A collection “absolute but inconsistent and friendly and beautiful.”
Fashion has always been the calling of recent Omsk Fashion Design School graduate Grigoriy Korobeynikov. In fact, a career that does not involve fashion never held any attraction for him. On the last year of his course, with this clear goal in mind, he channelled both his love for fashion and intense interest in unconventional materials to create a fascinating womenswear collection, Holy Mermaids.
Initially attracted to the new glam looks of Thierry Mugler and Philip Treacy, Grigoriy saw inspiration in everything from scuba diving suits to religion and sea shells. The result is a high-tech vision of the future which is undeniably strange and yet uncannily familiar or, as Grigoriy explains absolute but inconsistent and friendly and beautiful.
Grigoriy, your collection is very edgy and futuristic – what were you trying to achieve with your designs?
The style of my collection mixes sporty and romantic. It was important for me to work with the details. I worked the details in a way that allows people to become immersed in the clothes, to become part of my designs. It was also important for me to get a costume feel into the collection while not ‘modifying’ the body too much. I wanted to show the woman body in all its natural beauty… although I understand you might think that’s strange when you see the mouth gags and the high platform shoes! The viewer is supposed to say, ‘This is not a human!’ and I’ll tell them that this suit with its metallic fabrics and additional devices is the future. I built on this theme to try and create something that is absolute but inconsistent and friendly and beautiful. The aim of my collection is to extend modern trends and expand our conception of wearable clothing.
Where did the inspiration for this collection come from?
For me it was important to find enough material to feed me throughout, to feed me for the entire process of designing the collection. I was inspired by scuba diving suits, especially their shape close to the human body. I was also inspired by religion; religion in the sense that it is clean and bright. I love using non-traditional materials, for me exploring those materials is a form of self-expression. I wanted to use seashells; this led me to the idea of mermaids. Mermaids represent hurt, vice and the devil, and at the same time purity and tenderness. I saw a connection between the difficulties faced by mermaids who have no legs and that of fashion models having to negotiate a catwalk in their high shoes. So footwear became really important to my collection. I wanted to create an elongated silhouette. The ‘hooved’ shape of the shoes has a direct association with tailed mermaids but also ties in with my religious inspirations.
Where do you envision your designs being worn?
I aimed to create a collection which mixes ready to wear garments with avant-garde pieces. My garments may at first seem more suited for shows and performances, like costume, however, if you remove the headgear and footwear, the clothes themselves are actually quite wearable by … normal people.
Your collection is undeniably different, have people reacted to it in the way you expected?
I am glad that my clothes are different, and that people recognize this.
I like to see the surprise on a woman’s face, whether negative or positive, when she sees my clothes. I love my collection but I do not think it is quite perfect. As it is I did not manage to translate all I wanted to say and I would love to be able to go back and fix some specific problems, such as the length of the dresses for example…
Designing a final collection can be a trying time for a young designer, tell us about your experience and process.
I started designing the collection by choosing materials and used them to compile a mood board. I found dense, thick knits, dry natural leather, synthetic hair, shells, nylon mesh and metal inserts which all helped to define my collection. I then checked the latest collections and researched an up-to-date range of silhouettes and shapes. After developing my sketches I began making my designs, ‘constructing’ my garments. So far I have approached each collection differently; I do not have a set plan. Designing a collection strikes me as a fickle process full of surprises!
What advice would you give to students about to embark on their final collections?
Creating my collection taught me how important it is to work with the material itself. This enables you to become aware of any difficulties in the manufacturing process, which can then be addressed to produce clean and strong collection.
But my best advice – which I also repeat to myself – would be: paint more, observe more and sew more! Experience is the most reliable and fool proof education!
Your collection deals extensively with the subject of the future, what are your thoughts on the future of fashion?
In my opinion, the main problem today is a lack of creativity on the runways. The fashion industry offers no modern vision and it is often difficult to distinguish between designers.
Are we so unwilling to take risk?
There are so many creative young people who remain unknown; they cannot create clothes that people would wear simply because they are not given the chance! I’m not saying that everyone should be wearing crazy outfits but they should be offered interesting ideas and garments that they can fit and adapt to their life.
And what is next in your future?
My long term aim is to set up my own label. I am about to start an internship at a fashion house after which I will go to China where I would like to become familiar with stage costumes. My main goal is to create clothing that can be worn but which will be different from the rest! I want to put all the social, political and other problems of the modern world into my clothes. My main aim at the moment is to get a great deal of experience and knowledge to build my brand.