Photographer James Muldowney had a desire to share a beer or two with an old friend, Oxana Korsun, and show his admiration for real people who have a depth and style that lives beyond fashion. Oxana brought a case of her beautiful clothes and accessories and off they set into one of his favourite London spots which is close to where he grew up.
Volt Café: Tell us a bit about Oxana! What do you do? And what was your personal journey to get to that point?
Oxana Korsun: I am a fashion stylist with an obsession with vintage clothes and hunting out vintage gems. This is really how I started back home in Russia, scouring flea markets searching for inspiring things amongst piles of rubbish. I’ve always liked odd and interesting clothes, something most people would find too un-conventional or un-fashionable. I got involved with an art collective at the time that worked with collecting, re-thinking and re-styling vintage clothes, a unique activity then, especially in the post-soviet Russia. It was really like an education for me. And then when I moved to London, I got involved with ‘real’ fashion. I assisted for a bit and then started styling freelance. But I also continually have worked with vintage, collecting and trading.
VC: Clearly a love of patterns and colours, your way of dressing is amazing! How would you sum up your style?
OK: Oh, thank you! Yes, I really like colours and patterns, I like to mix and match, or mis-match, but not to overload. It’s a bit romantic and bold at the same time. It is really very intuitive. I like strong yet natural shapes, patterns and textures.
VC: Who are your favourite vintage designers and why?
OK: Yves Saint Laurent, of course! The colours, the fluid shapes, the eclecticism, the strong femininity…Elsa Schiaparelli, I love the fashion item as an art object attitude and the surrealist imagery she used, so inventive for the times… But really most designers are amazingly inspiring in their own right, it is difficult to choose. There was an auction in Paris not long ago with some incredible Paco Rabanne pieces, they were mostly designed for the opera, so really over the top, but so inspiring. Something, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to afford. What I end up mostly with in my personal wardrobe/collection are YSL, Missoni, Oscar de la Renta, Rykiel, and loads of lesser known brands mostly from the 50’s to the 80’s, plus a few older pieces.
VC: Who are your favourite contemporary designers (if any) and why?
OK: Of course I love contemporary fashion too! I really like what Raf Simons did for Jil Sander, Alber does for Lanvin, Prada, Stefano for YSL, I also like the tradition of Sonia Rykiel and Missoni, all their great knitwear. Then there is a younger generation of designers like Roksanda Ilincic, who is a friend, I find her aesthetic really close to mine, Richard Nicoll, Jonathan Saunders, Christopher Kane – very cool and modern, Michael Van Der Ham and Louise Gray, I like the way the fabrics and textures play, I really like Delfina Delettrez jewellery. I love the surrealist motives. Vika Gazinskaya, a Russian talent, has a really fresh mix of casual and evening.
VC: You clearly put a lot of thought into the way you look, it is like a moving art installation. I really admire this. What do you think of the way people in general dress in London? And do you think cities in general have ‘their’ look? That you can tell someone from London as opposed to someone from Berlin or Paris?
OK: That’s a great compliment, thank you. In general people tend to dress a bit bland in London, unfortunately, following different style ‘codes’ for different society groups. There are exceptions, of course. And because of these exceptions, London is one of the fashion’s capitals.
Yes, of course, cities, or I would say rather countries, definitely have their own ‘look’, in general not that exciting, but if you look at the ‘fashion’ crowd or at the more style conscious, there is also a certain look to a city, often unique and inspiring.
VC: What was the shoot with James like? Did you develop the idea together? You look very at ease and free in the images, do you find it fun to be photographed?
OK: It was a real pleasure to work with James! He is really passionate and inspired. We already did a small shoot together and he is an old friend. He had an idea for the location and we decided to do a ‘floral’ shoot. It was all very natural and easy.
VC: What would be your absolute dream job?
OK: I would like to have my own fashion consultancy company, combining my knowledge and passion for vintage clothes with an equal passion for contemporary fashion.
VC: What makes you feel inspired and happy?
OK: Besides the clothes hunting and styling? Discovering art, learning, walks in parks, going to cinema, galleries, sunny days, traveling, having great food!
VC: Where’s your favourite place (art gallery;shop;restaurant;bar;market;park;theatre;music venue – can be be either or all or something completely different – you decide!) in London and why?
OK: I live in West London, so tend to stay in that area. A walk in Holland Park is one of my favourite things. There are some really nice cinemas, like the Gate and the stuck-in-the-past Coronet that show some great films. I like going to the Serpentine Gallery, it is a perfect stop over after a walk in Hyde Park. Victoria & Albert museum is a fantastic place to visit any time, there are always galleries to get lost in in there.
Tagsanna bang, Christopher Kane, Delfina Delettrez, Elsa Schiaparelli, James Muldowney, jil sander, jonathan saunders, Lanvin, Louise Gray, michael van der ham, Missoni, Oscar de la Renta, Oxana Korsun, Paco Rabanne, Prada, Raf Simons, Richard Nicoll, Roksanda Ilincic, Sonia Rykiel, Vika Gazinskaya, Yves Saint Laurent,