For Pre- Fall 2017, designer Alena Akhmadullina continued her decade-long tradition of translating traditional Russian folk tales into imaginative collections full of gorgeous craftsmanship and magical imagery. Ms. Akhmadullina is a designer who tells stories through her work, and this season she drew inspiration from The Firebird; a beautiful tale involving a magical bird, a resplendent palace and a royal garden with enchanted golden apples… how fab!
This translated into hand-painted prints of leaves and apples, embroidered birds, feathers and flowers, furry patchwork appliqués and elaborate intarsia knits. She based her looks in rich shades of blue, deep green, ochre, gold and black, and constructed them out of lux velvets, cashmere, silk tulle, satin, dupioni silk and fur.
Silhouettes were also suitably plush, with relaxed, slightly outsized shapes that echoed the look of pyjamas, nightdresses and robes- a look that pushed the sumptuous, dreamy feel of the collection even further. There were some traditionally regal touches to be seen in the form of sweeping robes, ruffled dresses and enormous quilted Mongolian- style coats, while cozy sweaters, soft trousers and sheer button- front blouses added a modern edge that brought all the fantasy into our time.
Oddly enough, the pieces that I was drawn to the most were the simpler ones- plainer knits, separates and the embellished slipdresses- these were the pieces that I could see people turning to time and again. Who wouldn’t love sumptuous, luxurious staples that would add a little fantasy to every day situations.
Alena Akhmadullina’s Pre- Fall 2017 collection was a beautifully illustrated ode to Russian culture, like a Faberge egg of the fashion world. Apart from being fabulously designed and immaculately constructed, it allowed really Ms. Akhmadullina to showcase her extensive couture training to best effect. The painted patterns were beautiful and imaginative, while all the fur embroideries and layered knitwear were spellbinding in their precise execution.
Our Favourites: a bright blue handpainted slipdress, a black sweater with a furry patchwork wolf at the front, a dark green quilted coat with a painted apple print, a gold handpainted brocade slipdress, a black silk coat with a painted apple print and fur collar, a black silk coat with intricate Firebird embroidery at the back, a long dark green cashmere robe with feather embroidered lapels (love the blue version as well), a gold handpainted brocade robe with satin lapels, a yellow slipdress with an embellished black tulle overlay, a black button- front jacket with embroidered birds on the pockets, an embroidered blue cashmere sweater with matching trousers and a bright blue handpainted overcoat trimmed in fur.
Xx – Ana