Quick-Fire Questions With Paula Knorr

Björk, Lady Gaga, and Marina and the Diamonds are already turning to the recent art school grad for spotlight-worthy stagewear. Here's why.

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Ever since she knew such a job existed, German-born, London-based designer Paula Knorr wanted to work in fashion. It was that or—when she was really young—be an opera singer. "But I doubt I have the talent," she says now.

From Paula Knorr's fall/winter 2016 collection, entitled Collage of Herself. Photographed by Daniel Fraser
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The opera's loss was fashion's gain: within a year of Knorr's graduating from London's Royal College of Art, her star has been on the rise. It's her tactile, tinsel-strewn creations that have done it, landing her a coveted spot on the Newgen roster as part of London Fashion Week this September—Newgen is the arm of the British Fashion Council that showcases the best new London talent—and winning her the highly coveted International Talent Support (ITS) Fashion Award in Trieste, Italy, last year.

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Which, all in all, makes it the perfect time for us to get to know the Frankfurt native a bit better. Everybody, meet Paula: Paula, meet everybody.

All that shines: tinsel textures are the signature of Paula Knorr, fall/winter 2016. Photographed by Daniel Fraser

What's your first fashion memory?

My mom encouraging my sister and I to create costumes and outfits and help her to sew. These were basically my first moments designing.

What was the first thing you ever made?

A pleated skirt and a top I made out of silk ribbons for my sister when I was 10 and got my first sewing machine.

Bold color underpins Paula Knorr's design aesthetic, fall/winter 2016. Photographed by Daniel Fraser
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Are you a minimalist or a maximalist?

Both. I love bold colors and extreme materials, but for designs I always aim for the most simple but on-point cut.

Describe your aesthetic in a sentence.

It's all about female sexuality and powerful emotions.

Paula Knorr's winning collection, shown at the International Talent Support (ITS) Contest last year 2015 in Trieste, Italy. Photograph courtesy of Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Do you have a woman in mind? If so, who is she?

It's not just one. It's all the women that surround me. I get inspired by their body language, attitude, and emotions.

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Do you have a signature item?

Paula Knorr's winning collection on the runway at the International Talent Support Contest 2015. Photograph courtesy of Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images
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What do you find yourself designing again and again?

Pieces that are far too transparent to sell!

Why do you love the shiny stuff?

I love how fabrics change the body shape beneath the cloth. Shiny fabrics really emphasize the silhouette underneath.

Extreme materials are key to the closet of Paula Knorr, spring/summer 2016. Photographed by Daniel Fraser

Sequins or beads?

Sequins

Lamé or jacquard?

Lamé

Collage and layers build the Paula Knorr closet, spring/summer 2016. Photographed by Daniel Fraser
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What is your preferred method of designing?

Observing body posture, movement, and attitude, and creating concepts to translate that in designs.

Who are your fashion designer inspirations?

Vivienne Westwood, Lutz Huelle, and Haider Ackermann.

From Paula Knorr's fall/winter 2016 collection. Photographed by Daniel Fraser

Why London?

It's bursting with creativity, and I love the freedom in design that the college tutors encourage.

What's been the biggest lesson you've learned?

I'm still working on learning how to be more positive and excited about what I create. I sometimes get quite negative with the stress.

Paula Knorr's signature pants at work. Photographed by Daniel Fraser

What is your own personal style like?

Black, a lot of knits, and dresses.

What item can't you be without?

Hairbrush

Dalston or Hackney?

Dalston

From Paula Knorr's fall/winter 2016 collection. Photographed by Daniel Fraser

Cab or Uber?

Uber

Absolutely Fabulous or The Devil Wears Prada?

Absolutely Fabulous

From Paula Knorr's fall/winter 2016 collection. Photographed by Daniel Fraser

Heels or sneakers?

Sneakers

Where do you want to be this time next year?

In London and hopefully making money with my brand.

For more, see paulaknorr.de.

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