Deeply inspired by cultural influences from around the globe, Kobi Halperin’s line includes an amalgam of styles referencing everything from European to Asian motifs. This season he focused on African cues, as evidenced when Halperin visited Houston for a personal appearance at Neiman Marcus last week.
According to the designer, the concept started when Halperin was walking through the Paris airport and an African woman in traditional attire and holding a child caught his eye. He found this woman to be graceful and so elegant in her style, but within moments, he noticed that the police were escorting her out of the airport. Halperin found a visceral connection to the idea of immigrating to a different country for the sake of a brighter future, considering recent political happenings. At that moment he knew his next line was going to have African graphic elements to tell a larger story.
Born and raised in Israel, Halperin received his B.F.A from Shenkar College of Engineering and Design. Upon graduating, he took a leap of faith and moved to New York to break into the fashion world. After serving as executive creative director at Elie Tahari for 13 years and in the same role at Kenneth Cole for three years, he launched his ready-to-wear label in 2015. It has grown exponentially, selling at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom stores across the nation.
Halperin told me he isn’t too concerned with fashion trends on the runway— he values timeless pieces that tell an inspiring story and that represent a culture.
“I like going to the food market and just seeing how people dress, the way they create their individual look,” he says, “and the way they are proud of their history and where they come from.”
Halperin's spring collection features crochet and embroidered detailing and lace trim in off-the-shoulder blouses and dresses. Not only are these styles he loves, but Halperin incorporated them in part because they are pieces that look great on varied body shapes and sizes.
“I really like to be connected with my customers,” says Halperin. “I feel like I need to focus on making beautiful things that are going to sell and look good on a real woman, and not just the models who are six feet tall and a bit disproportioned.”