Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Best of Russian Design: Alena Akhmadullina

To me, nothing quite says "Russia" like fairy tales.  I honestly think that Russia would collapse without them.  They're everywhere and have seeped into every aspect of life.  This sense of fairytale, magic and myth is something that Alena Akhmadullina has captured wonderfully.

Alena Akhmadullina emerged on the Russian fashion scene in about 1997 when she won several local and national awards, culminating with winning the Russian "Dress of the Year" competition in 1998.  After this big break, she went on to establish her own fashion house in Paris, France where she shows every year.  Starting with her first show in 2005, she's been building steam and gaining the notice of the fashion world.  She is easily the best Russian designer--her work is inventive, clever and wonderfully made.  It speaks of fantasy without being too conceptual to wear.  Unlike most Russian designers, she uses prints.  Her prints have ranged from modernist Soviet movie posters to dragons and castles, all without looking like a tourist t-shirt or a renaissance costume.

The AW 2010 collection was one of Alena's best!  The clothes are beautiful and the prints this season appear to be from Russian fairy tales!  The whole collection seems designed for a modern fairy-princess.  Someone who dresses well and knows that she's important and connected to a rich past but doesn't need to walk around in a costume all day.  The prints aren't overdone--instead they are placed in interesting ways on the garment or paired with complimentary neutrals that are strong enough pieces to be interesting unto themselves.  The shoes from the front remind me of horse-hooves but not so much so that they become unwearable.  Its really nice to see Russian clothes that don't look like either some sort of costume or something that only the novii ruskii would wear.

Photos from Alena Akhmadullina

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