Take the grandeur and glamour of Russia's past and infuse with a little British edge and the result is a design collaboration worth talking about.
Choo choo. All aboard. The Izmaylova Express spring/summer 2012 collection has arrived to London Fashion Week. The journey began the moment we walked into the Vauxhall Fashion Scout catwalk show space, which was transformed into a train station evoking memories of a romantic age.
The colour palette was inspired by the warm hues of Hawaii — melting gold, burnt orange, dust pink, nutmeg, cream and deep sea blue. “The natural landscape of the island and the striking colour spectrum are invigorating and refreshing,” said Nathanael Gam, co-founder and chief executive, who strived to channel the romanticism that the Hawaiian Islands represent. Antonina Izmaylova, the brand’s creative director, added, “This new collection focuses on the contrasting transition from darkness into light. Izmaylova remains sharply focused on craftsmanship and this is evident even more so this season.”
The pair, who graduated from London’s famed Central St. Martin’s College of Art and Design, incorporated luxurious lightweight materials into their bold, dreamy creations. From cascading silk to elegant satin Duchess to floating chiffon, the cut and sophistication of each look was remarkable considering the brand is just a year old and this is their debut catwalk collection. The use of light-reflecting Swarovski crystals, feathers, leather and suede further fused a touch of the avant-garde into their designs. In terms of technique, the duo was inspired by the dimensions of a flawlessly cut diamond and a faultless silhouette, which translated into looks with sharp hip panelling, structured corsetry, elongated pleated trousers and cascading fishtail skirts that formed the perfect modern hourglass shape.
“We wanted to do something very exotic, so we started with colours. We also wanted to do something very flowy. Since we are presenting our first main collection, we wanted to create a concept from Moscow to London — that’s why we see this train theme. Antonina is from Moscow and I’m from Paris, but we both graduated here in London,” said Gam. When asked about the casting for the show, which featured a bevy of diverse beauties, Gam said, “The Izmaylova girl is diverse and global.”
LOVE magazine’s fashion editor, Victoria Young, styled the collection, blending old fashioned glamour with a British cool edge. Each look was complete with Gina shoes, a brand that has been making glamorous footwear for over 50 years. “Working with Victoria is like working with an old friend. We have fun together. Finishing the collection at 4 a.m. has been one of the most memorable moments,” said Izmaylova, who credits Daphne Guinness as one of her favourite style icons.
Photos by Alice Luker