KidSuper’s Colm Dillane Is Making Fashion Fun Again

The New York City-born fashion kid talks collaborating with Louis Vuitton, liking his steaks well-done, why he’d be best friends with Salvador Dali, and more.

Photography by James Frost

Although he’s already reached the heady heights of fashion—not only with his own KidSuper brand, but also briefly leading Louis Vuitton: Men’s for their Autumn/Winter 2023 collection—Colm Dillane strolled around his intimate, temporary exhibition with Frieze in London’s Regents Park like any other lover of art would. Previously, his long, blonde curly hair gave him the look of a crazy, trendsetting scientist; today, however, he sports a shorter, tidier cut, giving a touch more sophistication to his fun and energetic presence.  

Dillane’s work first came to my attention in 2022, when his avant-garde fusion of fine art and fabrics shattered conventional notions of how a fashion show should be executed. Imitating the format of an auction house, KidSuper’s breakout moment arrived when a model appeared from behind a huge painting, poking her head through the canvas and wearing the piece as a dress whilst elegantly strutting down the catwalk. Since that moment, I made it my mission to see his work in person, and attended his two most recent Paris Fashion Week shows—both with concepts equally as crazy as each other. January’s show saw Dillane put on the KidSuper Comedy Show with a stellar line-up of names, including Theo Von, Andrew Schulz and J-Balvin. The other, in June? A full-blown theatre production written and directed by the man himself, starring professional actors donning KidSuper pieces from head to toe.

We recently caught Colm Dillane down at his exhibition spot in London (I also gave him some coloured chalk and a paper pad so he could sketch during our talk, of which he chose to sketch me), to discuss everything from backstage antics at his fashion shows to working with Louis Vuitton, to why he likes his steaks well-done and the bright future of KidSuper.

“Working with a huge organisation like Louis Vuitton makes the creative process so much easier… The in-house designers were all so excited to help me fulfil my vision, which was awesome.”

COMPLEX: Hey, Colm! It’s good to see you again. I was at the KidSuper show in June, the theatre production. Did anything go wrong that the audience didn’t see?Colm Dillane: Oh my god, yes! So many things backstage. I had to keep stalling and improvising during the performance, because I could hear so much chaos through my earpiece. The stress was all worth it in the end, though. 

Can you share any insight into what the next KidSuper show will be like?
In the past, I’ve spent a lot of money on shows, so I thought it would be cool to do something where the budget actually lasted a while. I’ve had a few crazy ideas recently; I was thinking of opening a traditional French café, with all the staff wearing KidSuper looks, and the plates, cups and chairs all designed by KidSuper, too. If it fails, I call it a fashion show. If it succeeds, I have a café in Paris!

Incredible! I love that idea. What’s stopping you from doing that?
The logistics of finding a space, getting it fully staffed, and suddenly being the owner of a Parisian café would be a bit too much to handle, I think.

Tell me a bit more about your experience at Louis Vuitton earlier this year. You created a whole new world with your designs over there.
It was amazing. Working at a huge organisation like that makes the creative process so much easier. They have people to help you along every step of the way, so many resources, and the budget is unrivalled. Not only that, but the in-house designers were all so excited to help me fulfil my vision, which was awesome.

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If asked, would you go back and take a full-time position with them?
Definitely! It would be too big of an opportunity to turn down. Pharrell is doing his thing for now, though.

You spend a lot of time with your family and often get them involved in your shows. Are they the sort of parents that shower you in praise, or do they keep you more grounded?
After the most recent show, my mom told me that I should have hired someone else to write the play, instead of doing it myself! So no: they don’t often validate me, but I feel their love in different ways, for sure. I know they’re always on my side, and I’ll always send new ideas over to them and be like, “What do you think of this?”

One of the funniest things I’ve ever seen was during your show afterparty in January this year, where Kodak Black—smoking a huge joint—was performing and dancing with his arm around your mum. How crazy was that moment for you?
In a non sexual way, right? [Laughs] I always think, “Is there anyone else who would do things like that?” It felt like a very specific ‘Colm Dillane’ experience, honestly.

You were with Ronaldinho recently—how was that?
My boyfriend, you mean? [Laughs] It was amazing to hang out with him; he’s one of my biggest inspirations. 

Who’s your favourite painter of all time?
Salvador Dali. I feel like he was the kind of dude I’d love to have as a best friend. Henri Matisse, too; I heard that a hotel somewhere in France used to accept his artworks as payment, so now they own a tonne of super-expensive pieces. I’d love to do that myself, but right now I’m paying for my own hotel, unfortunately. 

What’s your favourite meal?
I hate to say it, but pasta. Doesn’t matter what sauce. I love steak too, but extremely well cooked. 

That must be an issue when you’re in Paris, no? They hate nothing more than a stereotypical American who orders their steak burnt to a crisp. 
Oh yeah! I get some crazy looks, but rare meat makes me feel sick. Someone actually asked me a question recently: if you could either survive without ever eating again, or continue as you are today, what would you choose?

I feel like meals are so much more important than just the food. The people, the location, the whole experience. I would definitely still eat.
I would never eat again! I would never have to think about anything. Also, I would save a load of time and money. I keep trying to figure out how I can inject meals into me. 

Colm, it’s always a pleasure. See you again in January. 
Thanks for coming by!

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