Favorite Designers

A Darker Shade of Pale

© Kill Darling

What do you get when you combine Miami audacity, North Eastern austerity and LA street smarts? Kill Darling, the new LA-based line by Miami-native Sam Klemick.   

The line, which combines Klemick's "blunt, outspoken" personality with the fairy tale aesthetic she loves, launched last week to all kinds of enviable exposure. Her "Petula" dress was used in a photo shoot for Spin Magazine; breakout pop star Christina Perri (of "Jar of Hearts" fame) wore the Petula on the Today Show last week; and makeup-artist-to-the-stars Romi Klinger wore the "Shimmy Shank" dress at Showtime's The Real L Word premiere party. 

So, yeah, you could say that it pays to be in LA, rather than sleepy 'ol Miami. But it also pays to be different – to make clothes that stand out and get noticed. 

Sam Klemick, Designer. / Kill Darling© Kill DarlingSam Klemick, Designer."My personal style is a lot more undone," Klemick says, comparing her own look to that of her line. "I have messy blonde hair that's always in knots. I wear vintage dresses with converse and jeans underneath." So, think of Kill Darling as a dressed-up version of the undone. 

"When I design, it's my opportunity to escape reality," she says. "It's my fantasy land."

This fantasy land includes lots of candy-colored sheers with hard-edge metallic details and raw lines. Kill Darling dresses and tunics feature ruffles and bows alongside unhemmed cuts and steel spikes, giving the dresses a decidedly punk, and slightly ironic, look.

The idea behind the looks comes from the competing ideals from the places she's lived – Miami, until she was 16 – where she "got used to wearing next to nothing;" a boarding school in Maine, where she was introduced to a more austere, ahem, covered, aesthetic; and LA, where anything goes. Combine this with her love of the old, original fairytales (which have a very dark side to them), and suddenly Kill Darling makes sense.

Kill Darling© Kill DarlingWith an aesthetic like this, you just know that Klemick was destined to make some kind of art, but she didn't know that she wanted to be a designer until she was living in St. Louis. There, while working in a boutique, she realized: "I want to be making the clothes that these people are wearing, not helping put them put them on."

So she moved to LA, attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, and got a job at Guess as an assistant designer. "I was there for a year, sitting at a desk all day, every day, and was pretty unhappy, so I left Guess and started freelancing," she says.

Klemick still freelances, even as she strikes out on her own. Because she has to pay the bills. Until, at least, more pop stars find their way into the "Gatling" the "Kaboom" and the "Battalion." As they surely will.

Check out the entire line at KillDarlingSam.com.

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