Although Natalia Alaverdian has been presenting her label, A.W.A.K.E Mode, in Paris for several years, this season marks her first show on the official Paris Fashion Week calendar. Born in Russia, she grew up in Belgium and is based between Antwerp and London. Known for proposing collection concepts that seem initially offbeat, her designs are underpinned by meticulous workmanship and material innovation. From one season to the next, every silhouette is distinctive and often comes with a surprising backstory. Also known for her boundless energy, Alaverdian appears here with her Corgi, MOMO.
Most generally, paint us a picture of the collection this season. Viking warrior woman on a mission in a space desert – fragile but strong.
Would you describe yourself as an explorer?
In some way all of us are, so probably yes.
What is your most enjoyable form of exploration?
What is the goal of exploration?
Understanding who we are and why we are here, or wherever one is at a point in time. Also, reaching one’s potential.
Tell us about a concept or idea you have explored this season?
Moving textures: I like to play with the sculpture-like and 3D-effect elements. This season I was exploring the idea of creating different texture, some of which also have movement when the wearer moves.
What kind of exploring do you undertake before starting a new collection?
Anything I can absorb, really – from little daily life moments, to movies, museums, architecture, technology, fabrics, art, nature, even food…
In what ways are you exploring new materials, methods, technology each season, or with this collection, specifically?
I am mostly quite obsessed with exploring how a classic garment can look different and bear, perhaps, a different functionality, yet feel classic and timeless. I also love the idea of upcycling, so I am now exploring all different ways to upcycle denim and old collection fabrics. I think upcycling, aside from having no waste imprint, is also a really creative process full of exploration. And then, of course, each season I like to explore new textures, movement and cut.
Would you say your collections explore what’s happening in the world around you, whether culture or global issues?
Never intentionally, but some do in a subtle way.
Do you explore inward — your feelings and impressions?
I mostly certainly explore inward.
How has exploration led to your brand/house evolving over time?
I suppose without exploration, nothing and no one grows or is able to reach an understanding of a vector to follow. So exploring a lot of sides of entrepreneurship, along with exploring different design and product development solutions, has really helped the brand and the company evolve over time.
What would you say to someone who is exploring fashion as a career?
Fashion has a lot of career paths to offer, so it depends. But for those exploring fashion from entrepreneurial and design perspective simultaneously, I would say buckle up, you are in the driver seat and it will possibly be the bumpiest drive in your life that will affect not just you but even your close ones.
What is something or someplace you would like to explore in your lifetime?
Making motion pictures.