Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ballet: Divine Inspiration.Anna Pavlova.

(Hat "Anna Pavlova" designed by me in my Atelier for the Collection "Je Ne Regrette Rien", 2008. Photographed by Zorz Studios.)
I have to say that Ballet was always one of the sources of great inspiration for me both in my work and in my life. My first recollection of Ballet goes back to the age of 3 when my Mother brought me to the Big Theatre to see "Swan Lake" for the very first time. I remember being completely mesmerized by the performance, music, dancers and, of course, costumes. I fell in love with the Ballet itself and became a very frequent visitor to the Theater.
(Hat "Anna Pavlova" designed by me in my Atelier for The Collection "Je Ne Regrette Rien", St. Regis Hotel, New York 2008. Photographed by Zorz Studios)
Not only did I see every single Ballet performance for every Season for the next 10 years, I have begged my Mother to buy me pointe shoes so that I could, at least, pretend to be one of the chosen ones - ballerinas. Pointe Shoes were a treasure that could not be obtained so easily in my country, but, somehow, my Mother was able to make my dream come true.
( Editorial Hat "Farewell: Tribute to Ekaterina Maksimova", in dedication to Legendary Prima-Ballerina of Russian Ballet who passed away several weeks ago. I have designed this hat as part of my latest Collection "Russia Divine.Tribute")
They were perfect: stain in beautiful dusty pink color, they smelled like new leather and fabric. I remember putting them on for the first time - the moment of overwhelming joy, pure happiness.
Although I was "not built for being ballerina", my sister was the lucky one! I have watched her training endlessly to the point of blisters and tears. She ate, slept, watched TV, she lived in pointe shoes. With unimaginable dedication she polished to perfection "arabesque penchée". Once, while perfecting it she knocked out of the ceiling my mother's proud possession - crystal chandelier!:-)))
I am not the only one, of course, who is inspired by Russian ballet.Coco Chanel, for example, was known for creating divine costumes for the Serge Diaghilev's Ballet. She was not only the designer of the costumes but also very close friend and confidante of Diaghilev. In 2009 extraordinary Karl Lagerfeld in continuation of the tradition, designed spectacular costume of Prima- ballerina for the ‘The Dying Swan’ part of the English National Ballet’s main performance, the ‘Ballets Russes’ season at Sadler’s Wells theatre in London.
Harper's Bazaar UK, June 2009 had fantastic article about the history of Diaghilev's Seasons, friendship with Coco and, among other beautiful pictures, I especially enjoyed the picture of Chanel dress for Russian ballerina Elena Glurdjidze.
Reportedly, it took more than 100 hours and thousands of feathers to assemble divine costume of "Dying Swan". Needless to say - everything was done by hand only!
I simply have to say several words about the name behind the hat I created for "Je Ne Rgerette Rien" - Anna Pavlova. She is regarded as one of the most famous and popular classical ballet dancers in history and was most noted as a Principal artist of the Imperial Russian Ballet and the Ballets Russes of Serge Diaghilev. Pavlova is most recognised for the creation of the role "The Dying Swan" and with her own company, would become the first ballerina to tour ballet around the world.
Anna Pavlova was born in 1881 in Ligovo, a suburb of St. Petersburg, then the capital of the Russian Empire. Her mother was an impoverished laundress named Lyubov Pavlova. The identity of her father has been open to debate.
Anna's passion for the art of ballet was sparked when her mother took her to a performance of Marius Petipa's original production of "The Sleeping Beauty" at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre. The lavish spectacle made a profound impression on the young Pavlova, and at the age of eight her mother took her to audition for the renowned Imperial Ballet School. She was rejected due to her age and for what was considered to be a "sickly" physique, but she was finally accepted at the age of ten in 1891.
Pavlova's years at the Imperial Ballet School were difficult. Ballet technique did not come easily to the young Pavlova. Her extremely arched feet, thin ankles, and long limbs clashed with the small, compact body which was at that time in favor for the ballerina. Her fellow students taunted her with such nicknames as "The broom" and La petite sauvage. Undeterred, Pavlova trained relentlessly to improve her technique.
While touring in Netherlands, Pavlova was told that she had pleurisy and needed an operation. She was also told that she would never be able to dance again if she had this operation so she refused to have the operation saying "If I can't dance then I'd rather be dead." Three weeks later she died of pleurisy, three weeks short of her 50th birthday. She was holding her costume from "The Dying Swan" when she spoke her last words: "Play the last measure very softly."...

In accordance with old ballet tradition, on the day she was to have next performed, the show went on as scheduled, with a single spotlight circling an empty stage where she would have been. Memorial services were held in the Russian Orthodox Church in London. Anna Pavlova was cremated, and her ashes placed in a columbarium at Golders Green Crematorium, where her urn was subsequently adorned with her ballet shoes...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Closet Confidential: Shoe Obsession. I Will Never Be Cured!

Something very extraordinary happened over this past weekend. After almost 16 weeks of waiting, my beautiful French vintage shoe display case has, finally, arrived directly from France! I have spotted it a while ago in one of the auction houses and immediately new that I have to have this Diva of a display in my bedroom.Divine, pearl-gray - a perfect background for showcasing my beautiful shoe collection. I spent my entire Sunday in my closet going through stocks of shoe boxes trying to decide which of my precious shoes get to be displayed as tiny masterpieces. Well, it felt like I went shopping all over again - I simply forgot how many fabulous pairs of shoes I had. :-)))

When in 2005 Emmanuel Ungaro revealed his Spring/Summer Collection, I, literally, forgot how to breath. I had to have those fabulous sky high jeweled platforms. They are even more beautiful in person. And so I got them in teal-green...
And in amethyst violet and in cream& gold too!!! I wore them every Summer since 2005.
I absolutely had to have this blue satin Manolo Blahnik pumps after seeing "Sex And The City" in the company of my shoe-obsessed girlfriend. Fortunately, Neiman Marcus had the only size available and it turned out to be my size! Talk about singes from above :-)))
In 2006, I entirely lost my sleep over new at the time confection courtesy of Louboutin. Zeppa platforms. I adore, adore, ADORE them! I have them in yellow and pink and in blue and silver combination.Louboutin Zeppa platforms were included in the famous exhibition of Louboutin creations displayed in FIT in New York.

The minute I saw legendary Prada Fairy Collection I knew, I would simply die if I would not have my Prada Fairy shoes. I have been lucky and pre-ordered them directly from Prada in London.
My red Prada Fairy shoes came as unexpected surprise from my husband for my Birthday.
And, of course, my fabulous lace overlay Louboutin pumps - I got to wear them only twice so far, but they are one of my favorite pairs in my shoes collection.
This is my almost everyday-all-time-most-favorite pair of nude with french lace overlay ALAIA wedges. I fell in love with them so much, that I had to get three pairs of them (just in case) to last me a long, long time.
And this is my latest addition - divine pearl-gray suede YSL Tribute pumps.Very rare and difficult to find. Imagine my utter excitement when I saw a perfect new pair of YSl Tributes up for auction on Ebay. I fought like a lioness and I won!:-))) They will go so perfectly with my Nina Ricci gray sweater and my long silk Rick Owens gray draped skirt. I am, actually looking forward to upcoming Fall season this year more than ever!
For me the obsession with shoes will , probably, never stop.As far as I am concerned all the girl need to feel truly chic is a great pair of shoes and a fabulous hat !
To be continued...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Have You Ever Had Your Heart Broken? Unexpected Romance In Hats.

Just as her life seam to, finally, become pleasant and comfortable in its elegant routine and future promised nothing but delightful things...He walked into her life unexpectedly and very as a matter of fact while she was reading "Madame Bovary" over her morning coffee. He asked if she happened to see his car keys he thought he left on the table next to her. Dark olive skin, brown eyes, charming white smile and beautiful hands. French, apparently.
(Hat "Bonjour" created by me in my Atelier (Collection "Je Ne Regrette Rien"2008.) Photographed by Zorz Studios.)
Wasn't he what she would perceive just an hour ago as "huge red flag in beautifully tailored pants" or "the precise recipe for disaster"? It all did not matter, because for the next 7 days they were inseparable. They took carriage rides around Central park, had lunch at Bergdorf's and Giorgio's, they dined in the middle of the night in charming little restaurants...He bought her brilliant red lipstick (Dior) and she wore it every day. Her habbit of leaving lipstick marks on his neck made him smile...
(Hat "Au Revoir" designed by me (Collection "Je Ne Regrette Rien 2008), photographed by Zorz Studio")
He left early Monday, saying he will call as soon as his plane will land in Paris. He promised to come back in a week. The week passed by. Than another and another. He never called and he never came back. In a desperate attempt to get an answer she sent a letter to Paris.
Editorial hat "Love Story" designed by me in my Atelier(Collection "Je Ne Regrette Rien", 2008), photographed by Zorz Studios)
The letter came back stamped - "Address Unknown... "

Editorial Hat "Love Story" designed by me in my Atelier (Collection "Je Ne Regrette Rien" 2008), photographed by Zorz Studios.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pearl Of Wisdom Worth Reading Delivered By Vogue.

I will be turning 35 this year. Something I look forward to very much without regrets, any regrets whatsoever! In light of this very fashionable number I was especially thrilled to come upon this brilliant pearl of wisdom from Vogue UK July 2009 I would like to share with you:
" It took American women a while, but we've finally taken on board a certain truth. How we FEEL about ourselves has more than a little to do with how we care about ourselves. And that most definitely includes how we dress. Style isn't imposed on us by the Establishment. It's a daily affirmation of, well, our joie de vivre. We are each a painted butterfly, with different pattern on our wings. The concept that adornment can engender well-being is especially good news for everyone older than, say, oh 29. It's never been more true that you are only as old as you feel. You don't have to resign yourself to a life of tastefully restrained suits the minute you pass 35. You don't have to hide your Punk-Rock light under a bushel because you are over 50. Does this mean the average grand-mere should reveal her legs in walking shorts? Obviously not. Honest self-critique goes a long way! However, any women can translate the runway trends to her own benefit today. The best fashion - finally, honestly, FOR REAL this time - truly is ageless !"

Monday, July 20, 2009

11 And A Half Things That Make My Style Unique.

(Hats by Stephen Jones for Vogue 2006)
I believe that the sense of Style is a gift which can never be learned. I believe that one can not be stylish by choice because Style is absolute - you either live your life with the sense of Style in everything you do, either you don't. Federico Fellini once said: " Live your life spherically, in many different directions and only then would it be possible to achieve an ultimate goal of living to the full potential of your being." And so I try...
1. My mornining starts at 5:30 a.m with my routine 4 mile run. I run rain or shine, in the Fall, Summer, Winter and Spring. I especially enjoy running in the snow.( Wearing Stella McCartney's sports wear for adidas helps!!!)

2. I always surround myself with beauty. Nothing insipres me more than clusters of flower bouquets. I order them every week: white roses, peonies, violets - they are everywhere: in my Atelier, in my studio and all over my house.
3. You will probably smile, but I do have precious china cups for each and very one of my moods.I drink my morning cup of coffee enjoying every drop of it in preparations of another fabulous day ahead of me.
Hats created by my Atelier "French Chocolate" and "Mademoiselle" (Part of the Collection "Je Ne Regrette Rien"). Editorial photo for my Atelier. Hats modeled by my daughter Anastasia on the left and Model Iryna Mazur on the left.

4. I love hats! I create hats and, more importantly, I wear hats I create.I am my own biggest fan. Hats posses a tremendous power of transformation, they create not only a unique style, but also an air of mystique around you...People react to it in the most unexpected, fabulous ways.

5. I can not imagine my life without Ballet. It has been a big part of my life ever since I can remember. It inspired me in so many different ways( I will write more about this topic in a separate post, of course). It doesn't matter if I am in New York, London or Moscow - first place I visit is Ballet Theater.

6. For the past few years I have been training during Summer months only to obtain my pilots license. My instructor tells me I would need another 25 hours in supervised navigation in the air before I could fly solo (nothing big, just a small single engine plane) . With any luck I will be a licensed pilot by next Fall!

7. There is something beyond romance between two that comes with taking lessons in Argentinian Tango. My husband and I are enjoying it tremendously. Not to mention fabulous fishnets, black velvet dancing shoes and high slit tight dress I get to wear for my Tango lessons.
8. Thankfully, I have managed to quit smoking many years ago. But even though this seductive habit is far in the past, I still allow myself to enjoy a grate cigar once in a while.

(Vogue UK, July 2005)
9. I breath Fashion. It is a big part of my life. Not only do I live my life in Fashion, I have a privilege of creating it. I posses one of the largest privet collections of Fashion books including every single issue of Vogue since 1999.
10. Despite the demands of every day life I refuse to stop wearing sky high heels! Every pair of shoes I own is a story with in itself: doesn't matter if it is Prada Fairy Shoes, divine pearl gray YSL Tribute pumps or spectacular jeweled creations by Ungaro.

11. I am definitely a LANVIN girl ! I simply can not get enough of Lanvin. Largest part of my wardrobe consists of creations by Lanvin in every jeweled tone possible . They are always so elegant an so very chic.

****Note on the side**** I am never late! Even if it means fashionably late. :-)))

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Best Kept Secret In Haute Couture: Maison Legeron!

Not so many of you know the name of Est Legeron - unique Couture Atelier located in the heart of Paris I had a privilege to work with on several occasions. So, let me introduce to you - Maison Legeron, who has been supplying the world of Haute Couture with handcrafted silk flowers for decades. Having crafted creations for Haute Couture clients such as Dior, Courreges, Ungaro, Legeron creates divine handmade flowers in feathers and silk to decorate any imaginable outfit or any accessory.
Maison Legeron was found in 1880 during a period when fashion commonly called for silk flowers. Towards the end of Second World War there were hundreds of independent flower-makers in Paris...
Today Legeron stands as the last of its kind. Still, a family run Atelier, Maison Legeron is managed today by the founder's great grandson and creations of the Divine Atelier continue to be handcrafted using traditional methods.
Legeron's brilliant masterpieces graced not only designs of Haute Couture Houses, but also costumes of " Marie Antoinette"...
The meticulous process of creating the flower shape is extremely time-consuming as the petals are colored, shaped and assembled one by one with an extreme attention to every little detail.
The beauty and impeccable craftsmanship of each flower made by Legeron is beyond spectacular!Each one of them is a unique example of the exquisite pieces that Maison Legeron creates.
In an industry that is severely in the decline as craftspeople are not replaced by new talent, it is important to promote the work of these skilled artists.Legeron continues to master the traditional techniques that the house was found on. However, that is the skills that are in danger of disappearing. Fortunately, as the demands for handcrafted luxury continues to grow, it is these little gems of Haute Couture that are sure to be blooming out of Paris for many decades to come.
"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" - Shakespeare.