Sep 20, 2019 | By Athena Chen
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Sep 17, 2016
By Anna Ross
Fresh from her London fashion week S/S17 show, we caught up with Paula Knorr, a key designer who should be on your radar. Paula grew up near Frankfurt in Germany and she currently lives in East London. She kickstarted her design trajectory at London’s Royal College of Art and Germany’s Trier University. Her aesthetic is all about celebrating the female form, and the female psyche.
“Both my parents were illustrators, so for me – a creative job was the most natural thing in the world,” says Paula, kickstarting our conversation, about how she got into designing. ” I had my first sewing machine aged 10 and went to life-drawing classes from 12-years-old!” she says, shrieking with laughter – “All those naked men!!”
But it’s women that really inspire Paula – “It’s always about the women; I look at their bodies, study how they move, ask women how they feel – then I take it to the stand – no sketching,” says Knorr of her creative process which was honed at both the RCA and Germany’s Trier. “Trier taught me all skills to be a skilled tailor- then RCA pushed the conceptual side of things, taught you how to be your own designer.”
After graduating, Knorr worked for London label, Peter Pilotto, before going it alone: “It sounds a little strange, but I needed to find myself again. I began drawing myself, collaging, painting pictures over and over – it was something that needed to be fulfilled – the connection with myself as a woman,” explains Knorr of her recent process, hinting; “Some of the drawings translate as prints for S/S17.”
Knorr has a sense for women which goes beyond aesthetic and straight to an emotional core; “I don’t like to imagine my creature.” she says, discussing her muse – “I’m drawn to strong personalities, people I look up to, maybe a woman who’s a little older.” Fitting that she’s found a following in icons such as Lady Gaga and Bjork, who purchased some of Knorr’s designs after for her tour; “She’s such an inspiration of how to live out femininity – it was such an honour.”
And on the subject of her first show at LFW: “Being part of NEWGEN is incredible, I’m learning so much! I love to see my clothes on women, my concept and whole obsession with the feminine psyche wouldn’t make sense if they weren’t actually worn.”
So what advice would she give to an aspiring designer wanting to follow suit? ” Don’t just focus on fashion – teach yourself everything – and remember, fashion shouldn’t inspire fashion.” – Wise words, indeed.
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