On my one and only visit to Moscow, Russia, I felt I had only scratched the surface of its fashion underbelly, discovering that the designers who were supposedly at the top of the designer hierachy there aren't necessarily the most interesting ones. I think I'm due another visit just to meet younger fledglings such as Lesia Paramonova, although she has charmed her way across continents, making impactful visuals that don't necessarily need to be seen in person. Her first few collections based around tulle and florals have been scattering their florid notes across Tumblr and since then she's picked up a little collaboration with Kiehls as well as more Russian stockists.
Paramonova has done it again with her latest collection inspired by her own surreal image of a Soviet teenage school girl with plays on uniform mixed with woodland mythology. As opposed to real life fauna though, Paramonova imagines plants merging with animals – a duck might sprout leaves as wings and a blackberry bushes might have little mice popping up instead of berries. The pencil-drawn prints reflect this charming bit of make-believe. The shapes are a throwback to Paramonova's own memories of traditional school uniform, heightened perhaps with more girly flourishes such as bows, stockings and pinafore detailing.
Dotted in amongst the lookbook images here are some fantastic stills from what promises to be a rich short film that accompanies the collection, which is in the process of being edited right now. Paramonova shot seven girls (Masha, Polina, Yliana, Alisa, Aliona and Nastya) and one boy Vova, who is the central character. He finds himself in a world of mythical plants, a warped biology lab in a girl's school. Boy falls in love with one of these fantastical femmes but it turns out they are in fact a flock of white geese and their transformation leaves behind a pile of evocative Lesia Paramonova clothes. It's a modern and surreal take on Swan Lake if you will and from the visuals alone should be a promising little short to get lost in. In any case, beyond the spritely film, Paramonova is proving that a strong visual language, imaginative personal stories in addition to atmosphere-imbued clothes can certainly find their niche even in this increasingly crowded space.