Yes to Paradise-Anastasia Bull’s fashion design work is an ode to personal utopias

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How does each of us define paradise? Is something individually unique or a wishful thought for an -already- troubled mankind?  Anastasia Bull’s own personal paradise is a glittering, shinning opulent wonderland in toxic lilac tones-and a constant source of inspiration to her design work. A  2020 graduate from the Institute Of Fashion Design, Academy Of Arts And Design, FHNW University Of Applied Sciences And Arts in  Northwestern Switzerland, Bull is just embarking on a much promising fashion career-and already has the collection to prove it.

Sourcing inspiration from both historical costume design and modern glam scene, her work dives deep into the subconscious to enhance the wearer’s personal strength allowing the true personality to arise. Her approach is highly constructive and involves a very unique ‘conversation’ with the fabric itself while she intuitively drapes the pleats directly into fabric-waiting for the right shape to emerge itself. And while the process might seem heavy and tenuous, the finished work mostly expresses a truly uplifting feeling that celebrates individuality and promotes acceptance, though light shapes and paradisiac, ethereal forms. After all, isn’t paradise a place when everyone exists as the best version of themselves?

We caught up with her during a tumultuous Post-coronavirus world situation to discuss this new reality -and the artistic vision of a blissful utopia that trespasses it all.

 

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Anastasia Bull 2020 collection, photo by Camilla Fivian

 

How did you start being interested in fashion?

I got interested in fashion when I was about 12 years old. I started watching fashion shows on YouTube and started drawing clothes and little collections. I have always been very fond of beautiful things, colors, and paintings.

Your work plays with shapes and volumes –how important are those elements to you?

I love to play with volume as it can have a very powerful effect on both the wearer and the observer. It can create a strength, an opulence. I believe that clothing has a considerable influence on our society. However, I think that the way fashion is handled in our society is very limited. People are not very experimental. Everything is always the same. There’s little individuality. I wish our society was more accepting. I think it needs more colors, more glitter and yes more volume. It would be like art, like flowers in the gray streets of our world.

What are your key fashion influences?

I like to think of interesting people (fictional and real) to meet up for dinner. For example Fran Fine from the 90s series „The Nanny“, Marie Antoinette, Sherlock Holmes, Rita Hayworth, Anne Boleyn, and Elizabeth Bennet. What would they wear? What would they talk about? What would they eat? How would they influence each other in terms of art, social norms, fashion, or behavior? I always like to think of this as a paradise where time is not really relevant.

Your clothes seem to come out through an elaborate construction process-take us through it.

Usually, I start with styling on a model. Then I collage over the printed pictures. At the same time, I start to illustrate looks and create first patterns. It is always a back and forth until you have a finished look. Sometimes things change significantly at the very last moment. Research and reference images are of course always very important.

When I work with pleated fabric, it is always very intuitive. I drape the pleated pieces onto a model to create a volume. Most of the time I only have a vague image in my head. I pleat my own fabrics. The interesting thing about pleated fabric is that you never know exactly how it will behave, how it will fall, how it can be bent. So it’s always a surprise.

In your Instagram account you make several references on historical costume-and films. How do you use the past to construct the future?

Almost all my references are of historical origin. I love the victorian era, the baroque, and the Renaissance. I love the way volume and materials were handled back then. Everything was much more voluminous and opulent. I love the challenge to create something new inspired by old patterns. Often it is only small nuances that make something contemporary. Colour, material, the right volume in the right place. It’s like a puzzle.

Yes to paradise. What kind of paradise is it?

My paradise is a place full of harmony. It is a utopia. A society with total acceptance. A society that can as well question if necessary. A place where everyone can exist as the best version of themselves. It’s a colorful place. A place where people bathe in opulence.

Any upcoming plans or events you’d like to share?

I will certainly complete a master’s degree in order to further pursue and manifest my utopias and visions. I wish that my clothes will soon be worn by many people and that I have an influence on our society with my ideas, even if it is only a teeny tiny influence. I think we’re all

 

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Anastasia Bull 2020, photo by Camilla Fivian
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Photo: Mark Siumin  © 2020 Institute of Fashion Design, FHNW Academy of Arts and Design
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Photo: Mark Siumin  © 2020 Institute of Fashion Design, FHNW Academy of Arts and Design

You can find more about Anastasia Bull on her websitehere