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Designer Paula Knorr founded her eponymous label in 2015 and quickly attracted international attention. By July of the same year she received the ITS Fashion Award in Trieste and the British Fashion Council’s NextGen award for her SS17 Collection.
Knorr focuses on designing for a range of women no matter how they individually identify with gender, reinforcing the possibility of dressing femininely while being strong and powerful. The designer’s study of the female body and the significance of drapery in her work give her pieces a chic and sophisticated edge that sets the brand apart.
We spoke to her about the meaning behind her previous collections and what we can expect for AW18.
Type of brand:
Where can we find your designs?
London, LA, New York, Paris and Kuwait. Key retailers include; Machine-A, H.LORENZO, Opening Ceremony, Galeries Lafayette and 4. I also recently designed a capsule collection for MATCHESFASHION.COM that is available online and in London stores.
Who is the ideal Paula Knorr customer?
Strong, sensual women of any age who want to look powerful, unique and feminine.
How does your hometown influence your designs?
I am from a small village on the Rhine, just a short drive from Frankfurt. There wasn’t much fashion there but my parents are illustrators and studied art. A lot of their friends are artists or have art-related jobs, so I grew up surrounded by creatives with a lot of support for my ambitions.
How do you define femininity?
It is nothing definite; every woman creates their own idea of femininity.
Why did you decide to centre your collections around womanhood?
I want to connect to a generation of women who feel caught between being gender neutral and overly sexual. I want to show that to be a “normal”, “feminine” woman is absolutely fine; I was never the cool kid and always liked to feel really feminine. My goal is to create a wardrobe for women who are not afraid to be powerful and simultaneously womanly; these are not mutually exclusive traits.
In what ways does your definition of femininity change with each season?
To support and illustrate female identity is always at the core of my work. In the fashion world it can feel like the superficial vision of a model on the runway gets more attention than the real woman who will wear the garment. Every season, I try to define a method to reverse this and remind people of the purpose of fashion. The woman should be at the forefront; it’s about her body, her movement and her personal beauty.
What does your design process look like?
The interaction and balance between the body and the clothes is essential. Details and prints are secondary. I never start by drawing my ideas; I create them directly on a real body to explore how they interact.
What drew you to study the creative process of musicians for your previous collection?
My boyfriend is a musician and I find it interesting that we work so differently while both being in the creative industry. I wanted to research different kinds of artistic processes. I’m inspired by musicians and how their body becomes a creative tool, whereas I do most of my design work with my mind.
What are your favourite songs at the moment?
Blissing Me by Björk and Solange Knowles’ album A Seat at the Table.
How do London and Frankfurt differ?
When I moved to London five years ago I was fascinated by the different cultures that exist next to each other while not losing their cultural identity. You don’t see this on such a scale in German cities and it’s something I love about London.
What is the inspiration behind your next collection?
I am interested in the impact of female dressing, particularly when it comes to evening wear. Some think it’s outdated, but it’s having a big revival and I’m trying to reimagine it for AW18. Relaxed, comfortable and easy designs that redefine “sexy” into sensual designs from a woman’s perspective.
What are your hopes for the future?
I want to focus on developing knitwear and accessories, as well as create more items with accessible price points. I’d also love to launch my own e-store and continue to grow the brand globally.
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