Ulyana Sergeenko and the Russian heritage

Ulyana Sergeenko is a Russian fashion designer.

Being passionate about fashion, she started collecting vintage clothes and accessories from a very young age. She loved hunting for the new rarities therefore she frequently visited markets or vintage boutiques as well as major auctions to find them. After becoming a client of luxury brands Valentino, Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier, Chanel and Dior she was noted for her refined and sophisticated style.

At first, Ulyana collaborated with various designers for the creation of pieces for their collections, but since she did not receive any credit for her work she afterwards decided to launch her own fashion label. Miss Sergeenko brand was launched in Moscow in April 2011 with the Fall Winter 2011/2012 collection. After the first two collections were shown, the brand received lots of media attention alongside with many requests from all over the world.

Nowadays the Russian company produces ready-to-wear women clothes, bags, fine jewellery and headpieces. Besides the retail stock, there is an atelier where clients can order made-to-measure versions of the runway items. The style of Sergeenko’s couture collections is a blend of military, literary and fairytale influences.

One of the key principles of Ulyana’s work is meticulous attention to details and high quality.

Everything is produced in Moscow under the strict control of the designer herself. All fabrics and trimmings are bought in France, Italy or Japan and some garments have vintage details that have been specifically picked at antique markets.

Craftsmanship and technical knowledge have defined her work from the beginning, indeed the stylist collaborates with numerous highly skilled ateliers from Russia.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

With her, every season is a new story about her native country.
To give an example, her Spring 2016 couture collection “marries two eras: the 1980s, just before the fall of Communism, and the turn of the 20th century, just before the Russian revolution” as reported on Vogue Runway.
The show was a success – as the majority of her works are – furthermore becoming an occasion to confirm her good taste in fashion and exclusive elegance.

Advertisements

Jeans from Japan – A History of the World’s Best Denim

Jeans were originally designed as workwear for laborers on the farms and mines of America’s Western states in the late 19th Century; they proved extremely durable and became the garment of choice for the working class. After World War II jeans became a symbol of youth rebellion: American culture and vintage clothing quickly became a fascination, especially among Japanese youth.

Denim from Japan has a reputation among enthusiasts for being the best in the world and for good reason: it is known for its premium construction and the skilled, artisanal craft required to make it.

The main reason why Japanese denim has become so renowned is for perfecting these two defining qualities: being woven on old looms to produce selvage fabric and using just natural dye.

Jeans in Japan were mainly produced at Kurabo Mills, one of the world’s longest operating mills, with the use of Toyoda machines. The company was founded in 1926 as “Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, Ltd.” by Sakichi Toyoda (on the left picture) and soon became very successful in the textile field for its numerous innovations and improvements that lead to an increase in productivity.

Selvage fabric is the natural end of a roll of fabric which – when made into a pair of jeans – prevents unraveling of the material. Producing selvage denim is more expensive since it can only be woven at a width of 31″ and is woven on old looms requiring more skill and adaptness.

Natural dye is another reason why Japanese denim is significantly better than others. It contains many impurities and it is way more expensive than most synthetic dyes used nowadays. This way each pair of jeans has a distinctive composition that only becomes more special over time. The first wash creates the characteristic fades and creases unique to each wearer.

Some examples of Japanese brands producing luxury denim are:

  • Big JohnPioneers of Japanese Denim, they started their business over 70 years ago as a small sewing factory in Kojima, known today as the denim capital of Japan. With Japanese design, Japanese fabric and Japanese production as core elements they “continue to pursue uncompromised quality and distinguished style in each piece of clothing.”
  • Evisu Genes – founded by Hidehiko Yamane, who was one of the first on the premium denim scene. Originally done as an homage to Levi’s classic 501, the brand took off and gained him a cult following among those in the streetwear scene. Evisu quickly earned the reputation for being the best in denim and was the first brand able to sell each pair for over $100.
  • Momotaro Jeans considered the pinnacle of denim artistry: priced at roughly $2000, each pair is made entirely by hand and dyed using indigo from the indigofera tinctoria plant. The denim takes up to 8 hours for every 3 feet of material; it can take up to a year to produce just one pair. The fastening button is made of silver and silk lines the back of each pair. Once finished, jeans are washed in Seto Sea water.
Years of tradition, training, craft, and skills are involved in the process of creation.

Stitch Fix: the new way to do shopping

In a world that seems to be relentless – where free time has become a rare occasion for the majority of people – someone tries to give an answer and find solutions.

Stitch Fix was born this way: a US start-up founded by Katrina Lake in the far 2011.

Are you wondering what it is? We are talking about an online service of personal styling for men and women that changes accordingly to your personal tastes, lifestyle and necessities.
The aim of this company is to make shopping easy and enjoyable, combining technology with the human element to create a personal experience which is as satisfying as possible – without the need of any effort coming from the client.

The site was thought and created for all those ones who want to save time, look perfect and evolve their personal style.

Stitch Fix‘s team is composed by fashion stylists who are expert and passionate about the subject, and whose unique interest is your own happiness. They are keen to learn from your tastes and your needs to select the best garments for you over time.
This society is indeed focused on your trust and personal opinions, which help to improve the service and obtain the maximum satisfaction.

How does it work?

  1. The experience starts by completing a questionnaire about your style, sizes and price preferences.
  2. You receive a box with five pieces selected for you, directly delivered at your door.
  3. You keep and buy what you like while sending back all the other stuff with free shipment.

Obviously – as it always happens in front of innovations – there are conflicting opinions on this new way of doing shopping.
If on one side this business makes it easy, immediate fast and safe – on the other side it is true that the physical experience is completely lost by using this system.

What do you think about it?

Are you willing to renounce to an afternoon of shopping with friends in favour of a virtual adventure?

Met Gala 2017: new look for Cara Delevingne

The more we embrace who we are as people and rely less on our physical attributes, the more empowered we become. Beauty shouldn’t be so easily defined. It is limitless.

Begins former model and actress Cara Delevingne, posting on social media a picture that shows her at the most eccentric event of the year while she proudly boasts the head completely shaved.
This way, responding to criticism, she invites her fans to think.

Its exhausting to be told what beauty should look like. I am tired of society defining beauty for us. Strip away the clothes, Wipe Off the make up, cut off the hair. Remove all the material possessions. Who are we? How are we defining beauty? What do we see as beautiful?

Apparently the haircut is due to demands of scene: after a long and successful career in the fashion industry, Miss Delevigne appears to be now completely immersed in the world of cinema.
She is currently on the set of the film Life In A Year, playing the part of a girl who suffers from cancer, alongside Jaden Smith – as her boyfriend.

On the occasion of the annual event, held on Monday 1st May at the Costume Institute in the Metropolitan Museum (New York), her make-up artist Romy Soleimani did a real masterpiece: the head of the star was painted silver and covered with Swarovski crystals. The inspiration seems to be coming from the dress that Cara worn – a Chanel suit of the same color, perfectly in line with the avant-garde theme and the unconventional approach of this edition, named “Art of the in-between”.

This exhibition is in fact devoted to Rei Kawakubo, the revolutionary Japanese fashion designer and founder of Comme des Garçons fashion house, who is known for having renovated European fashion at the end of the 70s.

According to Calin Van Paris, journalist for Vogue, “the new silver hair by Cara Delevingne have just won for the beauty at the Met Gala” and many others seem to agree…

And you? What do you think?

SS 2017: Welcome back one shoulder dresses!

Grace Wales Bonner and her vision of Africa

Grace Wales Bonner is an emerging menswear designer who recently graduated from Central Saint Martins in London, United Kingdom.

What makes her stand out from the millions of artists that are nowadays working in the fashion industry is the fact that she takes inspiration from meaningful concepts and themes when creating those beautifully crafted pieces.

Her Spring Summer 2015 graduate collection is named Afrique and it is inspired by Nigerian culture, celebrating black self-representation, and “working inside established frames of reference to create something new”.
It deals with real people who are proud of their heritage, who are not ashamed to show themselves, who fight to preserve their own individuality.
Her capacity and skills were rewarded soon after its launch, indeed she won the 2014 L’Oreal Professional Designer of the Year prize.

Her talent in design alongside with her determination to work hard and succeed were additionally confirmed in January, when she presented her Fall Winter 2015 collection – entitled Ebonics – at Fashion East, which is known for announcing next British prodigies.
Her reputation was furthermore increased after the presentation of her creations at the Victoria and Albert museum on April 2015 as part of the “Fashion in Motion” series.

 

 

The initial stimulus comes again from black visual culture and African crafts: being born by an English mother and a Jamaican father, she in fact loves exploring her origins and crossing cultural hybridity. As she announced in one of the interviews, the V&A felt like the perfect space to present her works.
More precisely, she was this time influenced by African luxury fashion and its couture techniques. Her works are characterized by a meticulous attention to details and the presence of numerous embellishements comprising Swarovski crystals and intricate pieces of jewellery.

As a result she presents very high quality garments with beautiful handcrafted embroideries while the style ends up being super ethnical and without any exact inclination of gender – which makes the collection more wearable for a wider public.

Elie Saab and the Lebanese Republic

Elie Saab is a Lebanese fashion designer and, as many others do, he loves taking inspiration from his fatherland.
For his Spring 2007 couture show he based his collection on “the colors of dawn over Beirut” and his compatriots’ ability “to make beautiful things in the face of adversity.”

Lebanon, officially known as the Lebanese Republic, is the smallest recognized country on the entire mainland Asian continent. Because of its location between the Mediterranean Basin and the Arabian hinterland, it is characterized by a diverse population – composed of different ethnicities and religions.

Being taken as an inspiration for the Spring 2007 collection is not a chance: indeed the country had recently come out from the Lebanon War, a 34-day military conflict (started in July 2006) between Hezbollah Paramilitary Forces and the Israel Defense Forces. The fight ended in September: presenting the relative fashion show in January was a way for Mr Saab to refuse any setback.

 

The show was mainly composed by evening dresses having different lenghts and shapes, but all very feminine and sensual. Big volumes, soft shapes and embellishments characterized this collection.
The most relevant colours were white, black, lilac, turquoise, gold and silver but all in very light shades. The materials used were semi-transparent and fluffy alongside shiny and embroidered ones. Crystals, bows and rouches are used to finish the look.

As declared on Vogue runway, the designer was still learning: indeed this was one of his first collections, however it was very appreciated by the public.

Nowadays the brand is well known worlwide and its garments are frequently worn by celebrities.
His main workshop is in Lebanon, with additional workshops in Italy (Milan and Paris). The first atelier, which was founded in the early 1980s, specialized in Bridal Couture that is still very successful.

 

 

 

Christian Dior exploring Egyptian culture

Even worldwide-renowned brands sometimes use cultures as their main inspiration for the collections they create: indeed this is what happened with Dior many years ago, under the direction of fashion designer John Galliano.

It was January 2004 and the Spring Couture collection came out in Paris, France. The idea for the show this time came from Egypt and more specifically the Valley of the Kings, Cairo, Aswan and Luxor.
As reported on Vogue Runway “The result was a gilded fantasia that used every treasure available to the couture ateliers—gold leaf, lapis lazuli–hued snake, silver lamé, coral beading—to reference everything from Nefertiti and King Tut to hieroglyphs and tomb paintings.”

The fitting reminded the ones of sarcophagis and the shape obtained in the end was what Galliano called The  sphinx line which is elongated, tight, attenuated, elegant.
The main characteristics of the garments were an eccessive use of gold and silver as colours, big volumes and overblown silhouettes.
The final look was furthermore completed with numerous embroideries such as crystal-encrusted jewelry and huge headdresses while models wore notable hairstyles and face painting for make-up.

Many celebrities were also attending the event – including American actress Sarah Jessica Parker – and considering the public’s amazed reaction the collection proved to be a success.

Time has passed away since that show, however it should be remembered as an example of achievement because of John’s ability to dig into the past, find a major culture and bring it back to life by creating something new.

Nowadays the brand is working with Italian fashion designer Maria Grazia Chiuri, who was announced to be the creative director in July 2016 and who made her debut last October in Paris with the Fall 2017 ready-to-wear collection. She has studied in IED (Rome), she has worked for Valentino many years and she is actually “the first woman to lead the creative side in the label’s 69-year history”.

 

Hussein Chalayan and the concept of the veil

Hussein Chalayan is a British/Turkish Cypriot fashion designer, globally known for being an innovator. The huge success he has nowadays mainly comes from the meaningful concepts laying behind his collections and his ability to create products that are unique in the market.

Born in Nicosia in 1970, he soon moves to London and takes the British citizenship. After studying at Warwickshire School of Arts, he manages to enter the prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design (also graduating there).

He immediately gets noticed for his creativity and starts being rewarded with many prizes. His main inspirations are contemporary society and the two different cultures in the middle of whom he grew up. However architecture, philosophy and technology are other important stimulus.

The designer’s career is also characterized by numerous collaborations and partnerships with brands such as Yoox, Swarowsky, Puma but also celebrities like singer Lady Gaga and avant-garde artist Bjork.

Today, I want to present here one of his shows – influenced by the Turkish Cypriot heritage – which is Spring Summer 1998.
The collection is intended as a statement on the oppression of Muslim women and displays models wearing chadors of varying lengths – from fully clothed to totally nude.

On 21st April 1998, the New York Times states: “Few designers can move an audience to tears — they might bring people to their feet or bore them to distraction — but clothes are rarely so poignant that they elicit crying. Hussein Chalayan proved he possessed such power with his spring 1998 collection in England last season, a provocative exploration of Islamic women’s place in society using the chador as the fulcrum.”

To the many critics he received he replied: “It wasn’t really supposed to be offensive. It was supposed to illustrate a particular kind of position. This was about the cultural loss of self.

Cul(tour) – a digital tour through many of the cultures existing worldwide

7.5 billion human beings on Earth, 195 different countries, an endless number of societies and cultures present nowadays in our own world.

Having known this, now, do you still believe you are that much important?

I was shocked when I realized how many times people – especially Europeans – believe with a tremendous arrogance that the globe is spinning around themselves, without considering the huge amount of happenings and circumstances which are not directly connected with their own personal lives.
This often happens in the fashion industry too, since a multitude wrongfully considers it as being exclusively related to the westbound populations.

The decision of creating this particular blog comes from my innate desire to explore and learn from the others.

Here you will find inspiration from elsewhere and you will have the opportunity to discover the most interesting, unknown information regarding certain practices and traditions you probably do not know anything about.

More precisely this website is the result of the mix of my two biggest passions, which – as you should have figured out at this point – are travelling and fashion. Even though at first impact they might seem totally disconnected, I instead found out how very much they are linked with each other.

This blog is dedicated to all those curious ones who are thrilled to find out more about the huge number of persons with whom we share this same planet: broaden your horizons and embrace diversities to really understand the beauty and uniqueness of our life.

Are you ready to start this everlasting and fascinating tour?

In order to make things easier and clearer, the website has been divided into six categories – one for each continent examined: Africa, America, Antarctica, Asia, Europe and Oceania. Therefore all the articles included will be positioned depending on the culture they respectively deal with.