Our atelier is like a nuclear reactor of clothing. It’s like a space where things can explode. You know when people put on the glasses to watch the bomb go off, that’s how I feel about it. It’s like, ‘OK Carmen, let’s put the glasses on, push the button. Ready? Whoosh!
– Milla Jovovich
Information on Milla Jovovich and Carmen Hawk’s critically acclaimed fashion label, Jovovich-Hawk. Launched in 2003, the designer duo received much praise for their whimisical, feminine and romantic design aesthetic, and were one of the 10 renowned designer finalists in contention of the prestigious CFDA Fashion Fund Award in 2006. The label was folded in 2008 by mutual decision, due to Milla’s other, full-time commitments.
In 2003, together with long-term friend, co-designer and model alike, Carmen Hawk, Milla Jovovich launched her own clothing label, the updated retro chic-style Jovovich-Hawk in Los Angeles, USA.
According to Milla Jovovich herself, the decision to launch her own label sprung partly from her modeling industry past. “Before, being a model, it was just a job, and I was making fun of it. But today, I take my career more seriously. The fact that a reader may buy an Armani item because she’d seen it on me in a magazine is very important to me. So much so that I intend to launch my own label,” she said prior to the label launch.
Carmen Hawk also has a long modeling career behind her – indeed, she became designer Alexander McQueen’s “muse” only shortly after entering the modeling industry at the age of 16. Hawk and Milla met for the first time in a mid-90′s Parisian cafeteria through a mutual friend and, being alike in so many ways, soon hit it off. In early 2000 or thereabouts, Hawk was in the progress of designing her own clothing line, when the two decided to team up – and voila! Jovovich-Hawk was launched.
The first Jovovich-Hawk collection was a huge triumph. Fred Segal, one of the many high-end boutiques in America, purchased the entire collection exclusively, which was quickly sold out at an average of $2,500 (!) a piece. Their second collection, being even more successful than the first, was also instantly sold out, and in 2006, Jovovich-Hawk was one of ten highly reckoned designer finalists at the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award dinner. (The winning prize, however, went to Doo-Ri Chung.)
Since the label launch, Jovovich-Hawk designs have been spotted on celebrities such as Kirsten Dunst, Rachel Bilson, Catalina Sandino Moreno and Heidi Klum, and following the success of their first seasons, Jovovich-Hawk teamed up with a number of labels and organizations for special collections and design pieces.
In 2007, street wear label Mango invited Jovovich-Hawk to design a Limited Edition collection for the label, which debuted that Spring in select Mango boutiques. The collection featured several flowing, floral maxi dresses and loose-fitting, feminine cocktail dresses, and was modeled by Milla’s longtime friend, French model-actress Lou Doillon.
Another special collection was the Jovovich-Hawk Target collection, launched in the United States on March 2 2008. The collection, designed in the Jovovich-Hawk trademark fun and feminine style, was aimed as a more affordable alternative for fashionable, young women, with pricing on some individual pieces being as low as $8. The collection has since been sold out.
Furthermore, in 2007, Jovovich-Hawk collaborated with the Clothes Off Our Back charity organization, one of Milla’s many supported causes. The duo designed several unique pieces to be exclusively sold at charity auctions benefiting COOB. Milla and Carmen also designed a Jovovich-Hawk tee for Glamour magazine’s 2007 charity initiative “Fashion Gives Back”, benefiting Malaria No More.
Jovovich-Hawk has also designed special design pieces as part of collaboration with the Diamond Information Center (2008) and Helio (2006) respectively. Milla furthermore designed her own outfit for the role of Alice in the 2007 movie Resident Evil: Extinction, and often contributes to the respective wardrobes of her onscreen characters.
The style of the Jovovich Hawk label represents comfort and effortlessness – Milla and Carmen “share the view that clothes have to be wearable, comfortable and need not make a spectacle of the wearer.” Many Jovovich-Hawk dresses reflect the elegance and romance of the 20′s and 30′s – “our clothes definitely have an old worldness, they have that charm from another time,” – and according to the duo, some of their designs have been inspired by cultural classics (e.g. a bluebird embroidered on a Jovovich-Hawk shirt draws reference from a Charles Bukowski poem).
However, although many of their outfits are inspired by cultural history, they reject the idea of their collections being “costume-esque” clothing. “It’s wearable and emotional. – Character-driven. – But not spectacle.”
While Jovovich-Hawk has folded as of mid-2008, the label official site remains online at www.jovovich-hawk.com, where contact information for inquiries as well as collection previews are still available.
In the September 2008 issue of Lucky magazine, Milla Jovovich announced the designer duo would be folding the line:
She also shared the news that her clothing line, Jovovich-hawk, has run its course. “It’s like, when one door closes…” she mused.
In February 2009, Milla discussed ending the line to New York Magazine’s Fashion Blog:
“It was actually really amazing when we were very private and doing everything in-house, sewing all the clothes in-house, but as soon as the orders got too big and we had to outsource, it was disaster with production companies and factories. I mean, we just couldn’t handle it,” she explained. “We were two artist girls who didn’t have our business together.” Their Target line, she says, was their big good-bye. “We were like, all right, let’s end on a high note.”
She plans to design again, but with a bigger house that can take care of production, and has been talking with companies in Europe, although nothing is signed yet. Jovovich has also been dreaming up a line of children’s clothing now that she’s a mom. “A huge part of my life is dressing my little girl, and I spend way too much money doing it, so I’d like to make an affordable line for other mothers with cute stuff,” she said. Her inspiration comes from clothes that her mother sewed for her when she was a child in Russia. “There are some really special pieces that I was photographed in with my mom, like back in the seventies, that are just amazing.” She says the kids’ clothes will be cool, modern, utilitarian, and definitely mass-market. “Unfortunately, I don’t think many moms have the option to buy many great designs unless they spend a lot of money, so I would love to give them that option.” Jovovich says she’s still trying to find the best deal, but expects to make an announcement next year.
The Spring 2008 collection paired with their Target collection remain the label’s last.
If you’re interested in reading more about Jovovich-Hawk and its span, please have a look at some of the below websites and links. These also constitute sources of information and quotations used in compiling our Jovovich-Hawk-page.
• Articles > New York Times Magazine Fashion Blog, February 16 2009