Brighton Fashion Week Talks
ALEXEI Izmaylov was one of our designers at BFW this year. I caught up with him during London Fashion Week to find out a little more about one of my favourite collections and the designer behind it.
Vanessa Austin Locke: Tell me about the collection we saw at BFW this year.
Alexei Izamylov: The collection was inspired by my emotional response to the work of Russian artist El Lissitzky, and the scarves represent my interpretation of thoughts stimulated by literature, music and Russian folk illustrations. I believe that fashion and art each have a function, and both kindle an emotional response. Fashion, being different from art, is inseparable from the wearer’s identity.
VAL: Why women’s clothing?
AI: I enjoy the challenge of designing for women. It also gives me an opportunity to create something more flamboyant and outgoing. That is not necessarily the case with menswear, where there are more stylistic limitations.
VAL: What inspires you in general when you are designing?
AI: Everything. When I think of design it is often as a blend of literature, music and art, as well as simple shapes of everyday things and the proportionate beauty of nature.
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VAL: What is your background and training?
AI: I’m predominantly self-taught from the perspective of fashion, but I read Art History at Leeds University and later graduated with an hons degree in Visual Communication.
VAL: What are your goals within the industry, immediate and long-term?
AI: To slowly unravel myself to the world. To share my point of view.
VAL: Tell me about your signature scarves; I understand there are only 101 pieces available in each design.
AI: Club One and One Hundred is a limited edition series. It is done under the Alexei Izmaylov brand, and is currently on sale in boutiques around the world. The show collection was tailored and styled, but its goal was only a suggestion, to be reinterpreted in a variety of novel ways. It is created in limited numbers for those who cherish this approach to art and fashion combined.
VAL: Who are your top three designers at the moment?
AI: The emerging talent from around the world fascinates me, those people who are, like me, striving to share their perspectives with the world. Those who pay attention to detail and keep the art of tailoring alive. As for the already established designers, it is impossible to choose. Like a cinephile who is unable to choose their favourite director, I struggle. But I have loved the work of Raf Simons for Jil Sander. I also admire Sarah Burton for bringing something of her own to the McQueen brand while managing to keep his spirit alive. The two are very much in tune.
VAL: Why is your highlight show from NY, London, Paris and Milan fashion weeks?
AI: I thought the collection by Prabal Gurung at NY Fashion Week was excellently executed. I also very much enjoyed Marc Jacob’s Merry-Go-Round at the Louis Vuitton show in Paris.
VAL: Which city is the fashion capital this season in your opinion?
AI: Each city has once again shone with its own talent, showing what it really stands for, and for that each is a fashion capital in its own right.
VAL: Your women strike me as very strong and feminine. Could you expand for me? Who is the Alexei Izmaylov woman?
AI: I design for the more socially extreme woman, an eccentric full of confidence and vigour. A woman refined by her experiences, yet always yearning for more.
VAL: You are a very hands-on designer, to the extent that you even shot, styled and took care of the postproduction of this shoot by yourself. Why is that? Do you think you will remain that way?
AI: Having a vision is one thing, being able to carry it through to the end is a different story. I am fond of details and enjoy the creative processes of different disciplines. It keeps a fresh perspective and a healthy mind. I enjoy working with my small creative team but with time I am sure it will grow.
VAL: What irritates you about the fashion industry?
AI: Sometimes people see fashion as a commercial tool, but I believe it has more to offer. It is a unique world that has much significance in our lives. Fashion has an important history which is often overlooked.
VAL: Can you tell us anything about your new collection?