After the buzz of fashion week, I decided to calm things down, and went for a weekend to Odessa. On the very first day I found myself in a trendy place celebrating Halloween with two friends of mine, both of them designers from Ukraine. One of them, Masha Reva, is among the most European-oriented designers working from Ukraine today. A Central Saint Martins student, Masha did the first year of her M.A. course (she decided to take a break between two years of her studies and is currently working from her hometown, Odessa) under the wing of Louise Wilson, the celebrated teacher of such international talents as David Koma and Christopher Kane. With her collection of sweatshirts and dresses dedicated to Odessa, Masha received a standing ovation from the top industry figures after showing it in Paris in the showroom and during Mercedes-Benz Kiev Fashion Days.
The concept of Masha’s new collection, which is called Odessa Series and is produced in collaboration with another Ukrainian brand, Syndicate, is about a new take on Ukrainian kitsch and an ironic view on how Ukrainians desire to look luxurious. In my personal opinion, these over-the-top aspirations can be found in all post-Soviet countries, and while my generation is changing the perception of the word luxury, Masha is masterfully playing on the weaknesses of our parents.
The collection consists of a couple of dresses and a number of omnipresent sweaters, where the central role is granted to prints. For Masha, the reason why she works with simplified shapes is that it is a plain canvas and playground for her collages and drawings. She sees herself “as a visual artist,” and states that her collection “is about indulging the eye with images that are pleasing and engaging. This is the focus that only requires a plain background.”
Masha’s first collection with Syndicate was a total hit, and the series of sweaters called Botanical Layers became a cult favorite among fashion-forward people of Eastern Europe. One of them was even spotted on the singer M.I.A. Will the second collection, Odessa Series, be as popular as its predecessor? I have no doubt about it, and I hope my readers will agree! Curious where to buy Masha’s clothes in the United States? Starting with her new season, Reva’s line will be available in Chicago’s fashion-forward shopping destination, Ikram.
For more information, visit http://www.mashareva.com/.