Published in Plaid Magazine Online, February 2011
Photos by Massimo Comtois
Anastasia Lomonova is back after a brief break – the New Labels winner shares details of her new collection with Plaid, and how she copes with winter in Montréal.
Were you always interested in fashion?
Always is a pretty long time! So no, I wouldn’t say that I grew up wanting to be a fashion designer. I have always been very visual and very interested in art (I started drawing at four). I was not producing any masterpieces at that age by any means, believe me, but really enjoyed it and continued learning how to paint for many years. In my late teens I thought I would become a full-time artist and paint for a living, but then realized that I wanted to do something more dynamic and more involved in everyday life. It was sort of a natural transition – instead of expressing myself with oils on canvas, I started working with fabric.
What designer do you admire most?
This is an interesting question, because, you know, in terms of style it is hard for me to say that I look to any designer for inspiration. I am more inspired by people and the paths they take in life. I really admire Rick Owens – I hadn’t been very familiar with what he does until quite recently, but I am a big fan of his honesty with design. He is able to produce pieces that are innovative yet relevant and wearable. I like styled showpieces as much as anyone else, and there is definitely a place for them on the runway, but I find the bigger challenge lies in creating something that is visually interesting yet comfortable and well-made at the same time.
What is your favourite era in fashion?
Either the present or the future. I may have gone through a little retro phase at some point but that is well done with. I know that everything has already been done before but there is no need to recycle trends from the past. This is also the reason why I turn to fabrics and visual interpretation of ideas rather than history books for inspiration.
What influenced you to leave Toronto after completing two years of Ryerson’s fashion program to go to Montréal and pursue your dreams?
Exactly that: pursuing my dreams. I thought if I waited too long, they would be so far gone I would lose sight of them! Ryerson was a necessary experience, but I was definitely impatient and felt too trapped in a school setting.
When you moved to Montréal you interned with designers Valérie Dumaine and Nadya Toto. How did this experience influence your work and give you the confidence to start your own line shortly after?
My internship with Valérie is what set me on my way to start my own line. I spent a few months working with her – learning and observing. She has taught me so much and I owe a lot of what I have accomplished in the first years of my work to her.
I know you are not producing a full collection for S/S 2011. Do you have any other plans for the season?
Going into production with F/W11 and focusing on S/S12 is what’s next. I already have a lot of ideas and I am pretty excited to get going! I did make a few samples for S/S11 so I might do a few creatives with those, just for fun.
Can you describe your F/W 2011 collection?
Yes! It’s finally done! I had taken a season off this summer after the New Labels competition as I was really drained and needed a break. After a full season off, I felt that my perspective had changed and I wanted to start fresh. That’s kind of the inspiration for next fall – I incorporated a lot of geometric shapes into my designs and wanted to express this idea of basic methods of construction – things tied in knots or folded rather than held by buttons or zippers. I think some of the pieces might look like they have been inspired by architecture, but I looked more towards construction materials – wood, paper, cement. In the end, the line is quite minimalist, with precise lines and cuts. This direction is a lot more ‘everyday me’ than my other collections. I am very casual and hate dressing up, so I wanted something that’s easy to wear but has a strong personality.
Your complete collection is available through custom order only, in Montréal boutiques and online. Where are some of the retailers where we could find your designs?
Because I took a season off, I focused only on made-to measure stuff. Previously the line was available across Canada – and now that I am back with a new collection, you can expect to see it in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. As I have just started sales, I can’t confirm any specific locations yet but will keep you posted!
How would you describe the women who wear your clothes?
I think I have been all over the map with my client base! I started when I was so young, when I wasn’t so sure of whom I was aiming for as a customer. I went from flowy chiffon dresses to tight sequin and gold numbers to girly things with floral prints. For the past year my focus has been on exploring various design elements and creating things that are visually strong, yet not ostentatious. A woman to whom this would appeal can be anybody – someone involved in business and office work, a student, a professor, an artist – it’s more about her state of mind rather than age or employment. It’s someone who is a strong individual and does not need to advertise it to the whole world.
What is your favourite item in your closet right now?
Sorel boots – Montréal winters don’t really mess around. It’s cold here.