Vassilisa’s Daydream Nation

Polo Ralph Lauren

New York – There is a storybook quality to designer Nadja Solovieva’s collections, which she designs under the name Vassilisa. That she named the label after a popular Russian fairytale partly explains the fantastical touch, of course, but so does the fact that she designs the collection the way an artist creates a body of work.

After page after page of sketches and imaginative meanderings through the fragments of her psyche, Solovieva arrives at a concrete mood and concept for her printed silk fabrics or the direction she wants to take with her highly feminine, dream-like sensibility. The results resemble something that a Russian princess might wear if she ran away to the Ural mountains or decided to take up lute playing in a gold leaf forest.

“I should have brought my sketchbooks,” said Solovieva as she spreads her hands wide to emphasize their thickness at a preview of her Fall 2009 collection in New York on Wednesday, Feb. 25. She takes in elements from her environment – she’s based in London – like a brooch of a deer she found at Portobello Market that she then turns into a photocopy-like print, and she also explores a breadth of cultural references, from the icons of saints from her native Russia to Dutch lithographs of landscapes. She’s especially fond of Russian fairytales.

But, she said, “It’s not a direct reference. I don’t like to be straightforward. It’s more reflective.”

For her Fall 2009 collection, the inspiration came from the Russian Orthodox church and the entourages of archangels depicted in Russian icons. “I even got a blessing from a Russian Orthodox priest,” she said.

Taking a glittery gold fabric, she created everything from draped caftans to an off-the-shoulder blouse. But they lacked a certain sophistication and would be hard to pull off without a rail-thin body. More successful were more tailored suits and dresses looks using the same fabric, but given a honeycomb-like texture. Diaphanous silk gowns were romantic and resort-ready.

But it wasn’t all glitz. Vassilisa’s bread and butter are printed silk skirts, tops, dresses and scarves in opulent colors. The skirts are especially notable for their light-as-air volumes, made possible by a French silk underlay – perfect for a ballerina-in-training ready to take flight.

Everything is done in small quantities, meaning that Vassilisa’s distribution is limited, but that’s her aim at the moment.

“I believe in organic growth,” she said.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/

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~ by akosiemersonsy on February 27, 2009.

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