Kithe Brewster doesn’t have to try. What he does is breathe, relate, reflect and look into your soul. It is this sensibility and awareness of high fashion that has brought you his fashion covers, the world’s most glamorous onto the red carpet (yes the Grammys) and how this upcoming week he’ll be tearing fashion week apart. An expose on brilliance.
I’ve been waiting for Kithe for just over an hour, watching the many phones go off one after another, a bounty of exquisite dresses swinging idly by a clothes rack, the most exquisite intern (a kid from the mid west who has taken to dressing like Robin Hood-literally, except in burgundy of course) running errand after errand and the girls who help pull it all together. To be honest, I’m mulling the idea to get up and leave except when I look around me I know I just have to wait and meet the man himself.
When Kithe finally dashes in it’s like coming to a production of Swan Lake, high drama and melodramatic lighting. He stands there greeting me, profusely apologizing in his very English accent (not bad for a boy from St.Louis) and extolling the virtues and necessities of having to contend with the beasts from reality tv land who want to make him a star (not that he isn’t one already).
Kithe: I just kept telling them I had you waiting, but they just pretended I didn’t even exist…You know I’ve got to be on a plane tomorrow morning, tend to Kate (Beckinsdale- The English Hollywood star that he was dressing for the Grammys) and I wanted so much to catch up with you, and I’m glad you waited. Oh my, could I possibly offer you some tea?
SCV: Yes, chamomile, with milk. Kate Beckinsdale you say?
Kithe: I just love her. We were working on a shoot together, and we got on so well together, next thing you know she’s seeking me out, to help style her, get her looking right.
SCV: How does anyone get anyone to look right?
Kithe: I think it comes from attending to the soul. That’s very important, the eyes have it all, the face, the mannerisms, the ticks, they’re just extensions.
SCV: But why do we place so much importance on the look of the soul?
Kithe: I think we always have. People appreciate grandeur, beauty, escapism, wildness, the lifestyle, the endorsement of as much.
I’m sipping my tea, nodding my head in unison, trying to keep up with Kithe, who with his quick wit and sharp mind represents a contradiction to his very calm and peaceful disposition.
KITHE: “Look, “he finally says, savoring his green tea, “I love what I do, it’s what I was meant to be doing, but at the end of the day it’s fashion. And fashion as important as it is, in what it suggests about our tastes, collective state of mind, isn’t about saving lives or things like that. So really there’s no need to ever get bend out of shape, it’s just there to enjoy, absorb and appreciate.”
SCV: What is our collective state of mind?
Kithe: Well I think we’ve come off a little on this fascination of glamour as a material anecdote and begun to appreciate to it in its barest forms. I mean take my intern, with 30 bucks, he can go out and go to a vintage store and find something and put something amazing together and you’d swear he just walked off the runway. I think it’s important to have people feel comfortable about who they are, and to make it a very personal special journey.
SCV: That may be so, but you’re still packing off to the Grammy’s.
Kithe: Well, yes, with the movie studios, it’s a lifestyle presentation, and the actors and actresses they all know that. It’s my job to present them in the most glamorous wonderful way, but still preserving their integrity, their soul. You know the studios are in it for the money, and for many years that was a real turn off, the hype, and I just stayed away, but now I’m finding I can increasingly lend my voice to the journey and give it a softness, a vision very much my own.”
SCV: What is your vision?
Kithe: Well to answer that you have to appreciate my background, my particular journey. Sometimes I am so awe struck, no make that deer in the headlights struck.
SCV: Please proceed.
Kithe: I came to Nyc when I was 16 on a dance scholarship, stayed with my uncle Dr.Robert Brewster ( a Phd in music and who at the time owned his own show room) and his boyfriend and it was from there I was introduced to this grandiose world of fashion. My uncle was and still is a huge influence, encouraging me to go abroad to explore European sensibilities, subtleties and sexuality…
SCV: Who were some of your most important influences?
Kithe: I have to say Karl Lagerfield was very supportive. He would just say Kithe, I like this, keep doing it…
SCV: That was then, amazing that a man today in his 60’s has a such a strong influence of what young people today wear.
Kithe: Yes, but you have to understand, he gets it, he’s a legend, an icon that people look up to, and he takes that very seriously.
SCV: As seriously as you take it?
Kithe: It’s a labor of love.
SCV: How does it feel like being one of the most celebrated and most desired fashion stylists in the business?
Kithe: It’s lovely, but once again, I can take it or leave it. The work is what counts for me, and I think this is why people keep asking me to come back. It’s my palette, I think it’s how I express myself…
SCV: If the reality show takes off , what would be your theme?
Kithe: That you can be who you need to be, that budget shouldn’t be a constraint, only your imagination and soul.
SCV: That word again.
Stirring his tea longingly,
Kithe: Yeah I guess so…
SCV: So I guess I’ll be seeing a lot of you during fashion week?
Kithe: I’m fully booked.
SCV: Maybe we’ll pop by for the behind the scenes.
Kithe: Sure, but just realize what’s behind the scenes for most people is in front of the scenes for me….
The tea now neatly finished and the teaspoon resting to one side…
SCV: We suspected as much.