Ulyana Sergeenko welcomed guests to her couture collection with a Georgian banquet.
Pomegranates, figs, cheese, wine or tea from a Russian samovar — and the famous khachapuri, a sort of Georgian cheese focaccia — were served at a little suite at the Bristol laid out with colorful Russian rugs that the designer had brought from her own home. “I wanted this to feel like a Georgian house, very personal and intimate,” Sergeenko explained.
The banquet gave everyone the chance to view her craftsmanship up close, but the young couturier also noted that it didn’t feel right to host a runway show while Russia, her home country, was in economic turmoil. “Two-thousand fourteen was such a good year for us. We were so proud, and then, at the end of the year, half of [our revenue] was gone. I still don’t understand why,” she said, venting her frustration over the depreciation of the ruble.
Her spring couture collection was a celebration of Caucasian folklore. Fantasy embroideries on bell-shaped silk gowns and corset dresses were as rich as the collagelike sets of Georgian film director Sergei Parajanov. Sergeenko said it took two months to apply the little beads to a lean navy-blue dress with a bolerolike top, which harked back to a 19th-century painting. The collection was indefinably retro, but its architectural silhouettes kept it modern. In one instance, Sergeenko applied the shape of Russian Orthodox domed cathedrals to a long satin cape in baby pink, which she matched with a sober bustier dress. No doubt: It would take a gutsy lady to take it out for a walk.