Whole Lotta Love

Whole Lotta Love

Lotta Volkova is so much more than just a fashion stylist. Her post-Soviet Russian upbringing and Central Saint Martins training have seen her work exploit accents of lust, sexuality and dreams unapologetically, and her Instagram account @lottavolkova is certainly worth a peak. A delicious mix of selfies, movie stills, and the latest updates on Balenciaga, she's redefining how we see clothes.

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Using her Instagram account as her gallery and her clothes as her sculptures, Volkova is an icon and forward thinker. Known for her styling work both at Vetements and Balenciaga under Demna Gvasalia, and with Gosha Rubchinskiy, brands that have brought a fresh, impulsive idea of dressing to the industry, Volkova is just one artist being recognised by defining figures in fashion. Raf Simons’ enduring relationship with graphic designer Peter Saville dates back to AW’03. Named after the Led Zeppelin song Whole Lotta Love, Volkova unapologetically pushes images of herself to the extreme using clothes, creating provocative Surrealist style self-portraits.

Lotta's styling captures and recycles dreamlike and trippy colours and fit, pairing striking red corduroy with acid green. Lotta exploits Surrealist and Freudian like concepts of repressed feelings of sexuality and desire: the infamous Balenciaga Cosmetic Pantashoes, seen on her Instagram, cling to her figure, covering her body whilst also revealing it. The pants-shoes hybrid starts as a pointed court shoe and goes up the leg similar to disco pants as one continuous garment. One must remove your trousers to remove your shoe, entertaining an underlying eroticism. The Balenciaga boots have an alluring energy, emphasising the shape of the foot as it falls into the curved heel, mimicking the height of female orgasm in a playful Surrealist fashion, as Christian Louboutin himself points out: “Putting your foot in a heel, you are putting yourself in a possibly orgasmic situation.” (The Times.

Volkova is the Surrealist artist of our times, and with repressed sexuality, comes underlying violence, emerging as a form of Punk in Lotta’s world. Possibly prevalent during her younger years spent in Russia, Lotta’s punk impulsively liberates. Her styling for the Vetements AW17 show felt impulsive like her Instagram photos: synchronised acid green treated leather outfits were paired with bare chests and discernible red spiked hair, revealing Volkova’s unique ability in creating a persona for every styled ‘look' as she does over on her Instagram. Images taken on her phone manifest different personas, using photography to perhaps express a feeling or an aesthetic: the back of a woman’s neck and head with anarchistic crimson hair paired with the opaque inscription of a tattoo reading ‘fuck you’, is enough to employ her carefree attitude.

Her work from the start has been "...very immediate, very easy, very D.I.Y., and fun" (W Magazine) and her Instagram is no different. Lotta curates a mixture of genres, churned up and spewed out as something truly impressive and personal. From posting movie stills which capture comedy or sadness to a snapshot of a national sculpture, darkly lit with a bright flash in Moscow. These almost opposing images on her social media reveal no boundaries. The idea of Lotta’s selfies seem somewhat conflicting, as she reimagines their concept. Not concerned about receiving the gratitude of a 'like', how selfies made their name, Lotta uses this form of representation to exhibit and construct both her style and her world, often with a grimace rather than a smile. The span of material in which she uses to create her art speaks volumes by how it is sourced, there is nothing pretentious about her work, she is simply Lotta, working to curate a vision for her art, from Europe to America.

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A refreshing opposition to the fad homogenisation of the Kardashian era, Lotta Volkova is a rejuvenating figure in the art and fashion worlds that we should all be looking out for.

Images @lottavolkova

10 Magazine