Lotta Volkova: "Vetements is a desirable and well made product"
The hand of Lotte Volkova is behind some of the coolest brands right now, from Vetements to Balenciaga, where she works as a fashion stylist and consultant and in direct collaboration with artistic director, Demna Gvasalia. Not forgetting the Russian label by Gosha Rubchinskiy or the recently dropped New York brand, Sies Marjan, launched by Sander Lak last winter.
Backstage at all the 'it' runway shows, (and sometimes even on the podiums themselves), the thirtysomething all-rounder, Volkova -- originally from Vladivostok and raised in post-Soviet Russia -- has become a true icon in the fashion world. More recently, she featured as one of the jury members on the panel of emerging designer competition, ITS in Trieste, Italy, alongside Demna Gvasalia. It's here, Lotta Volkova spoke to FashionMag.
FashionMag: How did you end up in the world of fashion?
Lotta Volkova: I've always liked clothes. At 17, I left Russia to study art, photography and fashion in London at Central Saint Martins school. At 19, I started a clothing and accessories brand for men, Lotta Skeletrix, which had a certain success. I was working from my kitchen with friends. It was fun and easy. Then, I decided to move myself to Paris in 2007, and here, it became more complicated. So, I stopped and I began to focus on styling.
FM: Where are you now in your career?
LV: I've been a fashion stylist for eight years and a consultant for different brands. I cast for runway shows, and collections. I also work as a fashion editor for several magazines.
FM: Most notable is your work with Vetements. How did you meet Demna Gvasalia, the founder and designer of the brand?
LV: We were introduced by friends. One day, he showed me photos of his collection. I found the clothing to be great, but not the styling. So, he asked me to do it. We've worked together since 2015. Now, I am a consultant for the brand, and take care of collections and runway shows, from the casting to the styling.
FM : How would you explain the success of Vetements?
LV: We truly love what we do! We were frustrated working to and following the codes imposed by the fashion system. We decided to primarily make clothes for ourselves and our friends, simply enjoying ourselves. Vetements, from the beginning, is a point of view, an attitude, and also more importantly, a well made and desirable product. It speaks of the different musical subcultures, which we reinterpret in our own way.
FM: You also work on Balenciaga with Demna Gvasalia, for which he is the new artistic director. How is that?
LV: For me, it's the coolest cause we have access resources and a budget that we've never had before! We also have the chance to work with people who knew Cristobal Balenciaga. It's very interesting.
FM: The new Balenciaga seems a lot like Vetements...
LV: That's normal, considering it's the same people who designing the two collections! But, looking at it more closely, it's very different. Vetements is more streetwear, while Balenciaga is a couture house. It's more chic and sophisticated. There's a more elegant side to it. The two labels speak to different worlds, different types of women, but the approach is the same in the technique and manner of working. The values are the same.
FM: How has the first Balenciaga collection been received?
LV: The first collection has had great success with an increase in sales of 25% compared to the preceding season. The reaction has also been good for the cruise collection. These are clothes that are easy to wear. They are cool and different, and at the same time, practical. They are real clothes for the everyday, which are reworked and reinterpreted.
The first look from the menswear show, for example, was a jacket that Cristobal Balenciaga had designed for himself, but hadn't finished. Demna proposed a contemporary reinterpretation of it. The idea is to reinterpret to the spirit of Cristobel rather than copy what's in the archives.
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