A storyteller at heart, Ulyana Sergeenko builds her collections around narratives that weave the personal with the fantastic, history with folklore, biography and invention. Creating a unique world of vast aesthetic depth.
For her SS15 collection, the designer delved into the rich heritage of the former Caucasian republics of Georgia and Armenia, with their cultural mix of West and East, pure beauty, serene landscapes and poetry. The journey is as eclectic as it is emotional for Sergeenko, whose husband hails from Caucasus.
Following a path of poetic associations, similar to the method of Georgian-Armenian Director Sergei Parajanov, whose masterpiece The color of pomegranate is full of visionary ruptures and endless visual surprises, the collection exudes a kaleidoscopic feel that strives on metaphors and allegories. Colors, texture and motifs differ deeply and vary continuously, yet are arranged into a multifaceted and singular whole. The womanly silhouette Sergeenko is known for acts as a trait d’union.
The poetry of Russian XIX century writer Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov, who served in the army in Caucasus, creates a softly militaristic subtext on the sheepskin and broadtail coats embroidered with figures of horses. Swords, daggers and shields appear as oversized jewelry. Handmade embroidery on sinuous dresses reproduce the intricate patterns carved on the stone walls of ancient Orthodox Christian temples and monasteries, lost in the Caucasian mountains like precious pearls. Georgian calligraphy turns into embroidery. The tradition of Georgian comedy cinema, which Sergeenko is particularly fond of, is channeled via mannish suits and casually rumpled hats, created in collaboration with Stephen Jones.
With its commitment to old tradition and customs, the collection has a solemn feel inspired by the paintings of Georgian artist Niko Pirosmans, whose animal images turn into figures of sheep, hens, horses and peacocks on fabrics and accessories. National dance and music inspire the accessories, with the traditional Georgian drum becoming a bag made of lacquered leather, astrakhan fur and silk satin with embroidery in the form of a pomegranate tree and monograms with angels, edged in silk tassels.
Materials are dense and precious: crepe, jacquard silk, silk duchesse, organza, muslin, brocade, velvet, wool, lace, broadtail, sheepskin, patent leather. Pearls, ostrich feathers, onyx, rock crystal, turquoise and agate add further depth and richness. The painterly color palette mixes black and white with flames of fiery red, accents of turquoise, bottle green, navy blue and dashes of pink and gold.
With a poetic touch and exquisite taste for variety, Ulyana Sergeenko pays homage to an unforgettable cultural heritage using her womanly flair as a signature.