Everything about the 25 year old Russian designer is hands-on. Her collection, ‘a love letter to the working hands of Savile Row,’ celebrates her admiration towards tailoring, yet effortlessly combines the modernity of fashion today. Experimenting with embroidery, manipulating felt and glue-gunned shapes – these are only a fragment of Bondareva’s genius behind her alluring designs. Hand-drawn and intricate prints are at the forefront of her research, with croquis dressed head-to-toe in circular and triangular bodies. ‘Instead of horsehair canvassing or silk skeins, I’ve turned to household materials like matchsticks, gelatin, lots more felt, and hot glue to paint,’ she explains. The make-do feel of the garments gives the feeling her prints are all-three dimensional, giving the effect of them protruding from the surface.
One look even comprised of a maxi skirt made entirely out of hot glue with three semi-circles bulging out from all angles. Its top has a padded shoulder, decorated in dyed purple, red and neutral coloured matchsticks, resonating the back of a hedgehog – perpetuating an empowering figure. Now as one of the joint-first runner-ups this year for the prestigious L’Oreal Professionnel Young Talent Award, the young designer has proved herself as bright and innovative. As Bondareva’s matchstick gown that’s held together by fine lines of glue waltzed down the BA Fashion Show runway, it all appeared majestic. Her beekeeper-like headpiece encased her identity as silhouettes of faces ran around the edges. Having only seen a snippet of it through Zoom, the burst in colours only grew stronger and unforgettable as it assembled.