There are some things we just grow up with. For Olga Vilshenko, it was a long-standing family legacy in clothes design and manufacturing. She grew up in the Ural Mountains in Russia, to a family who were passionate about responding to the communist regime with bespoke, brilliant garments. This Eastern family heritage is what makes Vilshenko’s eponymous label so successful.
Despite her family history, design wasn’t Vilshenko’s first career move. It was only when she went to London to study finance, that she realised design was part of her blood. After stints at the Institute of Fashion and Art in Russia, and London’s Istituo Marangoni, Vilshenko emerged with the modern technique of a Western designer, and an even bolder vision.
With the help of stylist Sarah Richardson, in 2009, she launched her label. The minimalist silhouettes and well-constructed articles always strike a neat balance with traditional, costume wear. In every collection, there’s an equal weight between folklore and costume, and modern, wearable garments – whether it’s a mouline funnel neck sweater or an embroidered wool tunic dress. It’s a marriage made in heaven.
She presented her debut collection in 2010, but it was last year that she made her first Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia appearance, sending elegant shapes and translucent fabrics down the runway. Ever the true artist, she led the audience back to the initial roots of her brand, citing a student of a Russian realist as that collection’s inspiration.
For her AW14 offering, Vilshenko brought an autumunal, printed dream, with rosebud appliqués and tulle overlays. Dark to mark the season, but sleek and clean, as ever.