Irina Krasilnikova: The Perfection of Imperfection

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You may not think of Ukraine when you think of ethical fashion designers. But Irina Krasilnikova is set to change that

By Diane Small

Living in Ukraine, one becomes accustomed to the beauty of chaos and imperfection. Or so says Irina Krasilnikova, the young Ukrainian designer. She launched her eponymous brand in 2009 to express the elegance, style, and energy of her native land. She  is known for her craftsmanship and attention to detail as she tries to interpret natural forms and  find new, modern ways to show  the female figure and bring about innovative silhouettes.

Her latest collection uses eco-conscious materials, including silk crepe, linen, and wool. It’s a true celebration of what the Japanese call ‘wabi sabi’ – beauty in imperfections. For example, Irina has sewn in lace flower “birthmarks” onto a beige dress are hand cut from lace fabric and strategically attached to tulle; she’s added grey stripe “scars” on a black suit, glued by hand.

She got the inspiration – and the scrap fabrics – to do so from her previous collection, which also featured organic, natural materials like nuno felted wool. That collection  was inspired by the patina tracery on an old cracked vase unearthed in a treasure-trove of antiquities. From whatever angle she looked at that vase from, Irina Krasilnikov says she was blown away by the beautiful, unique lines, various  cracks and smears that made the object all the more mesmerising for her.

Irina explains her current collection like this: “It was inspired by today’s fashion’s ideal of beauty, which is not a celebration of the natural, but the test of women’s ability to defy it. The fashion industry is not an expression of individuality but is rather a form of seductive and beautiful coercion into believing in the miracle of perfection that enthralls and yet alienates us from the reality of the body, thus creating an inner struggle vs. harmony.”

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This collection was a collaborative effort between the stylist, designer and photographer.

Photographer: Alexander Hurman  

Retoucher: Olha Hurman

Model- Artist: Juli Kozur

Make-up and Hair: Julia Kuzmenko

Accessories: Lena Yastreb, Hovsepyan Design

Stylist: Mariana Rekrutiak

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Diane Small
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