Artisanal Flair meets High-Tech at Couture

Debuting her first-ever collection in Moscow less than ten years ago, Russian designer Ulyana Sergeenko has been receiving a lot of media attention due to her meticulous handcraft representing her native heritage. 

Taking inspiration from antique markets and vintage boutiques, her previous ready-to-wear collections feature eclectic clothes, bags, fine jewellery and headpieces emphasised with sophisticated details and high-end materials. From knitted blouses to quilted skirts, each item blends modern feminine empowerment and the traditional Soviet Union styles.

This year’s Couture Fall-Winter 2020-2021 pays tribute to Krestetsky craftsmanship – a unique artisanal technique, originated in Novgorod Region more than one hundred and fifty years ago. With the incorporation of embroidery into design being one of the biggest challenges and hallmarks of Russian fashion history, Ulyana Sergeenko’s collection points at celebrating the manufacturing process of each item – patiently stitched, knitted and embroidered to represent the DNA of her country.

The virtual catwalk opens with punctuated instrumental music, watching Ulyana Sergeenko take the lead of her fierce army of women. The designer’s outfit symmetry is emphasised by her models' squad, firmly walking towards the camera, all while wearing black padded shoulders garments embellished with delicate lace details. The set transitions when a tie-dye silky dress is paired with a long cream trench coat, followed by a structured blouse matched with high-waist leather capri pants. 

The catwalk continues with tone-on-tone coordinates of long pencil skirts, and handcrafted shirts, cropped blazers with exaggerated flowers ornaments and sheath dresses, all accessorised with seamless organza gloves. The colour palette is rigorously black and white, with some accents of pearl grey. The atmosphere is austere, highlighting once again that dark romanticism that recalls a Soviet Union post-war film noir. 

Ralph & Russo Introduces Nature as a State of Mind

Taking inspiration from life itself, Tamara Ralph takes us into Ralph & Russo Couture Collection 2020/2021, where nature, travel, art and architecture play as the main characters of this year’s dreamlike collection. 

 

Since the fashion industry has been forced to rethink its ways of designing collections, as well as converting runaway shows into digital experiences, the British label sought to find a way to reconnect with the environment. By looking into the Seven Wonders of the World, focusing on the colours and the vibrancy that celebrate these landmarks as a culture, Ralph & Russo Couture Collection instils a sort of escapism from the recent pandemic that forced the whole world to pull the plug. 


Its ethereal designs and pastel colour palettes are proof that travelling with the mind in some of the most special places of the world is still possible. From manually drawing sketches to producing technical effects that enhance prints and textures, each design represents the tradition of fashion couture blended with digital practices.


If the first half of the virtual runaway show only showcases a glimpse of what the collection is about, the second part is all about voluminous, floor-sweeping gowns in pink shades embellished with jewellery details, feathers and tulle, and graciously brought alive by juvenile models fluctuating in front of the camera. The attention is all on volumes, enhanced by ruffles layering and shining gems. The playful atmosphere makes room to two sophisticated figures, wearing contrasting black and white evening dresses from the revealing split. Flowers are a consistent theme in the whole collection, featuring as hair accessories or being part of the clothing embroidery. 

But the real innovation is Hauli, the new avatar created by Ralph & Russo as a symbol of strength, power and positive force for change, debuting as a model in the last few shots of the video. As creating physical collections has now become a challenge, Hauli represents the future of fashion – enabling designers to stimulate their creativity and familiarise with those new technologies that are every day more altering our way of consuming content.  

 

Blooming Through a Pandemic: Giambattista Valli Haute Couture Collection

One of the most established names in the fashion scene, and recurrent presence of Paris Fashion Week, Giambattista Valli introduces this year’s Haute Couture Digital Showcase through black and white footage of Paris, accompanied by the harmonious sound of a piano. The scene is split in two, revealing the first opening dress – an elegant strapless red gown designed with exuberant bows and a floor-length train, anticipating the mastery of the upcoming collection – and views of Paris, the city of lights, home to Valli’s atelier.

As a reinterpretation of nature taking its course, images of frosted leaves and tiny bugs hanging on the window share the screen with maxi floaty dresses from the exaggerated volumes. The glamour and sophistication of Valli’s masterpieces keep on being showcased through ruched tulle, feathers applications and big silky bows accessorised with face-covering ornaments. And if the digital runway show does not want to erase the fear lived during the pandemic, it also aims at celebrating the beauty of the outside world that has never stopped blooming.

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