Ulyana Sergeenko seems to exist in her own world. Actually, most of the time, she seems to exist in a Mikhail Bulgakov novel. There is always an element of magic realism to the doll-faced Russian designer, expressed through well-balanced inspirations in her collections. While she is never quite the Soviet nostalgic, she also never gives in to the opulence of contemporary Russian clichés (although, at her most flamboyant moments, she enjoys walking that thin red line). That harmony was particularly apparent in her latest collection, which marked the 10 year anniversary of her brand.
Sergeenko staged her show at the Parisian Cirque d’Hiver, a dreamy 19th century dome, completely decorated in red velvet and dark wood inside. Natalia Vodianova, one of Sergeenko’s closest friends, opened the show in a midi taffeta bustier dress, very Anna Karenina meets Soviet partisans marching through Red Square. The bustier, worked in its most graphic, austere way, was indeed the most striking feature of the collection, almost present in every one of the looks, counterbalanced by taffeta draping, embroidery and Russian lace (backstage, the designer proved she’s a bit of a nerd for traditional details as she explained the difference between Vologda lace and Yelets lace. But then again, this is a woman who collects traditional Russian shawls).
In long gowns, Sergeenko successfully tried her hand at bias-cut in a striking red velvet piece and a flowy transparent one, obviously worn with a structured corset underneath. The designer later credited stylist Edward Enninful as 'the magic ingredient' in the collection - but the whole recipe wouldn’t have worked without the authenticity that the designer brought to every single element in the collection.