Caryn Wilensky, who built her brand from the ground up; is the talented designer and owner behind the brand Coast and Koi. She designs exquisitely eclectic yet classic footwear that transcends seasons and trends.
Founder of Coast and Koi and fashion styling by Caryn Wilensky
Words and fashion styling by Bianca van Rensburg
Photography by Matanna Katz from Ethereal Bound Journal
Models Julia Wilensky, Jemma Wilensky, Gabi Wilensky and Gaura Moodley.
Shoes by Coast and Koi
Denim jacket with embroidered detail by The Woods www.iafrikart.co.za and by Traveling Jackets of Africa
Caryn may have worked as a high-end fashion buyer in Vancouver for 10 years, but she does not follow a strict calibrated seasonal calendar when it comes to the evolution of her designs. She brings out ranges continuously, as frequently as the ideas come. Caryn is always downloading new ideas, inspired from her travels, local surroundings, and young vibrant people she surrounds herself with.
Representing the highest standards of beautifully sourced fabrics and handcrafted excellence, Coast and Koi strikes the perfect balance between sophisticated luxe and comfort. Blending African, Moroccan, European and Oriental influences. Caryn’s timeless creations are unique to anything seen in the market today.
So unique are Caryn’s creations that they caught the eye of Raquel Medina-Cleghorn, while sourcing for acclaimed New York stylist Bill Mullen. Caryn’s footwear graced the cover of Ideat magazines, a multi-page feature, shot in Paris by French international photographer Bettina Rheims and magnificently styled by Bill Mullen. Additionally, Coast and Koi help to stylize looks for well-renowned fashion magazines, like Glamour, Vogue UK, and Vogue Japan.
Caryn’s showroom is a hidden cove of treasures filled with exquisite fabrics, jewels, and carpets. You cannot help but slip on not one but many pairs of Caryn’s shoes. The experience you feel is as though you are putting on a pair of Cinderella's or Aladdin’s slipper.
You escape into a world of beautiful things and time just passes by. Her showroom invites many different customers in, from royalty to artists and philosophers. Caryn has broken the traditional codes, liberating women and men from the constraints imposed upon them.
While shooting at her showroom recently, some of her customers are testament to the fact that stepping into her space evokes so many different emotions.
Gaura Moodley says; “Cape Town's style represents an old glamour as a city with a rich history in design, Coast and Koi encapsulates the bright confident flare of the local style, the signature glamorously carefree IT factor that Capetonians possess. Coast and Koi is the manifestation of joy, ethics, and glamour, three fundamentals that I require in my personal style.
Caryn is one of the few designers who embraces the full spectrum of colour and embraces the beauty in every shade, there is no ‘I don't use yellows, I don't use greys.’ Caryn emphasizes that style presents itself in every colour, texture, and print, you just need to be bold enough to embrace it.
Furthermore, Coast and Koi is a brand that is thoroughly forward thinking, both in its unapologetic maximalism but also its gender-inclusive ethos. So often I have been limited in my extravagant shoe options as a man, Coast and Koi is able to create bespoke footwear for any size, regardless of gender and with vegan leather options too.
To me, Coast and Koi is an experience and a family. From the warm scents of cinnamon tea that greet you as you enter the store, to Caryn measuring around your foot to get your exact size, to the end product being a Cinderella moment where you feel as though not even the stroke of midnight could ruin your fierce confidence.”
Julia, Jemma and Gabi Wilensky had a similar experience saying; “The Coast and Koi showroom is like a playground of opulence and luxury. You are surrounded by endless pairs of shoes to choose from, all intricately detailed and carefully crafted to look like works of art.
The designs are unique and tasteful; finding your personal pair is an indulging experience. Coast and shoes are sophisticated but never boring, and that is exactly how wearing them makes you feel.”
Caryn will always remain a revolutionist and visionary, mentoring and influencing new generations.