine Dupouy
Kankan will be available at the departure lounge of the Seychelles International Airport from December. Once that is done, the ambitious young lady's plans include creating her own fashion house in the Seychelles so that all of her clothes will be produced locally instead of outsourcing manufacturers overseas. She is also planning more retail outlets and of course fashion shows in the Seychelles and overseas. All this in the spirit of putting her beloved country on the Fashion map and I am sure she will succeed at it with her incredible talent and hard work.

Kankan has its own page on facebook and the link to it's website is attached to this article.


  1. Jean Pierre Foster22 November 2011 at 17:02

    At last it appears that Seychelles has some talent emerging. I will be sure to keep my eye out on my next trip out there.

    Keep up the good work Karine.

  2. wow,amazed and proud


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