PROJECT RUNWAY SEASON 19 FINALIST KRISTINA KHARLASHKINA INVITES THE STYLE SAVVY INTO HER WORLD OF COUTURE, CONNECTION, AND WEARABLE ART

BY TIA KIM

The brainchild of Russian born designer Kristina Kharlashkina, one of four finalists on season 19 of the competitive mega hit Project Runway, Kristina K is a top end brand that strives to bridge two ends of the fashion spectrum: couture and comfort. “It’s fashion with intellect and soul,” noted the designer, who garnered a reputation on the Bravo show for going bold with her design choices. Colors like vivid fuchsia, key lime green, and sun drenched orange covered kaftans, maxis, and sheer gowns, and the former ballroom dancer, who fell in love with the way a costume could elevate a performance, laid the groundwork for a stellar debut line.

A self-described risk taker, the designer noted, “For me, the fashion of our day gives us more opportunity to mix different styles, play with garments, mix colors and prints to try and find some new, unexpected solutions.”

Her line is noticeably elevated: exaggerated proportions and deep lucid hues manifest as silk printed scarves, lush blue tweed coats, billowing gowns with raised shoulders and hip bone slits, and sequin skirts that shimmy and change colors under a disco ball. But her designs remain exceedingly wearable, comfortable enough to last a full evening on the red carpet, champagne gala, or first date. The designs are at once romantic and loud, rich and approachable, daring and playful.

“In today’s fashion, styling is sometimes even more important than the garments themselves,” she said. “As a designer I create a story, a mood, and that mood can change based on the styling. For example, on our frantic days, we should be able to change the mood of our clothes very fast. In 30 minutes to be ready for a transition from work to a cocktail party. Our goal is to show that clothes can be comfortable, wearable, and functional art. For us, fashion is not just about clothes. We assign meaning to each design to evoke an emotional response to each piece of clothing and at the same time, offer our clients the opportunity to wear this art on a daily basis.”

Fashion, first and foremost, should be fun, and through vibrant prints and rebellious cuts, Kristina K’s designs invite wearers to take risks, stay out too late, and enjoy both the fierceness and frivolity of fashion.

Northwell B22 SPREAD

Kristina K @kristina_k_ny