Tuesday, January 26, 2016

"The Two Fridas" Editorial, Part 1. Frida Kahlo.

 Frida Kahlo to this day remains one of the most prolific sources of inspiration in Fashion. Not a year goes by that you don't see stunning editorials in various Vogues dedicated to Frida and her unique, very authentic style. I have been wanting to create my own version of Frida Kahlo inspired editorial for a long time now. Ultimately it became my personal Anthem not only to the artist herself, but to the beauty of floral crowns and crystal encrusted veils - one of the most beloved options in modern day headgear so much so that, in my opinion, floral headbands made a list of classic millinery creations. They will never go out of style and they will always be a what I call a "forever piece" - so very chic, so elegant and feminine and above all a subject to so many interpretations.

My "Two Fridas" editorial was inspired by the namesake painting "The Two Fridas" created by Frida Kahlo in 1939. This is probably one of my most favorite self-portraits by Frida. The year of 1939 was the year of unrecoverable heartbreak for Frida - she just divorced  the love of her life Diego Rivera, the acclaimed Mexican muralist. You can almost see the pain of her loss in this painting, it is palpable, it is physical, very raw...One Frida sits on the left of the painting; this is the Frida that was rejected by Rivera. Her blouse is ripped open, exposing her broken and bleeding heart. The Frida to the right is the Frida that Rivera still loves, has a heart that is still whole. She holds a small portrait of Rivera in her hand. After her death, this small portrait of Rivera was found amon Kahlo’s belongings, and is now on display at the Museum of Frida Kahlo in Mexico.

And so for my editorial I have created three sets of  "The Two Fridas", each one of the sets is celebrating the spirit of love and unique style Frida is so famous for. Here you see "Frida In Sapphire" and "Frida In Emerald" . Editorial was photographed by Ed Hafizov and styled by me. Every single silk flower created for each of the floral bands was created in my Atelier. It has been a labor of love for me and a bit of an emotional journey too because every subject I work on in my Atelier becomes more than a subject of research, it becomes a subject of deep affection not only for the source of inspiration itself, but also for the Art of Millinery.

Below is "The Two Fridas" oil on canvas by Frida Kahlo, 1939.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The "Fire Bird" Headdress, "Balthazar" SS2016 Collection.

 "Fire Bird" head dress of my "Balthazar" SS2016 Collection  is, probably, one of the top favorite hats I have worked on to date and, without a doubt, one of the most technically challenging head dresses I ever created in my Atelier. I first put it into preliminary drawings back in 2013 but decided to "sit on it" because general idea was still lacking details and I wanted to give myself some time to make sure that when I go into production of "Fire Bird", fabulous details of it will be well thought through and fully developed. And so here it is. Inspiration for the creation of "Fire Bird" came from Russian Folklore where the Fire Bird is always a magical glowing bird from a Faraway Land. No one ever knew where it lives but many dreamt of capturing it knowing that it brings both a blessing and a doom to its captor.

In every single Fairy Tale the Fire Bird is described as a large bird with majestic plumage that glows with red and orange light like a bonfire that is just past the turbulent flame. The feathers do not cease glowing even when removed, and one feather can light a large room if not concealed. To me it was always such a magnificent image - a room lit by a a single feather of a magic creature. The story of the Firebird inspired many literary works, but  perhaps most famous production of the "Firebird" was done by Sergei Diaghilev of Ballet Russe who commissioned composer Igor Stravinsky to create the enormously popular large-scale ballet score known as The Firebird. I lost count of how many times I saw the production of  The Firebird" ballet and every single time it was experience no words can describe.
 And so it is once again, I find myself inspired by tremendous cultural heritage of Russia, whether it is literature of Russian Ballet.  I will never be able to describe to you how much love, pain and joy went into creation of the "Fire Bird". I hope you love it as much as I loved working on the piece. Adaptation of this nature to Couture always run a serious risk of looking too costume. I wanted to create a Couture piece: magnificent, rich in detail, breathtaking just like the Fire Bird itself.  One might say, I tried to capture my own Fire Bird hoping that it will bring me a blessing. :-)

Monday, January 11, 2016

Starting 2016 With Editorial in V Magazine, Issue 99. Gaga's Fashion Guard Edited by Lady Gaga.

 Starting year 2016 in the most fabulous way possible. Long awaited Issue of V Magazine, Issue 99 became legendary long before release. 16 magnificent covers and top secret content was revealed just few short days ago. The reason - guest editor of the Issue is Lady Gaga, a living legend herself, wanted to bring to the Issue her very own unique vision of what she views as Fashion influences in her own creative life, featuring those she considers her own Fashion Guard. To my knowledge majority of the Covers have been completely sold out. Prior to it we have received an e-mail from V Magazine congratulating me on making the cut as one of Gaga's Fashion Guard ( believe me, this is something I do not take lightly) and letting us know that complimentary issue is on its way.

And so here it is - fabulously creepy, inspired by American Horror Story, image of Gaga, wearing the hat created by me. There is actually another hat, white hat by Philip Treacy (not a bad company! LOL) nested in the structure. The stylist on the set, Brandon Maxwell, laired head gear to give very unique look and mood to the image. Dressed in Balenciaga and photographed by the legendary duo Inez and Vinoodh.  The Issue contains only few hats, vast majority of which are created by Gaga's long time friend and my colleague - Philip Treacy.

It is both thrilling and tiny bit scary to be included in this amazing, magnificent line up of talent. At time feels like a dream. :-) The bar is set extremely high and to say it is extremely challenging to remain on the level of world recognized stars is to say very little. And so, with this Issue,  I am welcoming my Atelier into the magnificent 2016! We have several super exciting projects lined up. Of course, when the time is right, you will be the first ones to see the outcome of our effort.