When the unveiling of his fall 1983 Collection, KOKIN emerged as one of the newest forces in international fashion. His millinery mastery was instantly recognized and in subsequent years has been sought after by such industry giants as Oscar De La Renta, Bill Blass, Pauline Trigere, Giorgio Sant Angelo, , Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Zac Posen , Catherine Malandrino, newcomer Jade Lai from Creatures Of Comfort, Malia Mills and other 7th Avenue luminaries.Born and educated in Buffalo, New York, the designer had cultivated a passion for the performing arts and longed for a career in the entertainment field in New York City. Even as a child, KOKIN needed no encouragement to get up and sing for any visiting family, friends, or even the milkman! His interest in the visual arts and fashion also blossomed at a young age, but he was not to realize his future career path until his arrival in New York. KOKIN has said "Even as a child, I never made my bed....I draped it ".
A night course at The Fashion Institute of Technology brought his new creative direction into focus. After a brief stint in off-‐Broadway theater, KOKIN was looking for a new direction. Show Biz would have to wait !
A single semester in Millinery convinced him he had other undiscovered
talents. The swift recognition of his new enterprise led him from making hats in his kitchen to a loft showroom 6 months later. His first accounts in a year were Bergdorf Goodman , Barneys and Saks Fifth Avenue , only the beginning . International acclaim has made his collections a must buy for fashion conscious retailers from Paris to London, Milan to Helsinki and Toronto to Tokyo. If there is a place in the cosmopolitan world where KOKIN is not sold, his fans can follow his craft in the pages of Vogue, Elle, Bazaar, Mademoiselle, Italian Vogue, Allure, Essence, Vanity Fair, Lucky,New York Times and other international
publications. The hats of KOKIN are often seen crowning the talents of such celebrated women as Julia Roberts, Hillary Duff , Raquel Welch, Michelle Pfeiffer, Cindy Lauper, Alicia Keys, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Tara Reid, Christie Brinkley, Sophia Loren, Ivana Trump, Joan Collins ,Mischa Barton , Sarah Jessica Parker ,Cher , Queen Latifah , Naomi Campbell ,Beyonce , the ever chic Bianca Jagger, and always provocative client Sharon Stone. Barbra Streisand wears his creations in her garden, and Bette Midler wears them for bad hair days. Daphne Guiness the fashion darling loves his hats and declares his boutique in New York one of her favorite shops !
The recognition for the talent of KOKIN does not end with his loyal retail and private following. In 1991 and 1992, KOKINS design talents were officially acclaimed, and he was voted Millinery Designer of the Year by members of the fashion press, the only hat designer ever to have been so honored in two consecutive years. In September 1992, he was bestowed with the Gift of Style award given by the National Kidney Foundation at their annual benefit in Chicago. The trophies of his labors again multiplied when the prolific designer once again won the 1994 Millinery Designer of the Year award and was named Rising Young Talent by the esteemed Fashion Group of New York.In 2002 KOKIN was named the official milliner of the Kentucky Derby. ,for the last 3 years KOKIN does a pop-‐up shop at the famed Seelbach Hotel in downtown Louisville before the races to meet clients old and new and personally fit them for the great races!
KOKIN has often been called a natural in front of the camera, and has been spotlighted on television in such renowned formats as Elsa Klensch and her style shows for CNN, Jeannie Moos for CNN, Good Morning America, VH1 Fashion Television, and Real Life on the NBC network and other numerous regional television shows. He has also been afeatured designer on HSN .
One of KOKIN'S favorite work credits was the style-‐setting movie Clueless. When KOKIN created the memorable hats for the film, young girls everywhere clamored
for the Clueless look. KOKIN eventually duplicated his success for the Clueless Television Series. Of course seeing his hats on the "Sex And The City " hit
television series didn't hurt the demand for cool hats either ! Eventually his hats appeared in the movie of the same name as well. His hats also made appearances in the “Sex and the city” movie sequels as well as TV shows, “Ugly Betty’” and Gossip Girl .
KOKIN, renowned for his versatility, loves a good project. He wants his work to not only be appreciated for all the special details that set them apart from other collections, but also to be worn and enjoyed for years. I wish to respect the rules and at the same time break them, KOKIN admonishes.
Working very closely with renowned photographers KOKIN has done numerous projects with the master behind the lens , Howard Schatz -‐ believe it or not KOKIN's creations have been photographed under water by the award winning genius .
I have always believed that a woman's taste may change, but her style should remain eternal. A philosophy to live by as we move forward in the new century is how KOKIN defines his last quote. “After all is said and done, a thing of beauty is timeless , a woman with style always has it “.
Back in the fall of 1996 KOKIN debuted his first Ready To Wear collection. On the heels of Grunge, KOKINS use of cashmere jersey, duchess satin, and crocodile embossed cire and wool ottoman was ahead of its time. The collection, all in black, brought about a division in the press. Even the jewelry, also KOKIN designed, was in gunmetal and black jet and spectacularly executed . For the show he created hats that looked like Hairdos. They were comprised of velvet and jet woven Hair Braids, a sort of melding of the late Grace Kelly chic, and the very much alive Queen Latifah. The entire collection so ahead of its time, so exquisitely made, that women are still wearing the pieces and some have shown up on Vintage Couture web sites.
While the American press did not receive all the ideas with open arms, the collection garnered enough attention in Europe to have KOKIN awarded with the coveted Venus De La Mode Award for International rising fashion stars.
The year 2000 brought an unprecedented lucky streak to KOKIN. Yet again his creativity was thrown into the spotlight! In collaboration with award winning costume designer Dona Granata, KOKIN has outfitted the leading ladies and extras in the newest Robert Altman film' Dr. T & The Women'. From beginning to end the film is a fashion show not soon to be forgotten. All the women from Farrah Fawcett to Liv Tyler, Laura Dern, Janine Turner, Shelley Long and even Kate Hudson got to wear KOKIN creations. Not to mention the 500 extras in the film during the pivotal wedding scene. KOKIN joined the roster of Designers Chanel, Escada, Armani and Brioni in making this one of the biggest contemporary fashion movies of the new century fans. Yet again, as KOKIN continues to reinvent his formula of Hollywood glamour, we see the recognition of his style and creativity transcend into the new millennium.
Of late KOKIN has a headpiece on the television personality and model Alexa Chung in the new Chanel book by Karl Lagerfeld ‘The Little Black Jacket’ , what an honor for me say’s KOKIN !
KOKIN has a fabulous boutique on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, a love letter to all of his customers who wanted more -‐There he has a laboratory of ideas that he can proffer to all the cool, discerning, sophisticated New York Chic girls, Ladies of style ,hip tourists and the newly indoctrinated hat customer . Every year the girls line up to have very special couture pieces made to wear to the infamous Central Park Conservancy also known as ‘The hat luncheon’ . Invariably most of the ladies who get their picture taken at the event get in the New York Times because of the hat on their head , guess who they are wearing ??
KOKIN has parlayed his talents beyond his Chapeaux at the boutique as well and does one of a kind Couture headpieces , evening wraps , hair accessories, extraordinary belts and bags . Consider yourself lucky if he is there and personally fits you , you will never be the same .
He has even started to make extraordinary fine jewelry just for those in on the secret -‐KOKIN is on the loose and doing what he should have done long ago.........flying without a net in his prolific and always inspirational design heaven , New York City !!