Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Farewell To The Glorious 2009! (And One Very Special Interview)

I have received this gorgeous drawing back in August of this year and would like to, once again, say THANK YOU to the wonderful and so very talented artist Kat of Pencilfashion Blog who made this drawing for my Atelier. Don't you just love this fabulous hat? Kat, you are an inspiration and I am so thrilled to have you as a friend...As 2009 is almost over I felt that proper farewell is in order. It was a wonderful, glorious year and it was very generous to me: I have launched my second Collection "Russia Divine.Tribute.", I have been invited to work with one of the legendary names in the industry- Stephen Jones (Hats So Much, Steven :-) ) and was lucky to have an opportunity to make hats for the Collections of Jason Wu, Donna Karan, Kinder Aggugini, Comme Des Garcons and John Galliano. I have been blessed with loving, supportive family who kept me going through the months of often very demanding schedule in London. I have also started this Blog and came to know and become friends with so many talented and extraordinary people :-). I wish to all of you peace and prosperity, love and happiness in the New 2010! I have a feeling it is going to be a magical year! :-)
2009 was also a milestone for me. It marked 10 years since I left Russia in search of a better life and American Dream just like thousands of immigrants before me. 10 years since I had to start my life all over again. I have found more than I ever hoped for. Since the launch of my debut Collection "Je Ne Regrette Rien" in 2008, I had a privilege of giving several interviews to various publications, as well as making hats for several fashion editorials (more details later). One of the most special interviews for me was the interview for my home town magazine "Where Minsk" which was published in September issue.
I know many of you do not speak Russian and will not be able to read it, but I thought I would post it anyway. It seems like a great way to put a period mark to the decade full of struggles and victories, the decade that change me in so many ways and gave me so much! It felt GREAT! 10 years later to give an interview to the magazine in the city I grew up, loved and had to leave. It felt great to be back. :-)
It made my Mom so very proud! :-) I would like to say thank you to the journalist Victoria Naymova who worked with me on this interview for being so diligent, professional and understanding...Happy New Year to all! Until next year everybody!:-)
Front Cover of the "Where Minsk" magazine, Spetember 2009.
Back Cover of the "Where Minsk" magazine, September 2009.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Oh, Sooooo Sad ! :-( My poor Miss Lanvin...

I am heartbroken! My beautiful Miss Lanvin Doll, the one I wanted most of all and waited for such a long time has, finally, arrived all the way from Lanvin boutique in Paris.
I thought of this Miss Lanvin as the most magical out of all Lanvin Dolls. She is so me! :-)
It arrived early last morning broken into thousands of little pieces. I was inconsolable! :-(
The replacement Lanvin Doll is on its way and this time,I hope, Postal Carrier will be more careful! The Doll is absolutely spectacular, even more beautiful in person, but I feel so sad that this one is broken...poor Miss Lanvin.
I decided, that instead of throwing it out (like it was suggested by the sales person) I will make a hat using the pieces from the broken Miss Lanvin . I will give it a second life, this idea makes me smile :-).

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas To All! And The Winner Of My Spectacular Christmas Give Away Is ....

"I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys." ~Charles Dickens.

I would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas! Hope your Holiday Season is filled with magic and joy. I am also very excited to announce that the winner of my Spectacular Christmas Give Away is amazing The Gossamer Tearoom . Congratulations, darling Betty. Please, contact me with your shipping address at .:-)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Making Hats For Donna Karan And Kinder Aggugini Spring-Summer 2010. London Part 2.

One of my most favorite projects this Fall was working on fantastically funky, huge, almost grotesque hats for Kinder Aggugini Spring-Summer 2010. Kinder Aggugini is a 42-year old Italian and a graduate of the Central Saint Martin's , based in London. He is regarded as the "international man of mystery" and was often called the "ghost" designer that is until his fist Collection premiered last Season. The reason is - Kinder Aggugini has been a creative force behind the scenes at major labels including Versace and Vivienne Westwood, not to mention the fact that Kinder is a former apprentice to John Galliano.
I loved the fact that Aggugini based this collection on the Grimm Brothers' fairy tales and motives of "Alice in Wonderland". When I first saw the sketches(done by Mr.Jones) of what he had in mind for Kinder's Collection, I admit, I got a little bit scared. Number one rule when it comes to any design - the proportions are everything. Clearly, any mistake with the size of the hats in this case was not an option due to the volume of fabric used for each hat and, of course, time concerns. Fabrics for the hats ware created on the spot in Mr. Jones Atelier. Then, the mock-up of the single hat was created for the first fitting to make sure that this is exactly what Kinder Aggugini had envisioned for his Collection.
It always amazes me how much construction, calculations and mechanical thought goes into creating spectacular hat. It was exactly the case with hats for Kinder Aggugini: we had to make sure that models would not drawn in this hats, that the hats are not too heavy, that the fabric would not collapse and would properly hold the shape. It was not an easy production, I got millions of pins under my nails, but once Collection premiered on September 19Th in London it totally rocked the runway. I absolutely fell in love with Kinder's Collection. I should, probably, mention that I have a weak spot for Chantilly lace and polka dots! Bravo to Kinder!:-)
As you may know by now, Donna Karan's Spring-Summer 2010 Collection was included in the list of Top 10 best Collections presented internationally for the Spring-Summer 2010 Season. I was, personally, very excited to have this great chance to work on hats for Donna Karan. I always thought of her Collections to be very "wearable chic".
When the fabrics for hats sent from New York arrived, I knew, that this is going to be a very special Collection: pearl greys and creams, very airy and light, I practically could not wait to see what Mr.Jones would come up with for Donna Karan. When the sketches were in, it became apparent that we are creating hats "spirited away", as I called them.The idea was to create an effect of wind blown hat as if the model wearing it had just encountered a stiff breeze on the runway.
There was no traditional blocking for this hats, instead, precisly calculated and measured wire structures went in place. Afterwards, the fabric was carefully draped over each wire structure. Draping is always very time consuming process. There is no such thing as an unimportant fold or pleat - everything has to be done just right.
Unfortunately, despite great reviews for the Collection itself, Mr.Jones hat designs didn't get good reviews from American editors. For example, review by Nicole Phelps stated that "...those Stephen Jones hats looked like deflated clouds..." . Well, Ms. Phelps, I respectfully disagree. I enjoyed every bit of working on this beautiful hats :-)))) Will never be able to fully describe how great it feels to see fantastic end result after many hours of hard work.
Donna Karan Spring-Summer 2010
Donna Karan Spring-Summer 2010, New York
Donna Karan Spring-Summer 2010, New York

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dear Peter Copping And All The Wonderful People At Nina Ricci!


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday In The City And The Best Christmas Windows Of 2009!

Every year around Christmas time my girlfriends and I set aside a very special Sunday when we meet each other for lunch in the City to exchange gifts, news, have some martinis, a little bit of gossip and, of course, to shop! We have done it for so many years now that it seams that Christmas Season is not really complete without this very special Sunday.I love my girls. I feel so grateful to have my fantastic and very talented girlfriends Isabella, Adel, Tamara, Lucia and Nicky in my life. And so today we had lunch at Frederick's - beautiful little place on Madison Avenue I would highly recommend to anybody! After lunch we spent countless hours shopping for the rest of the gifts and marveling at spectacular Christmas decorations. There is nothing like New York at Christmas Time! :-)
One of my most favorite things during Christmas Season is to window shop. I always find the most spectacular window displays at Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdales and Tiffanies. There are so magical and festive, they bring so much joy and beauty into the Season!I thought it would be a great idea to share with you pictures of the Christmas dispalys in New York City. I am terrible at taking pictures, but fortunately I came across pictures of the Holiday dispalys in New York 2009 done by very talented photographer Laurence Forcione. I hope your Holiday Season is filled with magic and happiness :-). Please, do not forget to enter my Christmas give away and until next time everybody!:-)
Window at Bloomingdales
Window At Bloomingdales
Window At Bergdorf Goodman
Window At Ralf Lauren
Window At Bergdorf Goodman
Window At Saks Fifth Avenue
Window At Tiffany
Window At Tiffany
Windows At Bergdorf Goodman

Window At Barneys New York
Window At Barneys New York

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Announcing Spectacular Christmas Give Away! :-)

Christmas was and still is the most magical time of the year for me: invitations to the most beautiful parties, gift shopping in New York, catching up with old friends, a sea of Christmas cards, pomegranate martinies, Christmas tree ceremony at my house and, of course, spending time with my family. I still have very difficult time believing that 2009 is almost over. It has been a fantastic year and I do have so many things to be genuenly grateful for! The best part of any Christmas Season for me is always giving gifts to the friends, loved ones and very special people in my life. And, so, It is with great pleasure that I announce spectacular Christmas give away - French perfume "Grand Amour" by Annick Goutal in exquisite butterfly top bottle.
I have to say that perfumes by Annick Goutal are one of my guilty pleasures. Words can not describe the experience of being able to hold beautiful bottle filled with the most incredible essence. "Grand Amour" is a sensuous harmony of sweet hyacinth, lily, and honeysuckle and one of my favorite aromas in my very own privet collection of Annick Goutal perfumes.
The minute I stepped into Annick Goutal boutique in Paris this October, I lost track of time. At the end, after what seem to be hours and hours of extraordinary experience shopping for my new Winter scent, I walked away with several bottles of precious perfume. This Christmas Season I would like to give, you, my wonderful friends, a chance to own one of them.
All you need to do is to leave your comment under this post. You are more than welcome to share what your Christmas Season is like :-))). The lucky winner will be announced on Christmas. Enjoy your wonderful Christmas Season everybody!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Making Hats For Jason Wu Spring-Summer 2010 Collection. London Part 1.

The most amazing part of this Fall for me was the fact that I had a chance to make hats for many incredible designers who presented their Collections for Spring-Summer 2010 during Fashion Weeks in New York, London and Paris. The experience of being a part of the most talented production team in Mr. Jones Atelier in London was both exhilarating and scary. I simply could not believe that from the very first day of my apprenticeship I was trusted to work on the production of often very challenging hats. One of the first tasks, was to make hats for the new Spring Summer 2010 Collection for Jason Wu.
I thought it was interesting that I had to travel thousands of miles to London to find myself working on hats for one of the American Designers. I always thought that American Designers operating in New York had milliners they could turn to without having to place orders all the way across the Ocean. The fact that Jason Wu had to order his hats in London was very telling, but this is entirely different topic for a later discussion. From the day the order was placed the pressure was on. Mr. Jones, I thought, created fantastic sketches, but what surprised me was the choice of material. #1 discovery when it comes to Mr. Jones is his phenomenal capability to come up with mind blowing designs with in a blink of an eye. It felt as if God whisperes it in his ear. # 2 discovery - is the fact the Mr.Jones had no limits whatsoever when it came to the choice of materials. This fact would surprise me over and over again when we would later start working on the Collections for Kinder Aggugini, John Galliano and Comme Des Garcons.
I found out first hand how difficult is is to free yourself of boundaries of traditional education in design. On one hand, traditional techniques in millinery are extraordinarily important, they are safe and tested by centuries of evolution in hat design. By following them you guaranteed to make a hat to the highest standard of Couture. On the other hand - following traditional rules in millinery without pushing boundaries can set you for a life time of making perfectly made "boring" hats. The secret for being a true milliner lays in perfecting ballance between fantastic hat design and brilliant technical exectution. And so when it was announced that the choice of fabric is Crin, I admit, I had my doubts.
Crin happens to be one of my list favorite materials: difficult in handling, fragile and extremely prone to fraying. I would never think of using it and would, probably, go with stiffened silk tulle instead. We had a little bit over three days before hats to be completed and shipped and, of course, Crin could not care less about time concerns. For me it was a bit of a struggle: invisible stitching (I thought I perfected that skill, I was wrong) in combination with attaching Crin to the wire structures proved to be a difficult task. Despite all of it, I will never be able to fully express to you the feeling of pure joy and satisfaction I experienced when I saw final result on the runway. :-)
I thought all hats looked amazing, they really became a final touch to the beautiful designs by Jason Wu. Each hat seem to be so airy, so effortless and so chic. What a great talent Jason is! I absolutely fell in love with the light pink dress made out of feathers with apple green sash ribbon. Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that there was not a single look I would not want to have in my wardrobe. :-)
Just as we shipped hats for Jason Wu, another order from New York, this time from Donna Karan, went into production. I hoped for a little break after such an intense production for Jason Wu and will never forget how amazing Deborah Miller ( the right hand of Mr' Jones and the head of the production) smiled at me and said "Well, darling, welcome to Stephen Jones Millinery!":-)

Jason Wu Spring Summer 2010
Jason Wu Spring Summer 2010

Backstage at Jason Wu Spring Summer 2010