Ever the fashion-maker as storyteller, Ulyana Sergeenko imbues her work with a pervading sense of narrative that is nonetheless deeply rooted in reality. Youth as synonymous with hope, optimism and enthusiastic openness to the future is her byword for f/w 16/17. While describing a new embodiment of the ever-evolving Ulyana Sergeenko woman, the designer looks at a pivotal moment in Russia's recent history: the futuristic Sixties, with their exciting new wave of Soviet development – the Khruschev's Thaw. It was a time when, in Russia just as much as it was happening all over the world, youth gained the limelight, dreaming about a bright future and making it happen. The utopia became possible: studies, sports, expeditions all the way to the moon turned dreams of progress into reality. People delved enthusiastically into science and technology. The new Soviet citizen was smart,
fun, physically active and hard working. Urbanization and industrialization bloomed.
"This collection is dedicated to the youth of our parents, to those who gave us life – says Ulyana Segeenko – They were young idealists dreaming to get a worthy profession, believing in the bright future of the country and their own. Their dreams haven’t vanished because they still inspire us".
The collection pays contemporary homage to the different personalities of the new Soviet citizen of that unforgettable time: the studious scholar, the sports enthusiast, the Arctic explorer mix and merge on the catwalk, touched by Sergeenko's inimitable flair for femininity. The silhouette, lean and dynamic, heralds a fast, unfussy lifestyle futuristically dresses up with cropped blousons, miniskirts, embroidered bodysuits and thighs worn with encrusted belts. The cult of sports informs the blue, red and green bodysuits decorated with a capital Y – Ulyana's initial in Russian – worn with headpieces, designed by Stephen Jones Millinery, that resemble motorcycle or space-rocket helmets. Floral motifs taken from biology and geography textbooks swarm on jackets as 3D embroideries. Arctic expeditions inspire knitwear. Coats made of time-consuming fur intarsia pay homage to the Gobelin stitch, which were an essential part of every Soviet home. Dresses made of lace discs are youthful and bold. The healthy and adventurous spirit is highlighted by the make-up, provided by M.A.C PRO team.
Materials are precious, with a stronger than ever stress on craft. Yelets and Vologda lace come in bold geometric forms and shapes, merging tradition and futurism. Lustrous silks, fur and precious stones create shiny accumulations everywhere. The color palette is a fresh amalgamation of faded pinks and blues with notes of black, beige, crème, red, gold and touches of white and bright pink.
Accessories reflect and complete the eclectic mood of the collection. Metallic or wooden glasses have an academic feel, while the look of teachers and scientists inspire the velvet briefcases, with chains come in the shape of mini-bags. Sergeenko delves in personal memories, too, recreating one of her grandmother's bags with a rocking horse motif on it, and a Tula gingerbread bag, which follows the shape of a national delight. A fur patchwork clutch is a feast of high craft. Shoes, created once again with Christian Louboutin, are glittery or patent flat loafers, or high heel versions: a nod, both, to academic and domestic elegance, with a twist.
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