Russian Designer Ulyana Sergeenko does it again with her Spring 2013 couture collection inspired by “The Wizard of OZ” and “Gone With the Wind” is romantically infused with fairy tale glamour. I say again because I also adored her Autumn/Fall 2011 lines. As well as heading off the Paris 2013 collections I featured last week. Her ability to add a retro nod to the modern day fairy tale appeals to the heroine in me.
Model: Vika Falileeva
Photographer: Nick Sushkevich
Location: Hotel De Crillon, Paris
Ulyana Sergeenko SS 2013 Couture Lookbook
“I’m the worst critic for myself and I never feel satisfied, I always feel it could have gone better,” Ulyana Sergeenko (pictured, above) says as she reflects on her second-ever Couture collection, which she showed in Paris last month. “I always want to go further.” To her credit, she’s only just getting started. Now with two seasons under her belt, the Russian street-style star turned designer is making her mark with her beautifully hand made, detailed clothes. That’s no easy task when you are up against age-old Couture houses like Valentino and Chanel. But Sergeenko is going about it all in her own Russian way, this time around weaving her culture into the American one she read about in classic novels as a young girl in the Soviet. CR talked to the Russian beauty about the Scarlett O’Hara of her imagination, the first Couture piece she ever owned, and what she’s eyeing from the Fall 2013 collections.
You have a very signature personal style. How did that evolve?
It’s inspired by lots of things, like the way my grandmother and mother dressed back in the Soviet times, the old movies I like, the books I read. I think if I had to pick two words to describe my personal style it would be ‘retro’ and ‘Russian.’ Retro because I like how elegant and feminine women looked in the past decades, and Russian because I love the country where I was born and its culture is a constant source of inspiration for me in terms of both personal style and work.
Were you ever a jeans and T-shirt kind of gal?
Well, in my case, jeans and t-shirt is a long floral dress. It’s very simple and comfy, made out of very nice, soft fabric, so basically it’s good for any occasion. I have it in a variety of colors—I wear it everywhere and almost every day.
It’s interesting that your Russian heritage is such a big part of your brand, but your latest collection also focused a lot on American culture. What prompted that?
When I was a child there were not many forms of entertainment and that is why all of my friends were reading a lot of books. They were a sort of getaway from everyday life—by reading you could transfer to and imaginary world, full of fantasies and adventures. The thing is that at Soviet times children actually read a lot of Western literature, like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Headless Rider, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Each girl on the catwalk at my show was how I imagined the characters (like Scarlett O’Hara and Tom Sawyer) while I was reading those stories. For me, the collection is about a Soviet child’s love of American literature.
What were the most ordered items from this collection?
The hand-painted wooden clutches, the green floor-length taffeta dress, the grey dress with the straw apron worn by Vlada Roslyakova, the black ‘priest’ dress with a pale pink underskirt and corset, and the white lace jumpsuit with black velvet mini-shorts decorated with straw embroidery.
I’m curious, what was the first piece of Couture you ever owned?
A black, vintage Givenchy Couture gown that I purchased at London’s flea market few years ago. It’s just gorgeous and it has such beautiful details.
What did you see at the Couture shows this season that you want to buy?
I loved the hats that Stephen Jones did for Dior. I’ve already ordered the one that was white at the show (but made in black). Also, I very much like the clear and black Valentino cape, the Gaultier backpack, and the Stephane Rolland trouser suit.
And as for the Fall 2013 ready-to-wear collections, what are you loving thus far?
From what I’ve seen, I very much like Thom Browne’s collection—very dramatic clothes and presentation. Also, all the pieces are of superb quality. The Oscar de la Renta show was also great, I went to both shows one after the other and I found the collection to be absolutely beautiful. I was also very happy to briefly see John Galliano at backstage before the show. Besides these, I like The Row collection, though I wasn’t at the show, the clothes (to me) epitomizes the idea of American chic—very classy and sophisticated.
You mentioned John Galliano, who I know you greatly admire. What other designers do you look up to?
I greatly admire the works of John Galliano and Azzedine Alaïa and have enormous respect for Miuccia Prada and Marc Jacobs