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.
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.
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 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.
Elie Saab collection
Elie Saab collection
Elie Saab collection
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.
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.“