“When I was younger I was a really weird kid and I liked to dress up a lot,” Paolina Russo smiles, recalling her early obsession with clothes. “I like fashion in the way of just dressing up and looking really different. Then when I was in high school I found out you could actually go to uni to study fashion design! So I came to London and I really learnt a lot about the fashion industry and I really fell in love with it.”
Born in Canada, Russo is now moving into her final year of studying Fashion Design Knitwear at Central Saint Martins and her eye-catching use of texture and colour has already seen her being hailed as one of the capital’s creatives to keep tabs on, even grabbing the attention of John Galliano. “It was really random!” Russo laugh, “I was going into my placement year and looking for a job and was lucky enough to get an interview at Maison Margiela. When I worked there, they just really liked me and he really took to me! He loved that I could draw and the drawings and colours that I was using, so I got to work with him and work with the team and my drawings were used in the collections.”
Taking inspiration from her upbringing, Russo describes how her pieces remind her of the town she grew up in. “It’s this suburban lifestyle,” she explains, “I grew up doing arts and crafts and working with paper and paint and colourful playgrounds. It’s just really different. Moving to the city, it’s a lot darker and more gritty, but in the suburbs everything’s clean and pretty and bright. It’s really plastic-y and I like those textures and colours.”
Reusing found materials — from cassette tapes to car seats — to make her fantastical creations, her favourite piece she’s made so far has been a deconstructed shoe bodice from her pre-collection. “They’re kind of cut apart and then draped onto a stand and crocheted back together to make a new garment out of it,” she laughs, lost for words on her own designs.
Currently working on her final collection which is due to be revealed in May, Russo is set to further establish herself as one of the most promising burgeoning designers at London’s fashion school. “It’s basically just everything I ever wanted to do in one collection,” she grins. “When you’re in uni, you have all these one-off projects, but this is an entire world that I get to create!” We can’t wait to live it, breathe it and wear it.
Photography - Giovanni Corabi
Fashion - Jessica Gardener
Hair - Chris Long
Makeup - Manino Asahi
Creative Direction - Aidan Zamiri
Fashion Assistants - Hidhir Badaruddin and Bruno Dinora
Makeup Assistant - Taikan Koide
Wonderland Magazine Spring 2018 Issue