Moscow born madamoiselle, Veronica Basharatyan, launched her impeccably elegant and uniquely tailored womenswear label in the UK last season with her Iranian inspired feminine ‘Surreal Hidden Beauty’ collection. Spindle were given the chance to talk to Russia’s reigning young designer about her new collection, hidden emotions, romance and Tom Ford.
Do you design with the client in mind or for yourself or a dolly mixture? I always design with a certain idea in mind. All my collections are influenced by certain traditions, therefore the first thing that comes into my mind is an idea, the design process and choosing of the fabric than wraps around this idea.
Who do you envision wearing your clothing? Do you have a preferred client? My perfect client is an intelligent, self confident woman, who is stable and has certain goals in life. When she walks into the room, she knows everyone is looking at her, she is not afraid to attract attention. Despite being so strong, dominating and powerful, she is also very feminine.
Give us a hint of what to expect from your AW12 collection? My AW collection is influenced by traditional dance clothing of one of the most ancient nations in North Caucasus, named Balkarians.
What drew you to fashion? I’ve always wanted to do fashion, but mostly as art. I truly believe that creating ready-to-wear clothing with an artistic touch to it is still possible today, even though we live in a time where the fashion industry is overloaded with ideas.
How important has London been in developing your aesthetic? London has been the starting point of my career. I couldn’t imagine having started my career anywhere else. London gives you the freedom to create and this is why people here are much more creative than anywhere else. In London you can get bankers who work till late during the week, but can still take a photography course on weekends, or visit a newly opened art gallery on a Friday night. You will never get that in Moscow!
Tell me a little about your life in Moscow, both in terms of its influence on where you are today and personally? After starting my business in London, I decided to get into the Moscow Fashion scene and have shown my SS12 collection at the Mercedes Benz fashion Week Russia.
Do you think there is much we should be taking note of in Russian Fashion? I wouldn’t talk of Russian Fashion as a term, as there still isn’t any identity. Russia is very rich in traditions and has got an old history in fashion. Historical Russian fashion has been used million times by various designers around the world. Unfortunately Russian designers do not use what is hidden inside the country but rather look at European designers and get influenced by their ideas!
Where do you base yourself or do you divide your time between places? I am based in London, but working on a couple of projects in Moscow too. I try to work with the Internet as much as possible and coordinate all the pre-event work through skype and email. I only travel for important events and exhibitions or catwalks.
You studied at prestigious colleges of fashion over here and in Italy, anything you would like to say about your experiences as a fashion student? Studying fashion is a very interesting thing to do. The only thing you actually learn while studying fashion is how to be brave and certain about what you do. You can’t learn to have taste or style! You can only learn how to research and prove your ideas to others!
How has your style developed? The hardest thing for a designer is to develop a certain style. It took me 6 years and a lot of time spent among fashion/art people to figure out what my style is. It transformed from aggressive multi coloured psychedelic print to sleek, geometric shaped body con silhouettes in neutral, toned down colour palette.
Your favourite garment? The hand printed cream silk jersey dress from my SS12 collection – Surreal Hidden Beauty.- I spent hours and hours in the workshop trying to figure out the proportion of puff binder to be used in the dye to create the puffed effect that I wanted. I would say it has been the hardest and most unique dress I have made so far. Can also mention the 15 metre braid dress-fully hand sewn and hand knitted. I spent about 3 weeks doing braids and then sewing them up.
Do you you think your economic background has made you a stronger businesswoman, having a better grasp on the commercial side as well as the creative? Studying economics obviously helped me with starting my own business. It disciplined me and made me learn how important time management is.
For your Spring/Summer 2012 collection, you created a luxurious look that took the necessity of concealment for Middle-Eastern Women as a starting point. Can you tell us why? Was it to express your frustration against censorship and that women were having their appearance controlled by men? Or do you think what is hidden can be more fascinating than what is revealed and showing how elegant one can look within those confines? Or a play on both and other ideas? My main point was to break the stereotype created by the media about the Middle East and Middle Eastern women in particular. I chose a restricting movement cut but combined it with a very light, feminine colour palette (neutrals,cream, lilac). I wanted to show how a woman can be covered in fabric from head to toe, but at the same time look feminine and modern. It was a new take on the ‘covering up’ issue – keeping the idea, but portraying it in a new way. Due to the stereotypical imagery of the Middle East (and Iran in particular) in the media, people can’t see the beauty and deep poetic sense that is hidden in the culture. That is why I used famous Iranian songs and poems as prints on modern clothing. Each piece from SS12 had a certain message it was giving to the customer- a love story dress, a ‘missing my beloved poem’, a song about loneliness.. All the emotions we hide underneath the usual everyday smile.
Highlights of your career thus far? The first prize that I won in October 2011 – the Best Young Designer Award in Russia.
Do you take much inspiration from art, music, films and literature? Any in particular you’d like to name? I love watching French and Iranian films. They are always unique and leave you with a lot of unanswered questions.
Anyone you admire in fashion design? I think when a person is truly talented, he is talented in everything he does. That is exactly what I think of Mr Tom Ford.
What makes your heart sing? I’m a family person, so seeing my beloved ones happy makes my heart sing!
I particularly love your wedding dresses, would you say that your a romantic? Yes, I definitely am.
What are your plans for 2012? Presenting my AW 12-13 collection ‘Balkaria’ on 4 different fashion arenas: London, Milan, Paris and Moscow.