Valentin Yudashkin: opening new frontiers in Russian fashion
Designer Valentin Yudashkin is the only Russian couturier who has managed to remain at the cutting edge for more than 20 years, surprising the fashion world with each and every new collection. It appears Yudashkin can handle everything: working on the couture line and prêt-à-porter, releasing jeans, jewelry, and furniture lines, tableware and linens. He regularly presents his collections in Paris and at Moscow Fashion Week, and his boutiques are found all over the world: from France to Hong Kong, America to Moscow. Yudashkin’s couture creations are housed in the Fashion Institute and Design Museum in Los Angeles, the State Historical Museum in Moscow and the Metropolitan Museum in New York. His services in the sphere of fashion earned him the Order of Arts and Letters of the French Republic. And recently, the tireless Yudashkin has taken on the training of novice designers.
You founded your fashion house in the late 1980s and presented your first couture collection in 1991. However, you chose Paris as your first platform, not Moscow.
Not exactly, my first display of my first collection with 150 models took place in Moscow in 1987. Then there were a few haute couture collections: “Petrine Ball,” “Primordial Rus,” and “Ecology.” After that, I went to Paris on the invitation of representatives of the company Faberge, who were interested in my work and collection dedicated to the famous Faberge Egg.
Pierre Cardin himself attended your first show. Not many can boast of such a debut.
Yes, it was a wonderful feeling – excitement, elation, joy, pride. After the show, Cardin came backstage to congratulate me. After that he became my teacher, friend, and mentor. He gave me advice and helped me organize the Paris show. I am indebted to him for the support and our friendship has continued to this day.
Your first collection was called “Faberge”. Other collections that have followed it also refer to Russian history and culture. Does Russian folklore still inspire you today?
Sources of inspiration can be various. For instance, an impression got while traveling, like in the “Africa” collection; a book I read, such as in the “Anna Karenina” collection; or paintings, as in the collections “Rothko” or “Russian Avant-Garde”. I often turn to elements of Russian folk costume and Russian history and traditions. So, the bright decoration of Dymkovo toys became the basis for the creation of the forms of the “Russian Heat” collections, Bazhov’s fairy tales gave me the idea for the prints in the collection “Russian Gems,” and the beauty of the Russian winter determined the silhouettes and decorative details for the collection “Northern Expanses”.
There is such a riot of color and luxury in your collections that you have been compared to Versace more than once. Where does this love for wealth and eclectic luxury come from?
I think it is connected to the fact that there was an acute shortage of color and brightness in fabrics in our fashion for such a long time. Now it is possible to find any kind of material in order to embody even the bravest idea. But I still enjoy working on the decorative details of the collections. They bring a unique accent to any model.
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