Ulyana Sergeenko Haute Couture
The heroes and heroines of the fashion house’s new collection are inhabitants of the turbulent 20s –an allusion not only to the tumultuous present decade, but also to the now canonical roaring 1920s. One can face and overcome the flaws of the world by adhering to the laws of beauty. The spirit of an evening at the theatre and other aristocratic functions, emblematic of the turn of the century and art-deco, is implemented through the prism of a contemporary gaze, transforming colour-play, form, and texture into a multifaceted image, referencing to a pivotal fashion innovation brought to the global spotlight by Russian culture.
The collection’s impish and mischievous mood is built around constructivist art, modernism, and the world of sports. The viewer is introduced to new Ulyana Sergeenko heroines, confidently stepping forth into the aesthetic realm of the Soviet avant-garde painter Lyubov Popova’s artistic legacy. Pieces of her artworks can be recognised within lace corsets, embroidery patterns, and garment silhouettes.
The main symbol of the collection is the delicate hydrangea flower, which unfurls its petals upon elegant evening gowns, day-wear, determined linear geometrical motifs, flowing fabrics and forthright athletic metaphors – all exemplary of the fashion house’s signature abundance of details. A floral print appears in evening gowns as well as a men’s silk-jacquard shirt. Appliques, composed of flower arrangements made of multicoloured crystals and paillettes, decorate wool coats as well as airy silk dresses and jackets. Headpieces, brooches and boas remind one of a freshly picked hydrangea bouquet.
Furthermore, a new protagonist enters the house’s narrative: this year, a complete line of menswear looks debuts in the collection –from accessories to a two-piece suit. The pieces encompass the charming lustre of couture and the steadfastness of acquired taste down to the most miniscule details. The nonchalant nature of the menswear was inspired by none other than the remarkable adventurist Ostap Bender. The collection places a particular emphasis upon athletics. Whistle-shaped diamond-encrusted gold pendants establish a link between constructivist art and modern fashion. To strengthen this connection, the fashion house’s designers have created several types of men’s and women’s gloves, which reference sportswear models. Headpieces adopt not only the cascading crystal toilette of the 1920s, but also the silhouette of a swimming cap, bestrewn in an opulent finery of silk-petalled hydrangeas. Men’s and women’s footwear is inspired by vintage ice-skates. A clutch takes the form of a stylised, treasurable tennis racket encrusted with crystal flower arrangements and is paired with a mini-dress based on a tennis uniform. The sporting narrative extends to a knitted ‘sport instructor’ vest, seen in several menswear looks. The fashion house continues its longstanding collaboration with traditional ateliers, incorporating complex handcrafting techniques. Transparent, royal blue and emerald-green crystal details, created at the legendary Maltsov Crystal Factory in Gus’ Khrustalny and diamond-cut in tune with the collection’s linear motifs, adorn bustiers, corsets and hat closures. Yelets lace adornments, woven in floral patterns from gleaming metallic thread and crystals, decorate bustiers, corsets, and dresses. These embellishments are not limited only to details –a gown has been constructed entirely out of lace, requiring 2450 hours of work completed by 10 craftswomen.
In an ensemble with Russian craftforms, signature knitting techniques have been developed in the Ulyana Sergeenko atelier. A black dress and a two-tone peach and mint gown have been knitted from fine viscose thread and beads. An intricate method – hand-knitting silk ribbons, interweaving them with crystal beads –was used in the making of a coffee-toned men’s vest and an emerald-green dress; the dress involved 240 hours of manual labour and more than 30 thousand metres of silk webbing. One of the fashion house’s favourite accessories – the boa – returns this season, composed by hand from pompoms of varying sizes, reminiscent of a string of hydrangea blossoms or tennis balls. Each pompom consists of chiffon ribbons and feathers, and the petals are embellished with crystals.