Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The "Dancing Dragon" Chinese Opera Head Dress Created In Celebration Of The "China: Through The Looking Glass" Exhibition in Metroplitan Museum Of Art.

 I have spent last several months completely submerged in extremely intense production schedule working on numerous very exciting projects, editorials, custom orders, new collection and, of course, teaching my Millinery School. Needless to say free time has been a great luxury I can no longer afford and this is exactly the reason as to why I was unable to frequently update my Blog. Today, however, I decided to share with you a very special head dress I named "Dancing Dragon". I have designed this head piece without any particular reason other than to challenge myself in creation of one of the most complicated, intricate head dresses in history of head wear: Chinese Opera Hat. While doing my preliminary research on the history of the magnificent Chinese Opera Headdresses I realized that traditionally all Chinese Opera Headdresses were done out of paper. Paper mache techniques used in creation of this headdresses are necessary to make sure that the weight of the headdress is somewhat manageable. Traditionally Chinese Opera Headdress have an array of different attachments which include suspended attachments of significant weight.
 Taking great concern of the weight issue in consideration I decided to try something extremely unusual - to make an attempt to construct the Chinese Opera Headdress operating Couture Millinery Techniques. Every year Metropolitan Museum Of Art holds a very special highly publicized exhibition focused on one specific theme in Fashion. When it was first announced that this year's Exhibition will be dedicated to Chinese influence in fashion, I though that it would be a great idea to celebrate the opening of the "China: Through The Looking Glass" Exhibit by creating a hat that I have been wanting to create for such a long time.
And so this is how the "Dancing Dragon" head dress came to life. It has been designed and created by me in my Millinery Atelier here in New-York. Just like all of my hats, "Dancing Dragon" hat was created entirely by hand to the highest standard of Couture Millinery. It took 7 weeks of production time. It features hundreds of  Swarovski crystals throughout the surface of the hat. It took over 50 yards of foiled cord to create hand embroidery. 1, 600 yards of pure silk thread were used to create side tassels on the side wings mounted to the hat. Two complicated hard wear attachments were created so that the core of the hat could sustain "side wings" extensions on each side. Very specific types of pom-poms  which, as some of you may know, are the focal point of Chinese opera head gear, have been recreated from boars hair and hand dyed first in ruby and than in fuchsia. This combination was applied to secure a perfect, very rich shade of deep Cardinal Red color. Very intricate spiral wire extensions have been created to hold oversized pearls suspended in the air. The "roof" of the hat has been designed to immolate the outline of Chinese pagoda roof tops. And, of course, golden dragon figure has been placed on top of the roof of the hat. The Dragon is holding  a "pearl of wisdom"  as a symbol of power, strength, and good luck for people who are worthy of it. Every production stage for "Dancing Dragon" head piece has been an experience. I don't think I will ever be able to express tremendous joy I felt once it was finished. :-) "China: Through The Looking Glass" Exhibit will open on May 7th of 2015 in Metropolitan Museum of Art. If you are in New-York I strongly recommend to visit. China has always been and still remains one of the most referred to artistic inspirations for many designers, including yours truly. :-)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My Atelier For Vogue China January 2015.

 It is always great to come back to Blogging in new year with another great editorial and so I am starting my 2015 with Vogue China January 2015 Issue featuring "The Survival Of The MousT Wanted" hat. I actually have been on the set with Vogue China for this one and can tell you this: nothing beats top professionals in business. The set designers, beauty team and stylists - loved meeting them all.  The entire editorial can be viewed right HERE. Blogging in general has become somewhat of a luxury to me since the time is just not there, but I am looking forward to resume my usual blogging schedule starting next week. I have so many things to share, I just wish I had more time to do it. I hope you all had wonderful Holiday Season !See you here next week. :-)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas And Happy Holidays From My Atelier With "Bisou-Bisou" Chapeaux!

 With Holiday Season in full swing and Christmas is just few short days away, I thought I would wish every one of you Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I chose  the "Bisou-Bisou" hat, created in my Atelier, to be the Holiday messenger for our outgoing Holiday Greetings sent to all corners of the World. :-) I hope your Holiday Season is full of joy, happiness, love, beautiful smiles, unforgettable surprises and, most importantly, surrounded by those you love. To me it is always about the expectation of a new beginning and a new miracle.I am a great believer miracles, you know... :-)
-"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so!? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more? "- Dr.Seuss

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

"Garnet Rouge" Hat, "Midsummer's Night Dream" Addition, SS2015 + Phenomenal Elena Bain.My Silk Flower Artist Recommendation.

 "Garnet Rouge" hat, I am introducing to you today, is the final hat of the "Midsummer's Night Dream" Addition, SS2015. For a while now I wanted to create a hat with signature colors of my Atelier: Garnet Red and Fuchsia. If you have been following my Blog for a while now you probably know how much I LOVE turbans. I think of turban as the Rolls-Royce of hats - chic, sophisticated, timeless, chapeaux with endless possibilities, dressed up or down - it always signifies the top of the line. I will choose turban any day over any other chapeaux. :-)
 When "Garnet Rouge" was first put on paper, I knew that the flower gracing it would have to be something absolutely amazing. It had to be velvet and it had to incorporate several shades of red on the head of the flower itself and had to have very special shadowing from light pink into fuchsia into black (to enhance the effect) on the leafs of the rose. It had to be bold, oversized, exaggerated, shameless in a way, in your face, but also graceful, fun, extraordinary.
 The Art of making flowers in Millinery is a separate direction. It goes beyond of your average choices you see widely available via Internet and various haberdashery stores from New-York to London. I almost never feel inspired by those choices. To me they all seem flat, limited in color, the shapes are predominantly deficient and always limited to ordinary designs, too commerical. I always seek much more in terms of just a flower and for my previous Collection my search led me as far as to Paris where for many years now beautiful hands of Legeron  worked to bring my designs to life. Nothing brings me more joy than seeing my designs come to life  under the magic spell of Legeron elves. This time, my search led me all the way to Switzerland.
 It is in Switzerland I found extraordinary Elena Bain - rare and true Silk Flower Artist who was capable of bringing my design to life. I am very difficult in production, I do not settle easily, I make on-going changes in the process, I demand precision and high quality, I am ruthless when it comes to the integrity of the design and so I am always overjoyed when I meet someone who has the same high standards. You know that I never ever run promotions on this Blog. If I choose to make recommendation to you it means I stand by the quality of the service. Not only Elena is capable of creating very specific, custom design like it was in my case, but she also has developed an amazing Collection of flower making tutorials on DVD. The tutorials are truly outstanding and I will recommend this tutorials to any of my students any time. You can find them right HERE. Simply look through the collection of what she has to offer and I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
And so in a few words, I love creating hats in my Atelier, but I also love fantastic collaborations which produce fabulous results like it happened with "Garnet Rouge". One of my favorite turbans I created to this date. I hope you like it and I hope you are enjoying your Holiday Season!:-)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

My Atelier For Lady Gaga Once Again. "Christmas At The Rockefeller Center", Christmas Tree Lighting Performance With Tony Bennett in NYC.

It looks like yesterday we had an amazing Lady Gaga Momentum with two custom ordered hats I created for Lady Gaga: red leather "Phantom" hat made huge waves earlier in the day and brought astonishing amount of publicity just with in few short hours after Lady Gaga wore it to her appearance with Tony Bennett at "Good Morning America". I wrote a brief post about it yesterday. :-) Yesterday night, I have to be honest, I was caught off guard while watching Christmas Tree lighting ceremony in NYC at the Rockefeller Center and saw Lady Gaga, once again, wearing another custom ordered hat in white fur carefully designed in my Atelier to match the spirit of the look. I knew she will wear it, but did not know exactly when.  And than, of course, the possibility of her changing her mind is always there: after all  - it is Lady Gaga. So, in reality, I never count credits for anything until I see it in print with my own eyes. And what an appearance it was! Not only did she look absolutely stunning in all white gown designed by Brandon Maxwell and fabulous fitted matching white fur hat by your truly, but the performance itself was so powerful and soulful. It felt like the Magic of Christmas is here - a reminder I desperately needed since the hours and rhythm of production have been absolutely insane for the past several weeks. It is an indescribable feeling, a new millinery high for me to see the effort, long hours, determination pay off in such an amazing way. What a privilege it is to be trusted by the styling team of one of the great performers on the planet and be given an absolute freedom to design hats that are destined to make history... What an amazing year it has been! Truly spectacular!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

My Atelier For Lady Gaga. The "Phantom" Hat.

Super excited to see Lady Gaga wearing the "Phantom" red leather hat I have worked on, today for her appearance in "Good Morning America" with Tony Bennett. The "Phantom" hat was designed by custom order and I absolutely love the way it looks paired with monochromic red leather jumpsuit designed by Brandon Maxwell and red leather shoes by Giuseppe Zanotti. There are some days I love my job even more and today is one of those days. :-) At this point I am not able to disclose the creative process on this project due to the Confidentiality agreement I have been asked to sign. You can trust me when I say, the experience from the beginning to the end has been extraordinary on so many levels! One thing I would like to share with you as a preliminary fashion drawing of the "Phantom" hat I have created with the help of my "hands" when it comes to putting my vision down on paper, Leonid Gurevich. "Phantom" drawing is another fantastic addition to my vast fashion drawing Collection to this date!:-)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

"Rouge Cardinal" Hat, "Midsummer's Night Dream" Addition, SS2015

 Every season I find myself literally obsessed with one single color. Red, also known as "Cardinal" red on the color chart of red shades became a color I chose to be in love with this season. "Rouge Cardinal" hat I am introducing to you today have been created by accident - I fell in love with the color first and than decided to experiment with a new technique of creating feathers out of leather. There was no initial plan for "Rouge Cardinal", no preliminary sketches, not even an idea on what would it end up looking. The result. however, surpassed all expectations.
 There are some hats that are born out of function and than there are hats that are born out of pure fantasy. "Rouge Cardinal" is a perfect example of it. Painstakingly difficult in production, stubborn, hard to manage and hard to control, but what a beauty! I have learned time ago that some hats are especially difficult to photograph. No matter how much effort you put into it often hats fade away on the images while looking fabulous in real life. "Rouge Cardinal" photographed exceptionally well all due to the fact that Cardinal Red is not the only color which was incorporated into the hat. I know it is difficult to see on the images but if you were to inspect hat closely you would notice lighter and darker shades of burgundy and even a subtle note of violate hue - all contributed to the final result
 I received tremendous response on "Rouge Cardinal" during my "Ghost Gardens"  Collection Presentation at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Everyone seemed to be infatuated with this hat, some of my colleagues who came to see my presentation could not get over the shier work scope on this hat along! And so here it is, photographed by Ed Hafizov, Styled by yours truly, Make Up by Roshar, Model - Marina Verbenska. Its moments like this, when I see editorial images of each hat I realize with clarity how much really I love what I do!
 Wishing everyone wonderful week ahead! While the Atelier continues to be extremely busy with production, I am looking forward to Holiday Season. It is hard to believe that Christmas is only few short weeks away!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The "Silverfall " Hat of "Midsummer's Night Dream" Addition, SS2015

 Once in a while I get carried away. "Silverfall" head piece is a perfect example of it. The challenge of creating drama while working with what is traditionally thought of as compact property - hats, has always been unbelievably attractive to me and I take full advantage of it. "Silverfall" is a sister hat to one of the most requested  by editors hat titled "Silverlake" which I created a while ago for my "Sanctum" Collection. You can see it right HERE. Only true milliner will understand the challenges presented by the design which has large volume of feathers. 20 to be exact when it comes to "Silverfall".
 Color combination of greys and pastel pinks always felt sublime to me and for a while now I wanted to create the head piece infused with this pallet, the head piece that would carry over not only the theme it was inspired by ("Midsummer's Night Dream" play ) but also would create a powerful presence. To me "Silverfall" is an ultimate millinery fantasy removed from the concern of  purpose and function. How lucky am I to be able to work beyond what is necessary and instead indulge, treat myself to creating something simply for the beauty of it...
 The entire "Midsummer's Night Dream" Addition has been a privilege to work with. The "Ghost Gardens" Collection took a second place to it although originally "Ghost Gardens'" was the core of what I have presented for SS2015. This editorial has been styled by me (which believe me has not been easy at all), photographed by Ed Hafizov, Make Up by Roshar, Model - Marina Verbenska. A beautiful month of November is coming to an end. I am wishing all of you beautiful Thanksgiving and will see you back here next week with another beautiful chapeaux I have created for "Midsummer's Night Dream" Addition.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

"Lady Noir" Chapeau , "Midsummer's Night Dream" Addition, "Ghost Gardens" Collection SS2015.

 "Lady Noir" is a new hat of "Midsummer's Night Dream" Addition I decided to introduce to you today. As much as love working with color, I still think that there is nothing more powerful in terms of delivering dramatic image than beautifully made black hat. I have mentioned before how difficult it can be to photograph black hats and I had my share of very disappointing results when it comes this. "Lady Noir" however is a different story.
 "Lady Noir" is a hat-reflection of the extraordinary writing of the play. Once I was done reading and rereading it, I tried to imagine how the night in the Forrest full of magical creatures would look and "Lady Noir" is it. One of my friends, who saw the entire addition of "Midsummer's Night Dream" when it was still in production pointed out to me that " Lady Noir" reminded him of the Unknown Lady from the poem by Alexander Block. I can only explain it by the simple fact that my Russian blood somehow speaks through the creative process. In any case, "Lady Noir" is one of my favorite hats for many reasons, but beyond that, because anyone who is looking at it will draw their own visual association. :-)
 Created and styled by Anya Caliendo, Photographed by Ed Hafizov, Make Up by Roshar, Model - Marina Verbenska.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The "Awake" Hat, "Midsummer's Night Dream" Addition, SS2015

 The entire "Midsummer's Dream Night" addition to my "Ghost Gardens" Collection has been nothing but a joy to work with. Each hat designed for this addition presented not only a significant technical challenge but also became a result of a very strong inspiration influence. Each hat of the "Ghost Gardens" is my favorite hat including the "Awake" hat I am debuting today on my Blog. The entire series had me dreaming about hats that would awake ones glamorous fantasy, that moment when you left breathless out of appreciation of shier beauty.
 I am asked many times over why not to post the process of the creation of the hat from the beginning to end. I am told people would love to see how it all works. Maybe one day I will, but for now I strongly believe that revealing the process of creation is almost like showing a lady who is always very cautious of her appearances  without make up and hair done. For me the creation of the hat is always a very intimate process, a process when technical moments, often very unattractive in nature, are capable of destroying the perception of what final result should be. No one needs to know the mechanics of fantasy: it must look effortless, chic, carefree. I often tell my students that the final vision of the hat emerges only in the last 5% of production. Until then it is endless stitching, demanding wire work, shreds of fabric and feathers, damaged fingers... Well, lets just say I am not brave enough yet to show up-close and in detail the very intimate process of the creation of the hat.
 I will repeat once and again: I am incredibly proud of my work. Looking back at my very first post on this Blog dating almost 6 years now, I feel I have come a long way both when it comes to my technical range to the way I style my photo shoots and present my Collection. It is a labor of blood, sweat, tears and love. The formula that works best for me. This and the fact that I have incredible team of people working by my side to secure the result. This series of images have been styled by me, photographed by the phenomenal Ed Hafizov, make-up by Roshar, model - Marina Verbenska. Wishing everyone great week ahead. I, for once, completely lost sense of time and have been submerged into production routing for weeks now. There are few fantastic projects in works and I am looking forward to sharing them with you very soon. :-)