Creep inside the Halloween-inspired apartment of designer Katie Gallagher.
Interview by Ally Mullen
Photography by Bobby Whigham
Hi Katie! Can you give us the basics?
My name's Katie Gallagher. I'm from rural Pennsylvania. I went to school at RISD and three months after graduation I launched my own line called ‘Katie Gallagher' and I'm working my ninth season right now, Spring/Summer '14, called Bloom.
What is Bloom inspired by?
Bloom is inspired by mostly the Einstürzende Neubauten song called "Blume” and my interpretation of the song is about this German girl who is singing about wanting to be all these different flowers so that someone will love her, at least from the outside. Also another bid is from the carnation, which I call the funeral flower, so [the collection] is inspired by powder pink carnations too.
Who buys you flowers the most?
Actually all of the flowers that are here are from my assistant. He's really cute, he always brings me flowers because he knows, especially for this season, what the inspiration is. And also I kind of like them when they die; I keep them, especially roses. But carnations look pretty too. Some of them are from my birthday.
How come carnations are your favorite flower?
It's funny. They're the cheapest, grossest flower but I just like them. I would get pink ones from my mom when I would do ballet recitals.
Can you talk about your work on the UO x Katie Gallagher Collection?
I really liked doing this because for me, it's what I would prefer to do as a designer... design and not have to sew everything, and make all my patterns too. So I spent just like a week or so just being able to sit here and draw as my job, which was fun. I got really into it and did a lot of versions of the designs.
Which design is your favorite?
I like the hands. The hands with the candy corn are my favorite.
It's obvious from your apartment that you're super into Halloween decorations and other spooky knick-knacks. So where did your interest in the "dark side” come from?
I don't know if there's a way to trace it except I have three sisters and my parents were always really into holidays and making every holiday this huge event. My mom's birthday is on Halloween so it was a two-fold of things and a really fun time, even though when we were little we didn't really pay attention to her because it was Halloween. It might come from that but I think just holidays being a big event. Birthdays were huge; we would wake up with balloons everywhere. As you get older you realize some things aren't real but I still like them.
So I'm guessing Halloween is your favorite holiday?
To date, what has been your favorite costume?
For some reason, I love these all white but sort of creepy costumes. This one time, when I was about six, I was this weird bunny rabbit in a white sweat suit. And then I really like this one I did more recently, I think two years ago, where I was a dead version of myself. So I was again, in this full white outfit. I made this corset that had hole burns all through it, and a skirt with lots of layers. I burnt pantyhose to make gloves and sleeves and I wore a dead fox on my head. Big white hair extensions... I think that was my best one.
What do you usually do on Halloween?
I like to go out but I also like the idea of going back to Pennsylvania and giving candy out to trick or treaters. Nobody does that here. I would hate to be a kid in New York City.
What's your favorite candy?
My favorite has always been candy corn. Gummies, candy corn and dark chocolate. I have a candy corn tattoo; it was my first. All of my tattoos are Halloween themed.
I saw your Ouija board and have to ask...Have you ever made contact with any spirits?
I don't believe it really works! But I feel like there used to be bad energy in here. It's gone now but I still sage my apartment almost everyday—I'm really into sage.
What is sage used for?
It's to remove bad energy or spirits! You're supposed to light it and put it in ever nook and corner, then around your door, so they don't want to come in. People have crystals hanging by the door, my friends told me to do that but I don't know anything about witchcraft or anything, though some of my friends get into that kind of stuff.
You've had a playlist on today that's been pretty dark. Who are some of your favorite musicians?
I've really liked Strawberry Switchblade ever since I was young, and I like Coil a lot, Death In June, and Neubauten of course for this season's collection. Just a lot of death rock and metal—I like a lot of black metal.
Do you have any guilty pleasures in the pop world?
I really like Lana Del Rey. I think she's cool.
You mentioned that celebrities have pulled from your line before. Could you name a few?
Lady Gaga, Daphne Guinness who is a big style icon for some people, and then a lot of people like Nicky Minaj, and a lot of New York celebrities and DJs.
Who would be your dream person to dress?
I have a style icon: Rose McDowall from Strawberry Switchblade but more so when she was in the '80s.
What is your most prized possession in your apartment?
My cat Sveater, which means sweater in Russian but I made up the spelling. He was the best 50 dollars I've ever spent. I adopted him my Junior year of college. He's about seven. He's a Maine Coon. He weighs 24lbs and is 24 inches wide. He's actually bigger than me.