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Balancing between classism and modern age, Catherine Litke is set out to create innovative yet timeless silhouettes that bring together simplicity and an edgy, futuristic twist. Today Litke has quickly begun to gain critical acclaim from the press, and has drawn great admiration from celebrities and high-profile editors. This is only inevitable, since her designs are an interpretation of her personal style – which is just as original – that she describes as “a very specific combination of a girl from Picnic at Hanging Rock and a French New Wave heroine.”
Raised between New York and Poland, Litke received her degree on Studio Art from New York University in 2010. Before launching her namesake line in 2012, she worked alongside the fashion industry’s top editors and stylists. While still studying at NYU, she landed an internship at Vogue, where she soon discovered a connection between her artwork and the craft of styling. She went on to work as a stylist’s assistant under Tina Chai on Band of Outsiders shows, and Tina's collaboration with designer Scott Sternberg. Looking back to these days, Chai’s work, aesthetic, work ethic and vision are things that she still aspires to. After graduating, she worked as a freelance fashion assistant, for magazines such as Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and InStyle among others. Eventually, she realized she didn't necessarily want to be on the stylist side. However, working with editors provided her with invaluable knowledge and experience: it’s important to create things that are both beautiful and commercial, and to “keep the collection substantial, but not unmanageable to produce”– props to editing for the latter.
Litke is tremendously inspired by elaborated festival costumes that vividly contrast with the urban aesthetic of New York. However, the care-free attitude of the cute, summer dresses call upon the summers she spent in Poland. She prefers to keep her lines clean and functional, and rather adorn them with patchwork, handmade elements (quilting, crochet and embroidery) and carefully placed cutouts to provide all items of the collection with a sense of structure. The materials she uses are sustainably sourced from around the world – Swiss and Japanese cottons along and silks from India – however, the collection is entirely produced in New York. Supporting local garment production is challenging but highly important for the young designer, who has a deep appreciation for hand-crafting tradition that, sadly, is beginning to disappear; she is currently collaborating with some of the oldest knitting factories in the U.S. to create the sweaters for her line. For her second, S/S ’14 collection, she had also commissioned some crochet work in a little village near where her mother grew up – and, she even had her mom do some knitting.