Rising stars: the Russian fashion designers making a splash

Rising stars: the Russian fashion designers making a splash
Harness and leather bag from the Fleet Ilya spring/summer 2013 collection

A new generation of Russian fashion designers is showing that it's no longer about Paris or Milan

18 February 2013
Author Alex Aspden

With London Fashion Week in full swing, The Calvert Journal brings you profiles of some of Russia’s top talent. They may not yet be household names but David Koma, Fleet Ilya and Vilshenko have celebrities queuing up for their clothes and accessories.


Brand: David Koma
Designer: David Koma

Who?

Georgian-born David Koma, 25, grew up in St Petersburg before moving to London to study fashion design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. His talents were obvious from an early age: Koma completed his first collection at just 15 years old. In 2009, he won the Harrods Design Award for his graduate catwalk show and picked up the Vauxhall Fashion Scout Merit award for spring/summer the following year.

What?

Heavily embellished statement dresses inspired by the feminine form. Koma’s strong, architectural shapes are intended to empower the wearer. For his latest collection, Koma says he took inspiration from “sound, rhythm and movement”. Critics have described the new collection as futuristic with accents of metallic leather completing the space age look.

Clients?

Koma describes his ideal client as “powerful and confident”. His list of fans is long and illustrious, and includes Cheryl Cole, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Megan Fox and Kylie. Pop princesses Molly King and Pixie Lott were spotted in the front row at his London Fashion Week catwalk show on Saturday.


Brand: Fleet Ilya
Designers: Ilya Fleet and Resha Sharma

Who?

The husband and wife team behind Fleet Ilya bring together their different skillsets for a unique fusion of fashion and fetish: while Ilya Fleet trained as a saddle-maker in Russia, Resha Sharma studied fashion design at London’s Central St Martins.

What?

Bondage-inspired, hand-crafted leather accessories. Think harnesses, cinch belts and leather visors. In 2010, the design duo created a two-metre tall horse entirely from armoured leather for their pop-up boutique in east London.

Clients?

Their biggest fan is pop singer Rihanna who has been snapped wearing their accessories on more than one occasion.


Brand: Vilshenko
Designer: Olga Vilshenko

Who?

Born in the city of Zlatoust in Russia’s Chelyabinsk region, Olga Vilshenko credits her mother — who made clothes for her family as a way of avoiding drab Communist-era fashions — for her interest in design. She studied at the Institute of Fashion and Art in Russia before spending a summer at London’s Istituto Marangoni.

What?

Vilshenko's latest collection is a nod to seventies fashion with full-length dresses and silk blouses made from floral and paisley prints. In contrast to their feminine silhouettes are more masculine suits and coats. In the past, Vilshenko has said she takes inspiration from all things Russian: books, museums, folk dresses and architecture.

Clients?

Vilshenko can count singer Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine fame among her most ardent fans.

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