Zalando Visionary Award winner takes to the runway.

London-based brand Paolina Russo, winner of the Zalando Visionary Award, debuts its first runway collection, named Monolithic, during the SS24 season of Copenhagen Fashion Week. 

The collection from co-creative directors Paolina Russo and Lucile Guilmard combines artisan techniques with industrialized manufacturing, bridging the gap between heritage craftsmanship and technology. The runway set design encompassed rune-carved rainbow floors, evoking the suburban nostalgia of the carpets found in the childhood home of brand’s warrior heroine protagonist, and the pastel chalk frescoes she would scrawl on the pavements outside. Standing stones – the design center piece of the space – simultaneously recall ancient stone circles and futuristic earthship structures that have served as an inspiration for the brand.

Lena Sophie Röper, Director of Designer & Luxury, says: “Paolina Russo’s designs are unique, fresh and simply beautiful. Everything feels truly innovative, forward-thinking and unexpected – especially their signature illusion knits. I love that through the Zalando Visionary Award we have had the chance to work with two talented designers who are brave and innovative enough to pursue their own vision. They exemplify what this award is all about – creativity and design, social impact and innovation.”

Gradient denim, created using low water-intensity fabrics and production processes is a key feature in the Paolina Russo universe. The brand’s pastoral floral insignia is airbrushed and laser-etched onto boleros and miniskirts, jackets and baggy jeans, taking inspiration from ancient stone carvings. Bias cut dresses in printed chiffon extend the brand’s commitment to a practical, comfort-minded approach to dressing and knitted clothing – intentionally lacking hardware and made from lightweight cotton monofiber yarns. Jersey bermudas, sweatpants, hoodies and tees appear in chalky, sunbleached pastels, decorated with imprints of primordial relics as well as rainbow-hued illusion knit pullovers and semi-sheer patchwork column dresses, all bringing the Paolina Russo warrior woman’s stoic elegance to the fore.

Paolina Russo and Lucile Guilmard, Co-Creative Directors at Paolina Russo: “We are truly thrilled to have been part of Copenhagen Fashion Week as winners of the Zalando Visionary Award – to be able to share and celebrate our work with a large audience is an incredible opportunity. Meeting the high standards of an award like this brings us closer to our goal to modernize craftsmanship and rethink traditional techniques through innovation and fashion that is more responsible. We hope we have inspired others with our work –  to feel empowered by their practices and have confidence to express themselves.”

Each piece in the collection exemplifies the brand’s desire to challenge and modernize the meaning of craftsmanship, allowing collaborative experimentation to lead innovation. The collection epitomizes the ethos at Paolina Russo’s heart: the recontextualisation and celebration of yesterday’s craft practices to articulate an aesthetic anchored in tomorrow.

published by Nadia ten Hove