After being first invited into Delada’s world through Rei Nadal’s playful hide-and-seek, trampoline bouncing, forrest frollicking fashion film, created for SHOWstudio and MACHINE-A, i-D can exclusively reveal DELADA’s debut campaign, featuring art...
Photography Eva Al Desnudo. Model Alexander Komarov
"The inspiration comes from my childhood in Soviet Russia," Komarova explains over email. "I have been living outside Russia for many years, but I have never disconnected from this country emotionally." Embracing the emotional pull of her native Russia, nostalgia is the thread that binds her designs together. but despite this fond look back, the debut collection feels decidedly now. While her contemporaries, most obviously Gosha Rubchinskiy in Russia and Vetements in Georgia, have opened up Moscow and Tbilisi' underbellies of cool, Lada Komorova takes us deeper behind the Iron Curtain and invites us to lose ourselves in the great outdoors and optimism of youth. "This collection is more like a romantic travel back through time to when I was a teenager in Russia. It is also a recollection of my journeys during my youth across the countrysides of Russia. It is also a bit of nostalgia for of the sheer simplicity of living back then."
Rose-tinted peasant tops and dresses with printed field flowers sit alongside handmade knitwear and elements of art and crafts memories of the naïve Russian countryside, sit alongside more fashion forward pieces including leather trousers, oversized shirts with ultra-long cuffs and biker jackets. The result is a constantly evolving and updating signature wardrobe of contrasting romanticism of the past and its re-interpretation in modern aesthetics.
Even if we don't have the same reference points, we can all agree on life being simpler during those long summers of youth. The appeal of Lada's clothes can be seen as a sort of quasi-exotification of Russia, its otherness and relative unfamiliarity. There's an element of cultural voyeurism, a feeling that we'll never truly witness or understand Komorov's Russia, but we want to be a part of the experience all the same. The other side of the story, that we can understand instantly, is the teenage experience. From first times to first loves to first fuck-ups, growing up unites us, it knows no borders. As the collection is presented for the first time to press and buyers at D /ARK /CONCEPT /PARIS, here's everything you need to know about DELADA.
1. She grew up with a rebellious DIY attitude...
"I remember when I was about six years old, I got a hold of scissors and cut up my grandmother's very special and loved formal dress to make it fit me and my tiny body. You can only imagine my grandmother's reaction when she saw what I had done. It is still very fresh in my memory. Looking back, I never ever wore something straight from the clothes shops. Instead I would buy things and make something different out of it. I guess that was the moment I started designing, but I never realised it until later."
2. Delada is rooted in Mother Russia...
"Russia is where my roots are and I have built my artistic life on its culture and history. I can relate to it through my history and the aesthetics I can very much understand. Even though during Soviet time we did not have designers but we always had street fashion and street trends. Gosha Rubchinskiy is one of the designers who very successfully translates the 90s Soviet fashion into contemporary design and I admire him very much. I think history repeats itself in art and trends, and it's very much catching up. I am so thrilled to see that more and more talented Russian designers are finally also getting internationally recognised."
3. Beyond memories, DELADA builds on the craft she was taught in Soviet Russia...
"Coming from a long cultural family tradition of knitting and handcrafted embroidery, I utilise techniques gathered from my youth as the signature design elements of my collections. Gagarin embroidery is one of the examples. The range of classical shirts with a modern twist is another example how I take the traditional concept of Soviet uniform and translate it into modern trend."
4. Essentially, DELADA is all about time travelling...
"DELADA is my past, my present and my future. It means a lot to me because through this I can be myself and express my history and my vision for the future today. I sometimes take design elements from my cultural background and my upbringing in Soviet times, but put a new modern twist on things. Especially elements that were used for Soviet propaganda easily translate into today's society and trends, and connect the past with today's modern society without forgetting where I am from. It also means a world to me because this is what connects me to the people I admire and love and who support me through this path of development."
5. She believes that fashion has the power to change society...
"DELADA is a ready to wear brand which is hopefully cool enough for people to get excited about. I love that fashion is kind of at the forefront of how our society is changing, becoming more open and accepting of new ideas and lifestyles.
6. Her son's visit to MACHINE-A opened her eyes to new possibilities...
"I met Stavros through my son, Alex. After discovering MACHINE-A, he refused to shop anywhere else. There is no shop like this anywhere else. The young designers represented are amazing but what makes it even more special is Stavros who gives them a great platform to present their work. Other shops can try to copy what MACHINE-A has done, but at the end, it is Stavros and his dedication and personal vision that make this place unique. So there was no surprise that we became close friends and also collaborators for DELADA."
7. She admires Stavros Karelis' vision and believes in the power of collaboration...
"Amongst many amazing personal and professional qualities, Stavros has this great vision, since he understands fashion and he sees the future of fashion like no one else. He has been an incredible supporter and motivator as well as curator for this collection. We launched my small collection of sweaters there which was a great success and this is how it all started. Stavros also helped me to realise my vision through the fashion film by suggesting a team of incredibly talented, visionary young artists. The fashion film was directed by Rei Nadal and styled by Ellie Grace Cumming. They captured so well the emotional side of the collection and for that I am incredibly thankful. I am also thankful to SHOWstudio for featuring this film. I met Barbara through Stavros, and am absolutely thrilled to be part of D/Ark. I know Barbara played a significant role in the future of many young designers and I feel very lucky to be chosen to be represented by her. Through Barbara was also introduced to Eva, since she immediately understood the concept of the brand and knew that Eva would be a right photographer to communicate this concept through her photos and artwork.
8. The uniqueness of Alexander Komarov made him the the face for DELADA...
"The fact that he has a very unique vibe about him. He also has his very own style and looks so up to date, but also at the same time has the Russian influence in him."
9. She believe that the future of fashion belongs to the next generation
"The future belongs to the young designers and fashion students that do not care about commerciality, but follow their heart and inspiration to really push the boundaries into brand new areas of looks and designs that will become the future trends. We should give even more support to young designers and the young generation in general.
10. For anyone wishing to follow in her footsteps, she says "just go for it"…
"It is very difficult to commit your life and your career to a creative industry but it is at the same time incredibly rewarding. One piece of advice is just go for it. If this is what you are passionate about, then sooner or later you will want to go back to it so don't waste your time and just go for it. I hope and dream to be able to stay true to myself. I hope to continue traveling and learn more, discover things I don't know yet and meet many more talented young people. What excites me most about tomorrow? The people I might meet along my journey."
Text Steve Salter
Photography Eva Al Desnudo
Model Alexander Komarov
Art Direction D /ARK
Photography Eva Al Desnudo
Model Alexander Komarov