A Night at the Circus with KidSuper

Interviews, Inspirations, Focus

By Paul McLauchlan

There is nothing Colm Dillane can’t pull off. A stop-motion puppet show. An auction. A stand-up comedy show. A play. You name it and the American designer has experimented with it as a format for his KidSuper fashion shows. For Spring-Summer 2025, his label imagined its rendition of a circus. In collaboration with Cirque du Soleil, the world’s foremost circus producer, he once again pushed the boundaries of fashion as entertainment and how one can stage a fashion show. Suspended by strings, the show began with professional acrobats before models moved along the catwalk like puppets belonging to his madcap world. 


Drawing inspiration from the costumes of Cirque du Soleil and Alexander Calder’s ‘Cirque Calder’ sculpture, an artistic rendering of a circus performance, Dillane’s cast of contortionists, lion tamers, sword eaters, and more, are symbolic of the KidSuper world: an eclectic mix bursting at the seams with a sense of unique personality. Denouncing the sedate ways of an industry awash with quiet luxury, he embraces maximalism with gumption. Leather jackets are hand-painted; fabrics are patchworked together haphazardly; acrobat bodysuits, riffing on Jean Paul Gaultier’s iconic iterations, err on the side of the deliberate while staying true to the brand’s rambunctious spirit. Across the collection, Dillane introduces 14 new footwear styles, including some in collaboration with Puma, furthering his commitment to individuality. 


“I find that the KidSuper world is somewhat of a circus and I feel like a circus master”, said Dillane, from a studio in Paris. 



What would you like us to know about the collection?

I use fashion week as a Trojan horse of bigger ideas. I hope that the projects that I do at fashion week grow into other things or act as seeds for more ideas. This season, it’s a collaboration with Cirque du Soleil. I always thought it would be interesting to bring the two worlds together. For this one, we have the Cirque du Soleil team opening the show as puppets and closing the show as puppets. While I was there at Cirque du Soleil’s headquarters in Montréal, Canada, I was thinking that maybe this could grow into something bigger and I could be the creative director for a circus show.


When you have a big idea like this, it always gives you a lot of inspiration. The collections themselves can be quite straightforward depending on the season or what’s culturally relevant right now. With specific concepts, I’m always inspired by certain colours, cuts, artwork, and styling. It’s important to have big ideas and try to fit them into the clothing as much as possible. I was inspired by the circus, Cirque du Soleil, and artists like Calder, and others, who have made series around the circus with themed sculptures and drawings. 


Do you think the theme reflects the world we live in in any way?

I don’t know if I’m trying to be on the nose about the world we’re living in being like a circus. I find that the KidSuper world is somewhat of a circus and I feel like a circus master. I try to make things happen and show that things that mightn’t seem possible are possible. Even the first show that I did in Paris, before I was on the official schedule, was at the Cirque d’Hiver, so the circus has been part of the KidSuper story for a while. We’ll see how it continues.


How would you characterise your growth as a designer?

When you start your brand, there are limitations to what you can make because of what you know and what you have access to. Now, we’re growing to a place where there’s not much I can’t make – it’s more about what I want to make and it’s pretty fun. A lot of my earlier stuff was dictated by what I had access to and people didn’t understand it. They thought that I wasn’t making something high quality because I didn’t want to. But it’s not that easy to have an atelier in Italy.  We’re working with cool factories to make our clothes; we have 15 original shoes which is crazy for a runway.


Do you feel any pressure as your brand attracts more attention with its viral runway shows?

There’s pressure to keep outdoing myself with my ideas. Clothing for me isn’t the most difficult aspect of a fashion show because I always have these crazy ideas that I want to try out. If it was just clothing, I think it would be easier. I design the clothes; I do the music;  I cast the models; and I choreograph the show. Everyone’s expecting me to have these big moments. However, I think it leans into what I’m best at: these moments. They fail sometimes, but the risk is part of what I enjoy.


This interview has been lightly edited.