Russian designer and street-style star Vika Gazinskaya has been known for her inventive, impeccably tailored clothes since her brand first began nearly eight years ago, though her jackets, dresses, and painterly coats will run you anywhere from €700 to €3000 per look. Fortunately, last night the designer debuted her first High Street collaboration with H&M offshoot & Other Stories to be available exclusively at Colette and in & Other Stories boutiques beginning May 15.
The spring 2014 capsule collection of blouses, accessories, and flirty cotton summer dresses cast in Vika’s charming hand-drawn prints ranges from €45 for shorts to €175 for coats. We caught up with the designer at last night’s in-store launch at Colette to talk about her first time working at “a democratic price point,” her street-style beginnings, and her LVMH prize nomination. Click ahead for more and a look at the new collection.
The collection looks gorgeous. How did this collaboration come about?
I received an email from Anna Teurnell [Head of Design at & Other Stories] and Anna Nyren saying that they would love to collaborate with me. Two months later I met the whole team in Stockholm and they showed me mood boards, sketches, prints, and the types of fabrics and textures I love to use. So we chose the final looks, and I worked on patterns with my pattern-maker in my Moscow studio.
Can you talk about your illustrations? They’re so pretty!
I like handmade, naïve-looking drawings, and for my own line I always create my own prints. If you look back at my collections you’ll see that pencil strokes became my signature thing and I thought the polka dots were modern, but classic.
What was the inspiration for the silhouettes?
Since this was my first collaboration and first time working with a democratic price point, I thought a lot about the commercial side and what would sell well. The ‘50s and ‘60s shapes were so feminine — almost every girl loves those decades, right? She also loves polka dots and flowers, and likes to show her femininity by exposing her shoulders and wearing doll-like silhouettes. I put all the clichés together but tried to do them in my own way. We all need nice, breezy tops and dresses for summer, but it is almost impossible to find them at a good price point.
When you launched, street style was a clever way for you to promote your designs. Is street style still important for you?
When I started going to the New York, London, and Paris fashion weeks and wearing my designs I had no idea what a blogger was. The first time Scott Schuman asked me to pose for him I didn’t know anything about the Sartorialist or that he worked for Style.com — that all happened organically, but it helped me so much. I came from a country with no fashion industry, and it was one of the only ways to show the world who I was and what I did.
You’re nominated for the LVMH prize, how has the experience been?
I loved the experience, but at the same time it just became part of my daily work process. So, let’s see what will happen next…
What was it like meeting the judges?
What would you use the prize money for if you won?
I couldn’t explain without going into great detail, but I prefer the other part of the prize — having a consultant for a year. I find that really attractive! Three hundred thousand euros is not enough to build a fashion business, but I think having clever advice increases the value three times.