Friday, January 29, 2010

In Celebration Of Lanvin's 120th Birthday. Giveaway! :-)

In my opinion, there is no better way to start any Friday than with a little surprise. :-) And what is the better occasion for a beautiful surprise than 120Th Birthday of Lanvin?
I have to admit I enjoy Giveaways tremendously.:-) So much so that I decided to make it an every month happening here, in my Blog. All you need to do is to leave a comment under this post. The winner will be announced a week later, next Friday ! :-) I should, probably, mention that one of my small guilty pleasures in life is collecting beautiful notebooks. I have so many of them and they are just too much fun: sometimes I use them for drawing silly doodles, sometimes I use them for writing . Until now, one of my favorite notebooks was "Miss Olivia" notebook with a beautiful Piggy Miss Olivia in gorgeous red gown singing next to the piano on the cover. That is until I saw this beautiful Lanvin notbooks, limited addition of which was released to celebrate 120Th Birthday of Lanvin. How could I not share one of this beautiful notebooks with you ! :-)
The winner of today's Giveaway will receive this beautiful Lanvin notebook with "Happy" drawing on the cover. Happy 120Th Birthday to my beloved Lanvin and happy Friday to all of you!
Wishing you all spectacular weekend :-)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Cecil Beaton. Resurrection in Fabrics.

Dior 1957, photographed by Cecil Beaton
Cecil Beaton...It is impossible not to love him. Born in 1904 in London and coming of age at the peak of the 20s, Cecil Beaton was in love with the worlds of high society, theater, and glamour. Beauty in his hands was transformed into elegance, fantasy, romance and charm.His inspired amateurism led to a following among fashionable debutantes and eventually a full fledged career as the foremost fashion and portrait photographer of his day. He was so attuned to the changes of fashion that his career maintained its momentum for five decades; from the Sitwells to the Rolling Stones.I am sure you will be able to find billions of articles dedicated to the artistic genius of this Artist in the Internet. Today I would like to share with you an unexpected discovery I have made a little while ago.:-) I have decided to call it Beaton's resurrection in fabrics.
Cecil Beaton's Drawing Room

Photography By Cecil Beaton
Photography By Cecil Beaton

"Garbo's Eye" created after Cecil Beaton's Sketches
In October of 2009, when I was still working in Stephen Jones Atelier in London, I came upon fabulous selection of fabrics chosen by Stephen for his new Spring-Summer 2010 Collection. The work on hats for this Collection was just about to start. One of the choices was nothing like I ever seen before thick linen fabric named "Garbo's Eye". Apparently, this fabric was created after Cecil Beaton's sketches.
Turban hat made out of "Garbo's Eye", Stephen Jones Spring Summer 2010
Here you can see the Stephen's turban-hat made out of "Garbo's Eye". In addition, you can view his entire Spring-Summer 2010 Collection at . Imagine my complete surprise when just a week after my return to New York, I was contacted by no other than showroom director at Beaton's Fabrics, sir Andrew Ginger.
Andrew's e-mail came just in time. I just finished finalizing sketches of my third Collection and started the most difficult process of fabric selection for the hats I had in mind. Fabric selection is always very strenuous and almost mind exhausted experience for me. I take to consideration every single small detail: pallet, fabric composition, technical characteristics. The process of selection for me can correlate into hours, days, sometimes weeks of browsing my favorite fabric stores in New York City.
In his e-mail Andrew not only (I admit shamelessly and with great pleasure :-) ) spoke highly of my designs, but also suggested to send me the entire collection of Beaton's fabric swatches. The level of my excitement was simply immeasurable. I was anxiously waiting for my package although I did have an itsy bitsy shred of doubt. There were numerous occasions in the past when I was dreadfully disappointed by the fabrics which looked perfect on the pictures but in person lacked quality and color. The fact that I saw and touched magnificent "Garbo's Eye" made me believe that the rest of the fabrics should be just as beautiful.
When the package arrived a week later I was besides myself. If I could describe my feeling with a touch of theatrical note, I would say "I have died and gone to Heaven" :-). Every single fabric of Beaton's Collection was perfection itself. I was especially mesmerized by the quality of silks and cotton (and I very rarely use cotton in my designs). And this brilliant colors! They simply took my breath away. Not only that it was possible to use this fabrics for designs, but it was also suggested to use them for the creation of fabulous interiors. The same prints were available in wallpaper. I immediately started to dream of redecorating my Atelier. Can you blame me ? :-)For the obvious reasons I will not be telling you today about my selection of Beaton's fabrics. I promise to post my new designs when my new Collection will premier. This time the divine inspiration came unexpectedly from Great Britain and through decades of time in the form of fabulous Beaton fabrics. :-) I can not help but being hopelessly in love with beauty that lives beyond time.

Cecil Beaton photography

Cecil Beaton

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Making Hats For John Galliano, Spring-Summer 2010. London, Part 5

Considering that Stephen Jones and John Galliano had an ongoing spectacular creative collaboration for the past 10 years, the fact that I will be a part of creative team for John Galliano Spring-Summer 2010 Collection wasn't really a secret to me. I knew that the most exciting if not outrageous hats would be done for John and could not wait to see every single little detail: sketches, fabric samples, work on the design. The fact that I was a part of this amazing process magically erased exhaustion and inspired me once again. I, probably, mentioned before that to me, each hat is the most powerful way to transform any look, make it unforgettable and unique. It is like an exclamation point at the end of the sentence that gives it power of emotion. And, so, when the inspiration behind the Collection was reviled, it became apparent that until this day I really did not know what the word "challenge" really meant.
The inspiration behind Galliano's Collection came from his trip to L.A. "I went around the old houses of Hollywood and imagined how stars like Tallulah Bankhead, Lillian Gish, and Mary Pickford lived." said John. It gave him a flawless idea for playing to his brilliant strengths in poetically glamorous chiffon; bias-cut little nothings; fragile, delightful plissé puff-shouldered blouses and bed jackets; and coats symbolically decorated with clusters of flowers made out of film gel...and, of course, hats! Not surprisingly, design of every hat for John's Collection was intrusted to Stephen. While the rest of the team was put in front of their tasks, I was having almost a heart attack: I was requested to create three samples of pattern using a macrame technique. No direction, no idea of what exactly was expected in terms of design.
This is one of the hats made by me. It was made out of red straw and decorated with black bids along the brim line.
Macrame!? Really!!? The last time I attempted to do macrame I was 10. I created absolutely horrific flower pot and proudly gave it to my Mom for her Birthday. Needless, to say, I was absolutely panic stricken: it was impossible to say "I have no idea how". Not when you work with Stephen for Galliano. You sit down and you do it. Period. While I was saying "good by" to my career as a milliner and having all sorts of crazy things going on in my head (including voice of Miranda Pristley "a million girls would kill for this job" and so on), I had to remind myself that before I will declare my complete incompetency when it comes to macrame, I had to, at list, give it my best. And so I did.
This hat was also done by me out of hand colored raffia.
Don't ask me how, but samples of macrame techniques were ready with in 8 hours and then brought to Paris for John to consider. He made his choice and the next step for me was to create a "mock up" hat so that John could see how the entire hat will look in person. Have to say that doing macrame is difficult enough, but when you have to macrame entire hat (something you never done before!) for no other than Gilliano, the pressure is really on. The mock up hat took me approximately 14 hours of non-stop work to create. It was the most ugliest hat I have ever seen in my life, it was terrible, awful, disgusting ...and John absolutely loved it! :-) He said that he loved the idea of "brims disappearing into the thin air".
Once again, this another hat I worked on - made out of thin ropes.
By the time the mock-up hat was done, my back felt as if it was stuffed with bricks and I was anxious to learn how many macrame hats I would have to make for Galliano Collection. Sometime during this fever, I had to go to the hospital because the back pain became almost unbearable. God bless British doctors! :-) As the result of this hospital visit I came up with an idea of creating special boards for doing brims in macrame - it did help tremendously to relief tension in the back and shoulders during the work. John decided that he needs three macrame hats for his Collection. The materials chosen were raffia, rope and straw. Macrameing hat out of thin ropes was almost the easiest part. But when it came to raffia and straw - it was nearly impossible. Both raffia and straw did not want to cooperate, would not lock into secure knots and could not care less about Galliano, me or the hats...
In addition, one of the hats had to be decorated with black bids which slowed down the process. Miraculously, all three macrame hats were finished on time and to the highest satisfaction of Stephen and John. You see all three hats on the pictures above looking so effortlessly and so chic... :-) Despite all the pain, doubt and panic - it was an incredible experience.
 Not only the show by itself was beyond amazing, but this smoke filled bubbles on the runway simply took my breath away.:-) This bubbles were synonymous to the idea of creative process: hours and hours of intense work to create a single moment of glorious beauty...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

To My Beautiful Mother :-). A Touch Of Personal.

Hat tribute "To My Mom" part of my "Russia Divine.Tribute" Collection 2009
Every so often, just like today, I feel especially far away from my Mom. I wish I could jump in the car and go visit her any time I want, spend an afternoon shopping or talking about everything and nothing over a cup of coffee... I miss her terribly, I do not think I can really express how much I miss her. She lives thousands of miles away from me in Russia...
My Beautiful Mom
My Mom always was and still is the most powerful force of inspiration in my life. A Lady of increadable style and grace, but above all the most kind and wonderful person I am blessed to have in my life. How did she manage to always look so stylish and have this brilliant smile on her face? - is beyond me. Those of you who know what it was like to live the USSR, probably, know what I mean...
Me, at the age of 1.5 :-)
She radiated beauty and she taught me how to enjoy simple things in life. :-)
Me at the age of 3 in mt very first hat.
She bought me my very first hat! Oh, what a hat it was, I felt like a little princess! I refused to take it off even when it was time to go to bed. :-)
Me, wearing Armani jacket and Irdj Moini amber and pearls ring.
She watched me grow up and become who I am today, encouraging and inspiring me. She held me through my tragedies and celebrated my victories. She is my biggest fan and believer in me. :-) . She always made me feel like no matter where I am - I have a warm place to return to. She made me feel safe, just like this :-)

Drawing by Danny Roberts.
I love you, Mom, and I am looking forward to your visit very much!:-)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Making Hats For Rio Fashion Rocks 2009 And Kylie Minogue US Tour.London, Part 4.

In the middle of all the frenzy of making hats for various designers during global Fashion Weeks, I had encountered one of the most difficult projects yet - head gear for Rio Fashion Rocks 2009. I would have to say that out of all the challenges, this was the most serious one. So far, I have been able to get only few pictures of the hats I worked on. I don't know if I ever mentioned before, but I almost never worked with feathers prior to this project, at list not on this scale. Mainly, because it is such a pain to order them and the quality is more often very poor. So, imagine my pure horror when the boxes with 300 pheasant feathers arrived. All feathers well over 1 meter long.
Each one had to be carefully checked for damage and each one of them had to be hand colored in 6 different shades. For example, 50 feathers had to be colored red, 50-yellow, 50-purple and so on. Coloring feathers is a whole other science and not an easy one. Everything matters: temperature of the solution, time in the solution - if the feather kept in the solution for even a few seconds longer than needed, you might just as well through it out. As soon as the feather is out of the coloring solution it has to be hand dried and fluffed. Very time consuming and tiring process! The funny part about all of it is that for days after coloring feathers my hands were almost black and blue with shades of purple, red and yellow :-) Unfortunate side effect of being a milliner - hands suffer the most.
Mr. Jones came up with mind blowing sketches, but to realise them was entire different story.For each hat very complicated and precise wire structures had to go in place, extra support in heavy elastic bands had to be added due to the fact that each hat was expected to be tremendously heavy. Afterwords, each feather had to be attached one by one, secured and tested. My hat is off to the models who not only had to wear enormous heavy head gear, but walk on sky high heels and dance! Fantastic event. Rio definitely knows how to party.:-)))P.S. Turns out, blue feathered hat was to heavy even for a short walk on the catwalk. Stylists decided to use it as wings rather than hat.:-)))
In the middle of production for both London and Paris Fashion Weeks I was so very excited to work on head pieces for Kylie Minogue North American Tour 2009. Kylie is very petite, she also has the smallest head measurements I have ever seen. Beautiful lady, definitely a fighter and a very strong spirited person. :-)
Fantastic Pirate hat (sorry, I was not able to find the picture) and outlandish hats for dancers are,probably, my top favorites in terms of design and materials. For example, 6 so-called "Roxette" hats had to be made for Kylie's dancers. The design of "Roxette" hat belongs, of course, to Mr.Jones. As a matter of fact, you will be able to find the picture of it in his book "Hats. An Anthology". I had so much fun cutting colored film into stripes, mixing colors and then creating a hat-wig you see above and even giving it a hair cut! :-). I have to say that in person this type of hat looks much more appealing and makes a lot of funny noise! :-)
I thought I would say couple of words about the creation of this piece: this is a great example of the range of materials and skills professional milliner and artist has to have. At first, millinery wire structure is calculated and assembled. Then the same structure had to be duplicated but this time - in silver plated steel . This little sparkling balls are actually tennis balls, each one of them had to be covered in crystals by hand! Isn't the result amazing ?
The project was so exciting that at some point I had to stop and wrap my mind around the fact that I really got to do what I love on such an amazing professional level. I also noticed that by that time hats completely invaded my being: I breathed hats, I thought of hats, I even saw them in my dreams, but more often I was so excited I was completely unable to sleep. I would stay up all night drawing hats for my new Collection. This excitement did not serve me well - at the end I was completely and utterly exhausted. But still - I think exhaustion was a very small price to pay for this out of this world experience. :-)