Kim Hersov is co-founder of the Talitha Collection and a global traveller. Her Talitha lifestyle showroom space on Powis Terrace in Notting Hill, London – produced in collaboration with Hubert Zandberg – is an eclectic platform through which they display their Talitha’s luxury travel wear collections.
Our Creative Director Mike Hinchcliffe spoke with Kim in our London office to run through her inspirations and background.
Mike Hinchcliffe: How did you first get into fashion?
Kim Hersov: My first interest in fashion stemmed from my grandmother. I wouldn’t say that I wasn’t interested in fashion at all when I was growing up – it just wasn’t on my radar. I was more into sportswear and jeans at the time, but my grandmother was a great inspiration to me stylistically and that was something that gradually grew. In professional terms, after attending Georgetown University in Washington DC, I moved to New York City. I arrived jobless, but managed to get a job at American Vogue through a friend. It was very much by chance. Afterwards I moved to London and worked at Harper’s Bazaar and Porter in editorial roles.
MH: How did your collaboration with Shon Randhawa come to fruition?
KH: Talitha started somewhat by accident; I know Shon through my ex-husband and she asked me to operate as a consulting business partner, in order to tailor the Indian fashion line she owned to a western audience. It started out as a summer consultancy, but the wardrobe garnered a fair amount of interest and off the back of that, Talitha was born.
MH: Where did the name Talitha come from?
KH: Talitha is a biblical name, which means “little girl/daughter” in Aramaic. The idea was born from trying to capture the ‘East meets West’ ethos of our fashion line whilst distancing Shon and I from the brand itself. We didn’t want the brand to be defined by us, nor named after us, and giving it its own title produces its own spirit. It invokes a mythical creature or an exotic character which reflects what we feel the brand is.
MH: Tell me about your work with the British Council Fashion Trust.
KH: I helped set up the Trust about 5 years ago, as an initiative to provide financial support for British designers. I’m too busy now to have as much of an active role, but am still involved as a member of the executive committee. We award grants on a monthly basis to promising fashion designers who need extra funding.
MH: Do you keep up to date with any of the designers the BFC has given financial backing to?
KH: As much as possible. It was great to see palmer//harding win the Vogue Fashion Fund after we’d helped them out. Christopher Kane and Johnathan Saunders are great friends too.
MH: Which designers are your main stylistic influences?
KH: I’ve personally always drawn influence from contemporary western designers such as Marissa Berenson and Kate Moss, but I don’t know if I’d categorise Talitha as having been exclusively inspired by their ethos. The iconic bohemian traveller style of Berenson and Moss is inspirational to me and takes me back to my Californian upbringing, but the sensibility of Talitha goes beyond that. We implement local Indian craft traditions in our production process and that’s something that shines through the designs. I also use my own travelling experiences to add flourishes to what we produce.
MH: Can you go into this in more detail?
KH: Our designs are produced in India, with weaving, printing and stitching techniques carried out by locals. Some of the techniques they use like the Kantha stitching practice are traditional methods that are hundreds of years old. Hand finishing our pieces – producing tassels by hand, for instance – gives Talitha a level of humanity which is lacking in a lot of fashion nowadays. I’ve always been curious about different parts of the world though, and try to go to countries I haven’t been to before every year. Wherever I am, I always look at local flea markets, whether it’s in South Africa, the south of France, or here in London. Pieces I stumble across there inevitably work their way into our designs, though not altogether deliberately. I love to collect things generally for decorative uses at home and there is a stylistic influence on Talitha based on travel, but that’s more to do with my personal experiences.
MH: Finally, what are your must-have holiday/travelling items?
KH: I always take a camera, a panama hat, a pair of sunglasses and a diary.