How to wear the floral trend according to designer Olga Vilshenko

vilshenko collage featured image

While you may feel like you can't get away from floral prints this season, we love the Eastern heritage and artistry behind the feminine pieces from Vilshenko, the timeless and tasteful line from Russian-born designer Olga Vilshenko.

To celebrate her collection and exclusive pieces at Fenwick of Bond Street, we caught up with Olga to chat about how to wear the floral trend, striking a balance between Russian heritage and London couture and where she gets her style inspiration...

OLGA DOING WORK

Where did your interest in fashion come from?

I fell in love with fashion quite young in Russia. My mum could make everything and I inherited all of the skills from her from a very early age. I was fascinated to see the process and I just started to help her. I then started making clothes by myself - the first items I made were a dress and a trench coat for myself. One of my friends saw them and asked me to do the same for her, and that was the first money I earned at 13 years old. 

How did you turn your talent into a career?

I started looking for schools to study to be a designer, but at that time they had nothing in Russia. I had to go somewhere to study so I went to a financial university, but still I continued to make clothes for myself, friends and family. After graduation some institutes had opened, so I went to do fashion design at The Institute of Fashion and Art in Russia.

I spent 5 years learning the history of art and design but I felt that there was something missing. Studying fashion in Russia at that time meant I was too far from the real fashion world - you studied theory, but not practice. I had the opportunity to go to London to do a short course at the Institute of Marangoni and found it really inspiring. I decided I really wanted to start my brand here and set up my business. I now have a lot of people on my team working together on collections.

How would you describe the label and the Vilshenko woman?

The Vilshenko customer really differs, we have actresses, models, women full of life and different personalities. She's very romantic and likes to be comfortable. All of our dresses are timeless and I really try to pay attention to comfort in my clothes. Everything fits well - I pay attention to detail. 

What's the inspiration behind the latest collection?

It's about summer and vacation. The pieces are easy to wear - you can wear them on the beach, to the office or in the evening. There are floral prints mixed with geometric prints and we've just introduced denim. You can also see dresses and blouses with embroidery, which is still the distinctive feature in our collection.

Florals have become a major trend both on the high street and the catwalk. What are your tips for wearing floral year round?

There are different approaches to the floral print - you can have dark, wintery florals, then something lighter for spring and summer. Light floral prints are a good compliment to many women. You can wear a little bit of floral in a blouse or scarf for a minimal look, or you can wear a floral dress with tights and boots, or flats or sandals in the summer. I also love long, floaty dresses for the evening or as a very comfortable dress for the daytime or for a holiday.

Where do you get your personal style inspiration from?

I get inspired by very different things. I can see a nice picture or a photograph, listen to music or watch a film and get inspired quite quickly. It changes every season, but I'm always inspired by people who are very artistic or by women who have very unique style, then I follow them on Instagram! I try to go to exhibitions as well - in London there are so many things going on that you can get inspired quite quickly. I also like going to vintage flea markets and fabric exhibitions.

How would you describe 2016 fashion?

At the moment I feel like everything is in fashion. There's not one particular look that people are following. I like it - it means people feel free to express their individuality.

What item are you currently dying to buy?

I don’t buy much as I wear my own designs, but what I do buy is shoes, and lots of them! This season I am dying for YSL boots.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I wake up very early to spend some time with my children. Like most working mothers, my mornings are very busy. Wherever possible I try to fit in a morning run then I drop off the kids at school and head to my atelier for 8:30am.

What are you favourite spots for shopping and eating in London?

Fenwick of course! I also love Alex Eagle on Walton Street and Themes & Variations in Notting Hill. My favourite restaurant is the River Café.

Why was Fenwick a good fit for your collaboration and exclusive pieces?

I’ve always loved Fenwick and visit it often when I come to London. It’s a beautiful store with impeccable service and a great mix of brands. Fenwick has always been very supportive of Vilshenko and I was very excited when they approached me about collaborating on the Bond Street window. I am thrilled with the result!

By Alison Millington