In her three years of presenting at New York Fashion Week, DJ-turned-designer Mandy Coon has perfected the after-midnight uniform. Though most admired for her sinuous body-conscious silhouettes and the sense of inky, severe geometry that permeates her collections, she also invites a little levity to punctuate the darkness. Tellingly, her best-selling item is the Ginny Bunny Bag, a sleek leather, rabbit-shaped pouchette that everyone from Suri Cruise to Zooey Deschanel has sported. A musical pulse has always underlined Coon's collections, befitting her fashion perspective as a former musician and kin of New York City's DFA dance family. As Rolling Stone learns in an exclusive preview, she's even brought MIDI files and Miike Snow into the sartorial mix for her Spring 2013 show, which presents tomorrow at Milk Studios.
What is the unifying theme of Spring 2013?
What new challenges did you set for yourself this season?
Every season I challenge myself to try something new. From new techniques and ways to manipulate fabrics to custom prints. We've become sort of experts in a wide variety of techniques in just a few seasons.
What new elements should we be looking for?
I always love to play with new techniques, and this season I incorporated the image of a MIDI file and sound waves from songs in various ways. Some were laser-cut and others were printed, and we used these on different kinds of materials.
You're known for spearheading sharp, black, modern aesthetics – is that a core quality you plan to nurture throughout your line or can you envision deviating drastically from it?
Although the base is always black and dark and modern, I like to maintain a sense of playfulness. I don't think I will ever stray too far away from that base, but this season there is a definite feeling of softness and femininity.
On a related note, in building your brand, do you find it wise to expand your vision vertically or laterally?
I plan to expand my brand laterally. I enjoy creating and designing quality things that can last, whether it be clothing, jewelry or shoes and handbags. I am also interested into expanding into home goods as well.
How has the infamous bunny bag evolved since it debuted – and what new incarnations will it take this season?
This season will have 2 new editions! A hint: I love to play with texture and scale.
I enjoy seeking out musical allusions in your work. Any musical factors in particular that influenced you this season?
This season's print was developed starting with a MIDI file. Pontus from Miike Snow wrote a song for me and the MIDI file is being incorporated into the print and laser cutting on our garments and accessories and will be played at the show. It feels very personal, and I love the idea of collaborating on such a grand scale.
Did any unexpected sources of inspiration hit while you designed this collection, and did they shift your focus for it?
I stared designing this season looking at only MIDI tracks from songs that inspire me. While doing so, I was surprised to find that the MIDI tracks possessed a very natural beauty. It didn't change my focus entirely but it did change the way I was thinking about the designs.
What are a few songs that encapsulate the spirit of Spring 2013 for you?
"10th Planet" by Solid Space – it's an old, incredible song that I have been listening to non-stop. It's a little melancholy but at the same time extremely optimistic. It sounds like someone's idea of the future from the past.
Have you considered ever recording more music yourself?
Never say never, I guess!