Though you might think it to see the scribbled clouds and raindrops all over her new collection, Vika Gazinskaya was emphatically not having a depressive episode when she designed her clothes for Spring '13. Rather, the Moscow-based Gazinskaya explained, she found herself traveling quite a bit this past year, and the sketched skies are a record of the things she saw from airplane windows.
Gazinskaya is one of the most interesting designers to come out of Russia, emerging with a fully formed aesthetic when she debuted her label five years ago. Her clothes are sculpturally ladylike and a little silly; she brings a certain naïveté to bear on her collections, but they shouldn't be mistaken for naive. There's a ton of design sophistication undergirding her signature doodle prints, which this season have developed into doodle jacquards. She also has a taste for surreal exaggeration. Plenty of hard thought about patternmaking went into the creation of the giant ruffle running along the collar and sleeve of a cloud jacquard cocktail dress, for instance. Likewise, a flounced shift with a storybook landscape patchworked across it revealed elaborate construction: The flounce was asymmetric and the patchworking built the garment as opposed to being appliquéd on top of it.
But Gazinskaya also has it in her to be straightforwardly appealing. This season, she's got a surefire hit on her hands in the form of her tweed bell dresses, which came in a strapless white and a black tank version. Likewise, a simple gray shift with two oversized ruffles—one at the waist and one at the hem—mixed cuteness and elegance in just the right proportion. You could imagine the iconic, Breakfast at Tiffany's-era Audrey Hepburn in that dress—and, actually, it wasn't too hard to imagine her wearing Gazinskaya's cloud turtleneck and wavy raindrop skirt, either. Humor and chic can sometimes go hand in hand.