Fashion

INTERVIEW: Masha Popova Discusses Her SS23 Debut at London Fashion Week

The designer takes us backstage and shares what makes her latest collection unique.

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INTERVIEW: Masha Popova Discusses Her SS23 Debut at London Fashion Week

The designer takes us backstage and shares what makes her latest collection unique.

Masha Popova presented her anticipated debut runway show titled RUSH at London Fashion Week on September 17. Imbued by her rage and distress towards the Russia-Ukraine War, Popova subverted some of the colorful, optimistic details that defined previous collections to darker notions. When models came prowling down the runway to a fast-paced techno beat and tire treads sounds, the Ukraine-born designer’s desire to forget the woes of the world became evident.

The Spring/Summer 2023 collection showcased the label’s signature appliqué and off-kilter approach to denim separates. Hero denim pieces reigned supreme in intricately draped jackets with power shoulders, cut-out flared jeans and platform knee-high boots. Trippy oil spill-inspired graphics and tire marks were reverse-printed onto jersey T-shirts to emulate an embossed finish. A range of voluminous designs featuring low-rise denim maxi skirts with eye-catching fishtail accents in the back closed the show to the rhythm of a cheering crowd.

Popova tapped Lacuna Jewelry to feature headlight colors on grandiose crystals with chrome and gold outlines that reminisce those of the curves of a race track. By finding a voice in fragility, Popova’s collection offers progressive pieces that stimulate and empower wearers. Despite the furious and fast-paced music that resembles the current state of the world, the non-conformist line-up did not look disoriented; models stepped forward looking liberated and fearless into the future. The emerging designer once again proved her unique talent to fuse raw energy with a powerful aesthetic for a generation that finds comfort in playful subversion.

Take an exclusive peek at the collection backstage captured by Rowben Lantion in the gallery above and keep reading for the full interview with Popova.

What do you want people to feel when they wear your SS23 collection?

RUSH was born in a period where I wanted to escape. The collection was my little safe haven where I funneled all this pent-up, fury, energy and frustration that I had which came from what was happening in the wider world at the time. I hope people feel that within the clothes. Energy. Excitement. Adrenaline.

Is there any piece you are particularly proud of?

I am proud of every piece in this collection. Every single piece has had so much work and development put into it. It’s hard to pick one over another but if I have to it would be a Drift Doughnut Sets (opening look). I am also proud of the Plisse Tyre Set for being so adaptable to any body type and shape.

What does MASHA POPOVA stand for and what does it bring to the fashion industry?

Curiosity, playfulness and I hope my work brings a fresh new outlook on your everyday staple wardrobe pieces.

Have you changed the focus of your work since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war and what support do you think the Ukrainian fashion community needs?

I lost my focus at first and it took some time to get myself together. Working on this collection helped me drift away from the pain and frustration that this war caused. The fashion community in Ukraine need what every other fashion community in the world needs — to live and work in peace, to not have worries and not that you might not see your friends or family again.

How has your brand evolved since your London Fashion Week debut in 2021 and what do you hope to achieve for MASHA POPOVA in the years to come?

I don’t even feel like that was a debut last year. It was a digital presentation — a short video and look book released during  Fashion Week. This SS23 was a real debut. I’ve never even done a presentation. It feels surreal how much has happened since my 2021 digital presentation. I was clueless about how the industry worked — they don’t teach you about all the other integral elements that go into a brand … Stockists, production, etc. I would always focus on designing and making. This debut show was one of the most amazing experiences. I met and worked with many brilliant people who helped me bring this collection to life. I’ve learnt so much from every single team member. Couldn’t have done it without them.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

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