Elegance, great taste and creativity, which constitute the ground for the Kuklińska DK Fashion brand, mean not only extremely beautiful creations, but, above all, the person behind it: Ms Danuta Kuklińska, designer and charismatic founder of the „Dom Pod Aniołami” non-profit organization. She always feels emotionally connected with her clients and responsible for their appearance. This year, mrs. Danuta was awarded the title of the Charismatic Woman.
How long have you been in the fashion design?
I design for 30 years, always gawns and other garments for speacial events.
What has change since you have made your first design?
I have my favorite models and styles which show the essence of woman: straight lines, curve shaping fishtail dresses. Diner gown should be timeless. 1960’s is a period of fashion icons. Hourglass shape is ideal. The hourglass beauty standard is implemented in the process of designing and can be achieved with any figure. Every lady can look feminine. I work each client individually, in front of the mirror. I show her what would suit her in my opinion.
Which type of clients do you prefer: those who know what they want the ones who decide to trust your decisions?
Client who knows what she wants requires different approach. Her dream image not always suits her appearance. If I cannot convince her to my choice, I will not make anything else. I feel responsible for the final look of that woman. I can’t make something which would be against myself. If won’t make anything I wouldn’t sign something with my name. I don’t design on the basis of a photo brought by the client; it may be a suggestion, but nothing more. I have my vision which is a sum of the physical appearance, the way in which that person moves. We have to have some kind of emotional relation.
Is it necessary to be a psychologist in order to be a good designer?
Yes, because an individual can feel well in some outfit or not. People are often unaware of the fact that what they were can block them. I had my period of “black wardrobe” myself. I personally perceive color as an extremely important aspect.
You always wear colors.
If I put something on, I need to feel comfortable. If I make a mistake in matching clothes, I lose my spirit and all I want is to go home. I have to have everything well-organized. You can call it perfectionism, and that perfectionism started appearing at my work, too.
Your style bases on an individual approach instead of mass production.
It’s true. Although sewing for sales throughout the country, I had to decide for a kind of “mass production”. I had a team of 30 employees; it was never a flow production, though. Each piece was hand-made, therefore it was possible to buy e.g. three pieces from one model per store.
I started opening my boutiques in Kraków, the first one was at Gertrudy street. It is my pride and sentiment. I adapted high ground apartments in private town houses in order to make them visible from streetcar and bus windows. Next ones were located at Grodzka and Długa. Some circumstances, e.g. owner issues, changed and I had to close my spot at Gertrudy for this reason.
Some of my locations attracted amateurs of faking designs. It was a huge problem. My collections were small and expensive. A large producer used my designs to mass produce huge amounts of clothes sold for price incommensurate to my offer. Every designer wants to be identified with their own style, which makes that situation painful. Struggle for author’s rights is hard.
Three years ago came the day in which I decided to suspend business operations. I needed some rest. My daughter, who wanted to launch her own firm at that time, understood me and advised me to go for individual projects. I can give each client a hundred percent guarantee that her gown would be one of its own and sewn especially for her. Project design is not presented anywhere and thus safe. I have never prioritized financial aspects. Everything just had to be perfectly executed, not only sell it better. Owing a company requires organization and administrative work, too. I don’t have that problem now.
I love choosing materials. I can assure my clients that they always have the option of repairing or adjusting something. For this reason I keep materials used to make each gown. We also make fashion shows for partner companies producing exquisite textiles. I give them my designs, they give me fabrics.
You are very active in the social area and have your foundation.
This is partly due to my personal responsibilities and the fact that my husband and I care for my disabled son who suffers from West syndrome. He’s actually a grown man, 34 years old. The process of upbringing has always been related in some sense to a struggle: kindergarten, school, resources. We’ve always wondered what would happen if we had no more power some day. Therefore, together with my husband and daughter, we wanted to launch a home for disabled adults, which would be a family home, and where the caregivers could live together with the charges.
Caregivers often leave their jobs and live off only minimal government funding. Such a person cannot take up a job. There is really no livelihood. It is a very serious problem. When the caregivers are older and unable to take care of the disabled family member, they lose their own resources in order to put the person unable to function on their own in a care facility. Not everyone has as much luck in life as we do. Therefore, we would like to include the disabled and caregivers in the project. As for the location, we are considering the area of nearby Krzeszowice. Unfortunately, our current plans were thwarted by the pandemic.
We moved out of Krakow ourselves, because we were thinking about Anna Dymna’s center in Radwanice. This center primarily deals with children with Down’s syndrome, therefore full care is not available. That is why we thought about taking care of the foundation ourselves. We would like to implement there various forms of therapy, including contact with animals.
We are glad that our daughter helps us in this endeavor. It was her decision. We hope that one day she will manage the foundation further, become a legal guardian, and our house will become her dwelling. •