In the past, Russia has played a supporting role on the international fashion scene, providing inspiration for Western couturiers ranging from Yves Saint Laurent to Coco Chanel. A decade after the fall of the Berlin Wall, however, designers from the former Soviet Union are taking matters into their own hands, leaving behind the boy-meets-tractor aesthetic of communism and carving out a niche of their own.
With their extravagant take on couture, Vladimir Seredin, 33, and Serguei Vasiliev, 30, are paving the way for many of their Slavic colleagues. Seredin & Vasiliev draw on the stylistic legacy of their homeland, stirring up a rich sartorial stew that includes fur-lined, trompe-l'oeil printed coats, elaborate embroideries, and colorful patchwork skirts and jackets. The duo's idiosyncratic version of the little black dress is dipped in glitter and lined in quilted satin, with kimono-shaped sleeves sweeping the floor. To crown these looks at the recent Paris shows, Seredin & Vasiliev created extravagant silver cherub and crystal antler headpieces.
With their eye-popping couture creations leading the attack, backed up by a ready-to-wear line that's currently in the works, Seredin & Vasiliev may just be at the head of a full-fledged Russian invasion.