Wunderkind Yasia Khomenko is somewhat of a sensation at Kiev Fashion Days, as she distills a universe that fuses childlike fashion delight with a very mature vision of the real world in her brand RCR KHOMENKO. Only in her third full season, she has made quite an impression and her mixes of patterned fabric have earned her the nickname of “Patchwork designer”. For spring/summer 2013, she continues her signature dichotomy of usefulness and fantasy through a collection titled Empire.
For someone with such a firm artistic identity, it is hardly a surprise to learn that her grandparents, parents and sister are graduates of Kiev’s Fine Arts Academy. But for young Yasia, although arts are her love and she initially thought of going into graphic design, it is with fashion that she found her true calling. Initially dubious, she connected arts and practicality once she had fully understood pattern making, and by adding a practical aspect to a purely decorative exercise, as she says herself “paints on women with fabric”.
Not only are her cuts designed with volumes that will enhance the wearer’s expressed image, but it is from the fabrics themselves that she draws inspiration. The hand of each of them gives her an idea of how it will drape, and which proportions will suit it best. This work she leaves to no one else, and this lends a unique touch to her pieces.
On the runway, her collections have charisma, driving a simple message home: no matter your budget, dress to impress and be the your best self. Simple shift dresses are embellished by their cuts, structured to gently prod women into an elegant bearing. Sleeves transform from their purely functional aspect into an ornamental draped ruffle. Rich brocade is mixed with easy cotton. Her details are very bright, quite obvious. Her final look, a full length brocade number is assorted with a plexiglass veil of letters, reminiscent of oriental face jewelery, and is the embodiment of her empire. I couldn’t help drawing a parallel to another “painter with fabrics”, Tsumori Chisato, whose bright, happy collections are always a highlight of the season.
When prompted to talk about her inspiration, Khomenko explains that she imagined herself as having conquered an Empire, as one does in video games and that these are the court’s attire. “This empire is a beautiful form of totalitarian regime, it is for the people. So be proud of your empire,” she concludes.
Already present in four shops in Ukraine, RCR Khomenko is slowly expanding her horizons towards Russia and Europe, all the while preserving her core aesthetic distilled shrewdly through limited edition capsules for her retailers in addition to her main line. I have no doubt –and highly hope – that she’ll soon be storming our shops.
- Lily Templeton