Over the last few days of the Central Saint Martin's graduate shows, I have been profiling the students selected for their innovation as part of the MullenLowe Group NOVA awards. The initiative is now in its eighth year having been set up to credit these exceptional students for their ingenuity. The title "NOVA" denoting INNOVATION. Here is Paolina Russo from BA Fashion Knitwear who is one of the final shortlist of 14 designers from the 1,300 graduating students! It's clear to see why she has made it into this prestigious scheme for recognition to exceptional quality of work and vision.
I have been talking to one of the judges who described Paolina's work as "Alaïa on Acid" for her trippy lenticular knits. You can see in the sample she is holding (above) how she has created an optical illusion within the channels of her textile design. In addition to these precision techniques from her knitwear specialism she also used crochet to meticulously piece together sneakers to construct patchwork garments. Look at the detail of this bodice where she has tessellated the leather uppers and hand-sewn them in place before then fusing them with her multicolour crochet stitch-work. The exhibition gave me the chance to look at these finishings with close inspection to really appreciate the time and craft that has gone into each element.
Her final collection ‘A Love Letter to My Hometown’ was born from her teenage boredom in the suburbs. However, her hopes and dreams have been realised since an apprenticeship at Margiela and shadowing stylists from the industry. This was evident in the clear and unique aesthetic of her art-direction from the shoot of her look-book to the live presentations. I was lucky enough to see the runway show and witness the lenticular knits in action. I'll be uploading those clips to Instagram so head over there to see the full glory of the magic in the material. Also keep an eye on my Instagram stories during the week where I'll be sharing clips from the work of all fourteen finalists for you to then vote for your favourite. You have a week to cast you vote - final day to have your say is next Monday 2nd July.