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Interview: Kzeniya Oudenot

Written by Sophie Prescott.

Boasting a history in costume design and having worked with Alexander McQueen, Kzeniya Oudenot, the creative brains behind eponymous accessories brand, Kzeniya, clearly has a wealth of inspiration to draw from when creating her theatrical designs.

Through a combination of dramatic elements and stylistically striking motifs, the bags are truly unique statement pieces. Playing with the shape and structure of the pieces, architectural influences are apparent, while the use of different materials and textures adds to the artistic credibility of the designs.

The brand’s AW15 collection is a clear manifestation of these signature details, but moves away from the chic minimalism of their SS15 lookbook. Instead, the collection is refreshingly playful, using bold colour and asymmetry across the range of clutches, purses and shoulder bags. Again, texture is a continuous theme throughout, juxtaposing sharp geometric inserts with softer, fluffy materials to achieve more than just a bag, but a fun sensory experience.

We caught up with Kzeniya to discover more about the brand itself and the inspiration behind such striking accessories designs.

Sophie Prescott: How would you summarise Kzeniya as a brand?
Kzeniya Oudenot: Cutting edge design and luxury materials. Pieces that border wearable sculptural art.

SP: You have accumulated quite a cult following of the brand, do you have any celebrity fans?
KO: Jennifer Lopez, Ellie Goulding, Kat Graham, Brandy, Fergie and many others!

SP: How did your previous experience in design lead to the creation in of your own brand of luxury handbags?
KO: I studied performance design at Central St Martins, worked in theatre and events industry, I guess there is an element of drama present in my designs – sharp edges, bold colours. I like to design pieces that psychologically affect you and evoke certain feelings.

SP: How did you find success in such a competitive industry?
KO: By creating a unique product and recognisable style.

SP: Are you influenced by other designers or current trends or do you prefer to go your own way?
KO: I follow the trends and what others do, but more out of curiosity and because I love design. As for my collections I tend to go my own way.

SP: Where do you get inspiration for such striking designs in terms of shape and texture?
KO: Lots of experimentation with the shapes, materials, colours. I use sculptural, graphic and architectural elements as a reference.

SP: What is the most challenging thing in your job?
KO: Being able to cope with everything, one moment you are a designer, the next an accountant, a technician. You have to have so many faces and be able to do some many other aspects of work in order to run a company.

SP: Which collection are you most proud of so far?
KO: For me, SS13 was a turning point in my design aesthetic.

SP: What advice would you give to any aspiring accessories designers?
KO: Find a niche, work very hard and believe in yourself.

SP: And finally, what is next for Kzeniya?
KO: Perhaps a jewellery line later on.

Below are Fashion Philosophy’s favourite picks from SS15 (left) and AW15 (right) collections. To see the whole range and previous designs, visit Kzeniya‘s site.

Kzeniya - bags

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