Who needs bling when you have one of the glitziest front rows in town? Yesterday in Paris, Carine Roitfeld, Natalia Vodianova, Derek Blasberg, Dita Von Teese, Hamish Bowles and Olivier Zahm all came to attend Ulyana Sergeenko’s show with the excitement of children at a theme park.
One of Russia’s favorite it-girls, loved by street style photographers for her Anna Karenina-inspired style, Sergeenko, a collector of couture, launched her couture line last season. The result was a nostalgic yet coherent collection.
This season, she continued to experiment with traditional Russian imagery, and decided to merge the Soviet fairy tale illustrations of her childhood with Civil War era Americana--specifically in homage to Gone with the Wind. The soundtrack, a remix of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," "Once Upon a Time In the West" and a sprinkle of disco underlined the playful, eclectic and tongue-in-cheek tone of the show.
Poufy shorts and traditionally embroidered blouses from Sergeenko's old world Russia were contrasted by more American shawls, fringes, lace mittens and parasols. Wide straw hats by Stephen Jones and cropped aprons enhanced the rural touch.
Referencing Scarlett O'Hara, she even designed a version of that famed emerald dress, with, of course, a Russian twist.
The most enjoyable part of the show was perhaps the schoolyard accessories: Glasses with frames embellished with tiny little plastic fruit, earrings with miniature dangling cats, small story books, and slingshots tucked into the belts--to fight fashion bullies of course.
Backstage, Ulyana, or Ulyanitshka as her friends call her, was shy and undeniably lovely. She spent most of her time covering her (adorable) daughter in kisses, while Natalia Vodianova and Dita Von Teese hung out both wearing the designer’s previous collection.
“How funny Dita, I’m dressed up as a pinup and you’re all covered up," teased Natalia about her cropped romper suit with a ‘three little pigs' embroidery and Dita’s high neck bottle green 1940s dress.
Ulyana’s aim? Move away from the perception of Russian women as consumers of obvious luxury towards something more historically grounded and playful.
“Women in Russia were once starved for luxury, and when we finally had access to it, we consumed it a lot," the designer said after the show. "But today, we are ready for something new, we know that luxury needn’t equate gold and diamonds.”
As for her designs, she hopes they “show the richness of Russian history and craft and its delicacy."
A babooshka at heart, I couldn’t help but agree.