"We’re thinking of femininity as an attitude more than a gender."

Fashion

10.3.2019

Perfect Number is Reframing Femininity

In a perfect world:

Yana Sosnovskaya: There are no borders; there are no visas; there isn’t inequality in society; there isn’t inequality in the perception of personality and beauty. 

The modern woman is:

Nicola Morgan: Not necessarily a woman. She’s confident, she’s secure in herself, and she embraces the fluidity of society and all the changes and adventures that that brings 

PERFECT NUMBER, to me: 

Maria Adonyeva: Is The fashion brand that will explore all the answers for what “New Femininity” is in the world.

Preparing for the launch of their next collection, PERFECT NUMBER’s LA studio turns into a maze of black modular jumpsuits moving to the beat of incessant typing and conversations over morning coffee. Patterns are being perfected, orders are being processed, and ideas are being exchanged. The energy in the room seems to sweep from the street to the studio, as the brand’s forward-thinking ethos and experimental style embody the regular passer-by’s of L.A.’s Arts District. Amidst the hustle, Co-founder Yana Sosnovskaya and designer Nicola Morgan look up from their desk to greet me with a reassuring smile; they’ve got a lot of work to do, but even more to talk about. 

Tell me a little bit about what you were all up to before PERFECT NUMBER, what led you here? 

YS: I’m a filmmaker, and because I worked in Moscow, which is a very patriarchal country and the film industry is also very patriarchal, on a set only about five percent of us were women. I loved my creative journey, but at the same time I really wanted to work with a female team, and right now I’m experiencing it for the first time. It’s very different than any other kind of space and environment that I’ve ever worked on because it’s very welcoming and fluid, but at the same time very reactive. 

I know that inspired the ethos behind the brand, but what made you want to get into fashion specifically? 

YS: I was always interested in fashion, but then there was a period where everyone got into this minimalist aesthetic. At first, it was really cool and it was a rejection of societal norms and stereotypes. But with this trend, I was personally lacking the ability to express myself — and societal and political messages — through it. That’s why it was interesting to me to make a 

switch to fashion as I witnessed these cultural changes that needed to be expressed. Also, I had never worked with a tangible product before, its a completely different thing to see people interacting with this product you’ve created. It definitely brings a different type of joy. 

“New Femininity” is something that’s mentioned a lot in reference to your brand, what is it? 

YS: As Nicola mentioned, new femininity doesn’t have a gender, and we’re welcoming everyone despite their age, race, gender, sexual preference, to come and explore their femininity. I think one of the core aspects of femininity is fluidity, being flexible and having stamina and core power within yourself to stand through what’s going on outside. We feel this is the current state of society right now, especially in America — it has this feminine aspect within itself. 

NM: We’re thinking of femininity as an attitude more than a gender. 

I really enjoyed your debut campaign “Woman on a Pedestal.” Were there any negative responses to it, people that disagreed? Or would you say it was accepted pretty well? 

YS: We were lucky that we only saw positive feedback. It was very interesting, one of the artists with whom we collaborated earlier got so deeply into the idea of the campaign that he called us afterward and left messages saying how great it was and how it had inspired him. It was the best sign for us that we did it right, that people got it. Also, for me, every time models are coming into our studio, I think about our campaign and how culture look at models as just representing a body, which is awful. That’s why with every season, we try to work with people who really inspire us, who are not just models but also artists and creatives — there is always something more. 

You’re coming out with a new collection dropping sometime soon, are we going to see more pedestals, more definitions of femininity? 

NM: I think we’ll see more definitions of femininity. I don’t think we can say too much right now, but within the collection, we’ll see some different textures and more of an exploration of where we can take this aesthetic. 

YS: We are also exploring different standards: beauty standards, gender standards, why these standards have been created, and we’ll find that a lot of the standards that we’ve grown up to are not relevant anymore. 

You’re solely E-comm at the moment, but can we expect any retailers soon? 

YS: We are exploring opportunities to work with retail partners, most likely an exclusive relationship. 

What about a PERFECT NUMBER runway show? 

YS: Not in the near future, but we’re definitely looking into that as we grow. 

For your digital platform, PERFECT NUMBER Mag, what drives its content? 

YS: We feature women that we find inspiring — in any arena or industry. If a woman is disruptive in what she’s doing and in her mindset, that’s very interesting for us. Also, we feature a lot of cultural and fashion essays that explore the intersections of topics that have been thought of as high-brow and those thought of as low-brow — it’s often an artificial distinction. These are topics we find interesting in our own discussions, and we love to open up what’s going on in our studio to have a dialogue with the outside world. 

You’re LA-based at the moment, but do you ever imagine exploring to any other parts of the world? 

YS: Actually, we really enjoy it here. We’ll definitely expand in terms of creating experiences or pop-ups and we would love to do collaborations. But I don’t think we’ll ever be based anywhere else, because LA plays a huge role as a source of inspiration right now. Its energy is very unique. 

The last question is for everyone: let’s give the people a fall fashion must-have. 

YS: Definitely, what I’m wearing right now, I’m not giving that up [laughs] Its a modular jumpsuit that you can wear in 6 different ways 

MA: Yes! This is my uniform.[laughs] 

NM: You could wear it different every day of the week! Our upcoming season also has some special pieces for the LA weather, like a puff slip dress which I think is going to be very interesting to wear. We’re also playing the contrast of the LA environment, using warm caramel and soft khaki earth tones as a canvas for blocks of icy blue and violet, Los Angeles pastels, and optic winter whites. We love vivid pops of contrast and graphic glitches to highlight artisanal fabrications and singular details. 

YS: In these fall pieces, we see beauty as evolution and really related to self-actualization. We took inspiration from Rudi Gernreich’s gender fluidity in clothes and added references to Japanese Kintsugi and California counterculture. Our clothes celebrate the beauty of imperfection and the individuality of the wearer, and upend the concept of unisex wear — no more women simply wearing men’s clothing We’re dropping it throughout October. 

Images Courtesy of Larry Armstrong-Kizzee.

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