A herald of fashion-making as engaging storytelling, Ulyana Sergeenko creates captivating tales by drawing unexpected parallels between seemingly distant times. This season paganism and slavic folklore are the frame for a surprising merging of fatal characters culled from ancient legends, and powerful women inspired by the photos of Helmut Newton and Steven Meisel. The Ulyana Sergeenko heroine, thereafter, sheds romanticism to get a new skin. She is an unattainable and dangerous temptress, the inhabitant of misty, enchanted forests. However empowered and fierce, she keeps a whimsical outlook on matters of style. She’s both dangerous and playful.
The silhouette is dramatic, with a nipped waist and defined shoulders. The dry branches and the rich flora of the Russian forests, but also the fishing nets and the glistening waters of their ponds, turn into intricate surfaces and textures that are a couture homage to the natural world: multi layered, asymmetrical compositions made of straw, strands of beads, scattered sequins, feathers and knit. Wild plants such as Hawthorn, Hypericum, Thistles and delicate flowers such as Lilies, Roses and Water Lilies inspire precious embroideries. Transparent beads resemble water drops on airy nets. In a merging of the natural and the fantastic, cups on bustiers and pockets on sculpted jackets are shaped like water lilies, landing a surreal touch to the look. Sergeenko’s beloved Yelets and Vologda lace offer just another opportunity for a foray into crafty decoration, creating the effect of wet fabric or the foam of the sea. Mesh and chains recur as details: allusions to fishing nets and magical shackles.
The organic palette is a painterly amalgamation of browns, greens, muted reds and yellows with dramatic shots of red and classic notes of black, white, gold. Materials are intriguing and sensual to the touch: velvet, feathers, woven straw, fur, lace, jersey.
Accessories add the finishing touch of magic to the image of the enchanting temptress. Taking water and Russian bathing traditions as a starting point, sunglasses are shaped like glamorous swimming goggles. Gloves are embroidered with sequins that shimmer like fish scales or made of sheer mesh with drops of water and blood on the fingertips. The witchy mood is apparent in the charms such as bells and crystals that adorn jewels, while high heeled pumps resemble snakeskin. The image of a snake recurs as a metaphor of change. Bags are small and sculpted, or soft as fishing nets.
This season, again, Ulyana Sergeenko collaborates with milliner Stephen Jones on headwear that carries and expands the fairytale mood of the collection. A series of swimming hats embroidered with crystals or woven with fine threads like sparkling cobwebs crown the head of the Ulyana Sergeenko temptress – queen of the sea, of the ponds and the forests.