10 q's for Kai
Washingonton's own Kai Milla comes back home
At 16, Washington, D.C. native Kai Milla, wife of Stevie Wonder, was officially bitten by the fashion bug after designing her prom dress. However, it wasn't until years later--and a formal education in the arts— that Milla developed the confidence to start her own clothing line. Her timeless and elegant designs have since been swept up by celebrities such as Eva Mendes, Christina Aguilera, and Kelly Osbourne, to name a few. Locally, Saks Jandel showcased Milla's designs at their annual holiday brunch. I took the occasion to find out more about the always fashionable Kai Milla for Washington Life.
Debra Lee: Have you always loved fashion?
Kai Milla: Fashion is always with me. It was with me as I grew up with art. I've always had this talent for designing and drawing. I didn't know which direction I wanted to pursue at the time. I thought my calling was painting.
DL: You studied at the Corcoran College of Art
KM: Yes, I wanted to do fine arts, but I went back and forth between painting and design. I had to make a decision. I just stopped and said it's going to be design.
DL: What are your thoughts on style in D.C.?
KM: It's very stylish and still conservative and tailored. Trends come in, but we tend to stick with dark colors. We've always had that. For this particular collection we are doing a lot of dress and pant suits for day that by taking off the jacket you're set for the evening. It's hard to find time to go home and change.
DL: What kind of woman wears a Kai Milla design?
KM: I design for women who are ageless and at times elegant, but at the same time provocative. I design for everyone from Paris Hilton to Kelly Osbourne. When I think about design, if you're going to spend money on something, I don't want it to be in one season and out the next. I don't know how to do trendy.
DL: Tell me about the movement of your designs.
KM: I just love movement. When I am designing, I say ‘okay, how is that going to look on a young lady, how is it going to flow, and how is the air going to catch it.'
DL: What trends can we expect for Spring 2006?
KM: I think color is a big thing; I like color.
DL: Does music influence your work? And what
song best sums up your brand?
KM: Nina is the artist I used for this collection. Twenties hip-hop. I think about specific songs as I design and I use that music for the fashion shows.
DL: What do you admire most about Stevie?
KM: He is very spiritual. He's about people, he loves people.
DL: How did you meet your husband?
KM: We met at the end of the night at Nell's in New York and I told him that I had never seen him perform but I knew right away we would be together.
DL: Good luck with your line and your love.