Every hat that goes into production in my Atelier is very close to my heart, but there are some hats and headdresses that take a special place. Several weeks ago my office has been contacted by The National Museum Of Scotland. One of the curators in charge wrote to me about the new "Cutting Edge" exposition which is a part of the new permanent Fashion & Style Gallery opening on July 8th of 2016. It is currently in preparatory stages and will be featuring amazing designs from few select Master Milliners from around the globe. I have been asked to create something unique, otherworldly and I, of course, immediately accepted the challenge especially because I was given complete creative freedom. It has been an honor to receive a request from the National Museum of Scotland - a privilege I do not hold lightly. Three weeks later "A La Russe" was born - a couture piece inspired not only by traditional culture of my native Russia, but in large part by the Prima Assoluta and the principle artist of the Imperial Russian Ballet and the Ballet Russes of Sergei Diaghilev, magnificent Anna Pavlova.
Anna Pavlova was known for her love of traditional Russian head gear of the most intricate, elaborate designs. She continues to be one of the most prolific sources of inspiration in my work. "A la Russe" took over three weeks to create. It was created completely by hand without a single machine stitch or a drop of glue. It incorporates unique millinery techniques, pearl and Swarovski crystals embroidery as well as silk flower making techniques and the creation of 3D elements such as felt and lace acorns. All of this elements in combination with beautiful materials like Italian shimmering silk, gold lace, French flocked lace helped me to achieve a main goal of painting an impression of early Spring in Russia, when the snow is still everywhere but you can feel the Spring awakening nature.
I wanted to say few special words about extraordinary Lilly of the Valley flowers custom created for "A la Russe" Kokoshnik. This specific type of flowers are extremely difficult to create and as much as I love working with silk flowers I knew that the ones I had in mind would be an impossible task for me. And so , once again, I turned to the amazing Artist, incredible Lady Elena Bain for this specific task. When the box with Lilly of the Valley from Elena has finally arrived from Switzerland - the flowers took my breath away...Elena has an incredible ability to see what I see in my mind and recreate this vision with perfection. "Cutting Edge" display will be open to general public on July 8th of 2016 in The National Museum Of Scotland. It will display hats by Stephen Jones William Chambers and many other brilliant millinery minds of contemporary millinery. If you will find yourself in Edinburgh this Spring, go see the exhibition. "A la Russe" from now on will live in the Museum as a part of the permanent Collection.