Matilda Marginal

Designer
@matildamarginal

Interview by Charlie Price
Edited by Tiaja Pierre

We love your your work – it has a very experimental feel but at the same time has an element of refinement and luxe as well. Is that a nuance that you intend? 

Thank you! Yes, I love deconstruction, avant-garde, incompleteness and imperfectness. However, at the same time I always want everything to be well done. I love contrasts and even if the piece looks too wild and frayed it deserves to have a nice finished touch. I think people who wear my designs deserve to have the best from me because they are free, brave, special and beautiful.

I love the story you told me about being your own look book model due to Covid-19. You covered yourself in pantyhose and shot yourself in a basement that was painted a glossy white to resemble a studio – meanwhile it appears highly conceptual and slick to the viewer. Do you always harness such ingenuity?

It was an experiment which turned pretty cool. Today it is so hard to create something new and the best we can do is to think outside of the box. That time I was just looking for a solution for my website during the isolated conditions. A good solution was made and now we see that it reflects the Covid-19 time…now it is a memory.

Now I may use those stockings to style my runway show. That is mine…that is what I created because I was desperate. It is wonderful because when something is not available, that is the moment we start creating.

At that time I also was dressing, doing makeup, styling and photographing my mom on my iPhone. Those pictures became part of a publication in a magazine and later to the anti-aging movement. I get inspired from literally everything I see and try to make something beautiful. That is just how my mind works. I do not do it on purpose. I see the pure beauty even from the Covid-19 limitations. I believe that is how real underground art is created too. No matter when, no matter where, just do what you feel inside your heart. Do what you have to do.

You are originally from Russia – but live in Denver now and are considering spending time in NYC – does having a nomadic tendency inspire your design?

Absolutely, it is a lifestyle and I subconsciously project it on my collections. I share my soul and my world. My designs are the mix of everything that I have ever seen, listened to, smelled, heard and felt. Each design is by me. Furthermore, having different experiences, exploring new places, nature, people and cultures, expanding my comfort zone non-stop is what keeps me alive and sober (or aware, if sober is not the right word in this case).

You are so creative – and by the looks of your website and social media you dearly love avant-garde art and fashion design. Who are some of the great artists and designers you most admire? 

Rei Kawakubo, Rick Owens, Michele Lamy, Jean Paul Gautier, Martin Margiela, Marina Abramovich, Banksy, Salvador Dali and Yayoi Kusama…there are many. I should stop here or you will hate me. I often admire the unknown artists too.

I know a significant number of your garments are gender neutral – almost utilitarian and “unisex” even – to use an old (but cool) word. Could you elaborate on that aspect of your work? 

There are a few moments here. First of all is freedom to self-express. I never understand the rules when women can wear men’s clothes and all find it sexy but if we flip the picture and talk about men wearing dresses and heels it becomes too much already.

The second, what I always defend is the value of the human soul and respect to personality regardless of gender and sexual orientation.

And of course no less important is breaking the stereotypes of beauty. The majority of people consider something beautiful and elegant only because society once decided so for them. They refuse to even think about why this is beautiful but that is ugly. For me banality is ugly. Not simplicity but banality. A lazy narrow mind is ugly too.

Even though you may not be one for long – What does it mean to you to be a citizen of The West?

Since I have tried the taste of The West I will stay western forever. This is the ingredient of me now. The West for me is the embodiment of freedom, wildness, honesty and dignity!