KEVIN ARPINO is the creative force behind Rootstein mannequins.
The son of a Berwick Street Market fruit & vegetable vendor, London born Kevin Arpino could not have strayed further from his roots than when he started his professional life at Liberty’s department store in 1968. The Liberty store in Great Marlborough Street, Soho was world famous for its unusual eccentric charm, unique collection of rare and exotic fabrics, carpets and artefacts. Kevin’s natural creative flair was a perfect fit and he soon became a star of the Liberty team under the leadership of Roy Gentry, whose window designs were amongst the most acclaimed in the industry.
In 1972, after an inspired start at Liberty, Kevin went on to create windows for many of the London’s key fashion stores of the time, including Fiorucci, Snob & Elle and Wallis. As his reputation for creating dramatic, high style presentations became increasingly pronounced, Kevin found himself gravitating towards the heart of fashion, as the perfect platform for his creative dexterity.
Kevin was swiftly recognised by the design houses of Galliano, Gianfranco Ferre, Valentino, Jasper Conran, Rifat Ozbek, Balmain and Alistair Blair. He took to coordinating and styling fashion shows, integral to the identity of each design team and became the key man to look to for success each season. A natural result of such illustrious professional partnerships was the strong bonds that Kevin built with the top international models of the day, something which would be invaluable in his later move to Rootstein.
Kevin's personal connections with modelling icons such as Pat Cleveland, Bettie Largo, Billie Blair, Dalma Callado, Dianne de Witt, Violetta Sanchez, Alva Chinn and Tracy Leigh to name a few, meant an equally strong relationship with many of the most influential magazine editors of the era. It was a mutually beneficial exchange of connections and ideas which forced Kevin’s career trajectory ever more sharply into the ascendant.
After working at Ricci Burns in the multi-faceted role of fashion director, buying and styling, and a later return to Wallis' to create a Limited Edition Private Label Collection, Kevin was finally lured to Rootstein Mannequins by the founder and owner Adel Rootstein.
Adel Rootstein had been searching for a protégé for some time in order to maintain the cutting edge reputation which her company had enjoyed internationally and so Kevin’s rare understanding of the complex, mercurial nature of fashion combined with his ability to straddle both high fashion & display made him an ideal candidate.
Kevin joined forces with Adel in 1983 and thus formed one of the industry’s most enduring partnerships. Kevin Arpino remains one of London’s most important yet publicly anonymous fashion heroes.
Since Adel’s retirement and subsequent passing, he has taken the ROOTSTEIN legacy from strength to strength.