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The Times They Are a-Changin'
Ecce Homo? Prima Donna!
Fashion Film Festival Milano
ULYANA SERGEENKO, The Red Queen. Haute Couture fan, high-class socialite, passionate photographer, blogger, occasional model, street-style sensation turned fashion and one of the faces of Russia’s fashion revolution, Ulyana Sergeenko’s place on the fashion scene is impossible to ignore.
VALENTIN YUDASHKIN, The Fashion Czar. Valentin Yudashkin - the first post-Soviet designer to bring a contemporary Russian look to the international fashion world - knows how to design beautiful and diverse collections. He just published a book of photos showcasing his earlier work.
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Via Monte Napoleone, Milan


The Fashion Czar


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(dedicated to Michelle Obama)
director: Matt Dowson
starring: Valentin Yudashkin, Kevin McDonald
special thanks: Carine Roitfeld, Lovely Runway Beauty, RT.com / Tina Berezhnaya
music: Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky performed by Chicago University Symphony Orchestra / Music Director: Barbara Schubert - Caela Harrison / December Tchaikovsky
poetry: reading She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron



Like fairy tales, her style is filled with symbolism and enchantment. “She has the courage of her convictions to create a world, says Hamish Bowles, fashion historian and a Vogue International Editor at Large. You can see a fragrance and a decor. Every designer needs that.” She is extremely influenced by classic European haute couture, but Ulyana Sergeenko also draws inspiration from her Russian background in that of Russian tsars, Fabergé eggs, cashmere Russian doll patterns, and golden Orthodox churches.
For those not familiar with her, she is a part of the now audacious 4 gal posse, often referred to as the ‘Russian Fashion Pack’. They include Miroslava Duma, the daughter of a Russian senator, who edits a fashion and style Web site; Vika Gazinskaya, a fashion designer with an eclectic range of geometric hairstyles; and Elena Perminova, a model and the girlfriend of the media mogul Alexander Lebedev (owner of the Independent / Evening Standard ).

Haute Couture fan, high-class socialite, passionate photographer, blogger, occasional model, street-style sensation turned fashion and one of the faces of Russia’s fashion revolution, Ulyana Sergeenko’s place on the fashion scene is impossible to ignore. The second wife of the Russian insurance billionaire Danil Khachaturov is both adored and imitated for her glamorous 1950s babushka style. Andrew Bolton, curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute, compares Ulyana Sergeenko to Coco Chanel in how they got their start.
“They're their own best muses, who got their start by dressing themselves, Mr. Bolton says. He notes that “her designs, often based on traditional dress of countries that once made up the Soviet Union, are notable for their difficulty and attention to proportion.
Ulyana Sergeenko’s striking designs are a stunning mix of many elements – on one hand they incorporate traditional Russian styles but at the same time exude modernity and manage to be both masculine and yet feminine in their emphasis on curvaceous hourglass forms.
Growing up, we only had two fashion magazines—Feminine Worker and Countryside Woman, Ulyana Sergeenko told Harper’s Bazaar. We had to sew our own clothes. I was well-known in school because I would always change the designs. I broke all the rules. So in a way I was born in couture.” As haute couture, Sergeenko’s designs are not sold in stores. Her customized dresses  are made from high quality, expensive, often unusual fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finished by the most experienced and capable seamstresses. Since establishing her label  in 2011 showing Euro 25,000 dresses and Euro 70,000 coats, Sergeenko has made waves in the fashion world receiving glowing praise from respected fashion publications including Harper’s Bazaar and Style.com.

Her Fall-Winter 2014-2015 collection, shown at Palais de Tokyo in Paris is already garnering rave reviews.   This  collection - recalling the 1920s and 1930s-era U.S.S.R, had looks inspired by Constructivist artists, peasant women, propaganda posters and Moscow metro stations.
The challenge was to detect the beauty of that scary time…which makes you think immediately of the current situation we have in Russia, Sergeenko wrote in her show notes.
Ulyana Sergeenko might seem like a relatively newcomer to the red carpet world, but in fact, major style stars have been wearing her couture creations for some time now. Everyone from Jaime King to Rita Ora to Chinese fashion star Fan Bingbing have worn her designs, which tend to straddle a line between ultra-chic and a whimsical. Beyoncé wore two Sergeenko outfits in videos for her
“Visual” album. Kim Kardashian has been wearing the label, after husband Kanye West requested an audience with Ulyana Sergeenko this spring.


His clothes are displayed in the Louvre Museum  of Clothes in Paris, the California Museum of Fashion in Los Angeles, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the State Historical Museum in Moscow and in other museums around the World.
From haute couture and prêt-a-porter to accessories, jewelry, porcelain, and sunglasses, Russia’s most famous designer, Valentin Yudashkin - the first post-Soviet designer to bring a contemporary Russian look to the international fashion world - knows how to design beautiful and diverse collections.  Valentin Yudashkin is Russia’s most famous fashion designer and the only Russian designer to be honored with membership in the Syndicate of High Fashion in Paris. He is also a decorated member of the Academy of Arts of the Russian Federation and a National Artist of Russia
Valentin Yudashkin just published a book of photos showcasing his earlier work.  “Classical Russian fashion can be compared to classical Russian literature as they share a unique sense of heroic drama and poetic melancholy,” Harold Koda, curator-in-charge at The Met’s Costume Institute, writes in Valentin Yudashkin. “This is what I like about Russia: the depth of the country’s feelings and its incredible romanticism.” Lavishly illustrated, this book presents the many facets of Yudashkin’s work, showing how he draws inspiration from czarist Russia as well as his own poetic imagination. Yudashkin's lush, vividly colored fashions are rich with incredible detail, including fur, beading, embroidery, and all variety of ornamentation. His technical mastery and his theatricality have wowed critics around the world. This book, which includes runway photographs and never-before-seen sketches, brings his work to a wider audience.
The designer became known in Russia when he was in his 20s and dressing Raisa Gorbachev, wife of the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.  “Mrs. Gorbachev was a unique woman, of course, because she had a feel for fashion, despite the fact that her origin was from the Soviet Union,” he told The Daily Beast of the former First Lady. “But she had the right idea of how the woman should change, that women should live an active, constructive life. Ladies such as she stand out often, but are not always loved. The recognition comes later in life.”
This Russian brand had its première in the world of high fashion in 1991 when Yudashkin showed his collection in Paris for the first time. It was entitled “Fabergé” and was inspired by artistic ideas drawn from the prominent Russian jewellery atelier that won fame for its output of Easter eggs made of precious metals, stones, and enamels. The young Russian couturier designed dresses in the form of Fabergé’s renowned eggs. They produced a great impression on the sophisticated French public and impressed the recognised leaders of the fashion world, Pierre Cardin and Paco Rabanne.
In short, Yudashkin’s first collection did not return to Russia, it remained in France, at the Louvre in Paris. 
Since then every year Valentin Yudashkin has brought his share of glamour to the world of fashion. His collections – Music (1992), Nature Morte (1993), Frescoes (1994), Catherine the Great (1994) and Ballet (1995) were bright and original. In 1996 Yudashkin had his greatest success when he was admitted to the Syndicate of High Fashion in Paris, which gave his works the official status of Haute Couture. It was the first time a Russian designer was put in the same rank as Dior, Versace and Valentino.
Valentin Yudashkin’s exotic models had exotic names: Birds of Paradise (1996), Christmas Dream (1997), Vrubel (1997), Silent Film (1998), Anna Karenina (1998), The End of Century (1999), Show Me Love (2000), Impressionists (2000). Yudashkin loves all things Russian – the national dress and colors, history, culture and great personalities. He uses his collections to express that love and to show the world the vast and unexplored richness of his native country. The trademark of his clothes is delicate and luxurious embroidery with beads, pearls and rhinestones.

In 1994 and 1996 Yudashkin dressed Russia’s Olympic team. He also designed the uniforms for the Russian air company Aeroflot.  In 2008 the couturier was asked to redesign Russia’s military uniforms.  He created 85 distinct designs to outfit all the branches of the Russian army.  He strove to create looks that were functional and contemporary, while still maintaining aspects of traditional Russian dress. The soldiers in Red Square sported uniforms inspired by the first Victory Parade of 1945, among other historical influences, including Russia's Czarist past. The uniforms are of noticeably lighter materials and slimmer lines. The new uniforms were shown to then-President Vladimir Putin in January.
We made this big presentation, very exact and clear," Yudashkin said. "Our president is a very elegant man, and he understood everything.
It’s a shame that this passion and beauty are often overshadowed by political and economic crises wrote Erin Cunningham on The Daily Beast. “I think that culture always carries only positive messages,” Yudashkin says when asked his thoughts on the ongoing aggression between Russia and the Ukraine. “What’s important for me, first of all, is to be able to invite Americans to come to Moscow, [so they can experience] the real culture founded by real people, who are very far removed from politics. My wish is that design and culture help people communicate better. We have all become very politicized, which is not a really good thing. I hope that culture will help correct these misunderstandings on both sides.

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