For her first collection as a correspondent member on the Paris couture calendar, Ulyana Sergeenko walked a darker, less romantic path.
Inspired by the Karelia region of Russia’s Northwest, with its lakes, dense, dark forests and heritage steeped in myth, her shadowy silhouettes combined sharp angles with bust-skimming corseted bodices in a palette of steely grays, cool blues, silver and black. Leather corsets, garter belts and stocking boots nodded to erotica, perhaps intended to enhance the sense of mystery, while models’ faces were covered with hand-knitted mesh balaclavas adorned with pearls and crystals.
In continuity with her spring collection, silhouettes and graphic elements nodded to the 1920s, while Sergeenko’s plunging necklines stepped further back in time, to the early 19th century.
Her embellishments, made by traditional Russian craft workshops, were also less whimsical, echoing the starker silhouettes with geometrical shapes intended to evoke the shingles of Kizhi Pogost, an elaborate domed church on the island of the same name. These were accompanied by mystical symbols referencing solar symbols intended to ward off evil, as seen on the layers of undulating fringed beading on a corset, or in the perforated motif on a dramatic leather coatdress.