The ‘KPI’ is a relatively new ugliness in our lives, as are its friends: the CTA, ROI, and the particularly unpleasant, UX. However, before these acronyms assailed us, life was bubbling, it was fun.
Do you remember? When meetings took place at midnight, undercovers, during sleepovers with friends, real and imagined; when dreaming was a daily duty, and when language was something to be invented, not learned.
Designer Paula Canovas del Vas is known for, among other things: living garments, articulate absurdity and resurrecting deadstock fabric. For autumn winter 2023, she has created a collection that jaunts the protagonist from adulthood to youth, back again, and then somewhere further.
Paula Canovas Del Vas
Photos: Matthew Tammaro
The shapes, vivacious yet vulnerable, adolescent yet eloquent––read like specimens found in a museum of natural mystery, they grow and evolve, like a kind acid trip, right before the eye. In an instant, glittered knee-high Diablo boots make a faun of the protagonist, frosted sleeves sprout like stamens, and knits are busy ravelling themselves back together.
Better than an experiment with medication, colors arrive like the weather pattern of a distant planet, piece after piece vibrantly unfurls––a chain reaction to responsibility, to adulthood––afterglow blue, lava orange, the yellow of a banana flavored candy.
Now hieroglyphs, a secret, seductive dialect; now specimens seen through a microscope, microbial, biotic; Canovas del Vas’ latest collection will prove as intriguing to an adult, as to the child within.
Paula Canovas del Vas is the Spanish-born, London-based designer behind the eponymous label established in 2018, after graduating from the Central Saint Martins BA and MA Fashion, completed with the support of the Stella McCartney Scholarship.
Today the label is present at over 30 stockists worldwide including MAXFIELD (Los Angeles), SSENSE, GR8 (Tokyo), Browns (London), International Gallery Beams (Tokyo) and MACHINE-A (London, Shanghai). The label joined Paris Fashion Week in September 2022 with its SS23 collection.
Paula was awarded the Vogue Spain Prize 2022 and was a semi-finalist of the LVMH Prize 2022. She was named by the New York Times an emerging designer to watch and her work has been featured in Vogue, Dazed and i-D. Prior to launching the label, Paula was a creative consultant for Kanye West, following internship positions at Maison Margiela under John Galliano and Gucci.
Paula’s youthful collections are developed around a rich array of references, research with patterns, shapes, fabrics and cross-disciplinary collaborations with artists. All collections are made using primarily deadstock and recycled materials.
Her debut AW18 Central Saint Martins runway show immediately garnered attention, with the introduction of the devil-toed ‘Diablo Shoes’ and accessories, first available at Dover Street Market Ginza.
Advocating for innovative means of presenting fashion, the label has presented installations at Le Palais de Tokyo in Paris (2018) and during London Fashion Week through the multiplayer virtual reality installation See, Saw Seen (2019).
In 2020, Canovas del Vas presented Flat Viewing AW20, an installation set within a historic building of Le Marais’ Place des Vosges, welcoming the viewer into Canovas del Vas’ fictitious apartment, developed with Julie Gamberoni.
Canovas del Vas released two short films in 2021: Visual Diary, a 180° short film created in collaboration with 3D Artist Wouter Gysemans, and Spring-Summer 2022, directed by Hong-Kongese Photographer Joyce NG