Ulyana Sergeenko’s Silk Road
Russia’s Ulyana Sergeenko, a streetstyle star turned designer whose fashion house now features on the official schedule of Paris Haute Couture fashion week, presented her 15th anniversary collection on Monday at the Paris’ Palais de Tokyo, a contemporary art museum located in Paris’ tony 16th arrondissement.
The venue itself, decorated to resemble a tent with swathes of heavy red cloth, offered the first hints of for the Fall/ Winter collection’s oriental theme; the inspiration being the ancient Uzbek city of Samarkand, historically a bustling hub on the Great Silk Road between China and Europe.
In the first minutes, as the show began to the melodies of Nascent Love, performed by French singer Sebastien Tellier, the label unveiled a new jewel-toned colour palette inspired by Silk Road treasures: saffron, magenta, powder blue, gold and ruby, in addition to its familiar pastel shades.
The Ulyana Sergeenko woman was not just an aristocrat this season, but also an elegant traveler adventuring to the famous trade city: the cast trod the glittering runway garbed in fluid silk and satin harem pants; robes and capes with Krestetskaya stitching; dresses in lurex, taffeta and organza; national Uzbek robes with traditional ikat patterns; broad-shouldered blouses with lantern sleeves; printed jacquard dresses and marabou feather skirts – exactly the assortment one might expect to peruse in sumptuous oriental bazaar.
On their feet, models wore pointed mules and classic high boots, created for this collection by the workshop of Charlotte Olympia, while rubies and other gems of the Faidee Jewelry House accessorised the ensembles.
Many of the vibrant and luxurious looks featured embroidery and crochet elements, the designer having looked to complex traditional handicrafts for her collection this season. But at the same time, the label’s typically feminine style was still recognisable: lavish fabrics and dainty waistlines paired with full skirts.
In attendance at the only show by a Russian fashion house in the official schedule was a roster of high profile guests including supermodel Natalia Vodianova; TV host Evelina Khromtchenko; designer Vika Gazinskaya; travel influencer Natalya Osmann; photographer Ellen von Unwerth and fashion critic Suzy Menkes.
The international crowd underscored the presence Sergeenko, a respected local success story amongst her compatriots, is now establishing for her fashion house on the global stage. After facing backlash for repeating offensive song lyrics on social media in January 2018, the label seems to have learnt its lesson, presenting a feminist-inspired collection for its subsequent offering, and is continuing its maturation with each season into a fully-fledged international luxury brand. Since then, judging by the lively, well-attended show, Paris has certainly forgiven Ulyana.
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