Tag Archives: Fashion Design

From Ukraine to Hollywood: Costume Designer Viktoriia Vlasenko

Viktorria Vlasenko
Costume Designer Viktoriia Vlasenko

Now an in-demand global costume designer, Ukraine-born Viktoriia Vlasenko first discovered her love and innate talent for her craft when she was just 8 years old. Vlasenko used her spare time to make party clothes for herself, her mother and her dolls, she even designed to suit her younger brother wore to his graduation.

Keen to continue her love of costume design, Vlasenko completed a Bachelor’s degree in fashion design at the Milan Institute of Design IED (Istituto Europeo di Design) which is among the top 7 universities in the world which specialize in fashion design.

After she graduated from the prestigious university, Vlasenko went full speed ahead and participated in a number of fashion shows and causes. She showed a collection at the Fashion Show 2015 New Talents Vogue Milan for young designers, and even participated in the No War project. The No War project was something very close to her heart, as it allowed her to protest against the war in Ukraine. Her impressive creative contributions to the project were also published in the “No War” book, which sold over 100,000 copies.

Viktoriia Vlasenko is a global sensation, as her work goes a lot further than simply Milan and her home country of Ukraine. Some of her work includes creating costumes for high-profile theatre productions, philharmonic societies, music videos and more. Among her many highlights as a costume designer is creating the breathtaking wardrobe for the cast of the production of “Alice in Wonderland” directed by Dmitriy Obednokov, which was held at the Ukraine Philharmonic with musical support from the chamber choir.

Viktoriia Vlasenko
Actors from “Alice in Wonderland” in costumes designed by Viktoriia Vlasenko

She has dressed stars such as Latin-Grammy-nominated singer and actress Natalia Oreiro for the red carpet, and has designed for SaM (Samvel Arzumanov) and his Freedom International label.

Vlasenko also designed dazzling costumes that singer Olga Pechko, the winner of the All-Ukrainian competition, wore during her performances earlier this year while on tour across Ukraine. Pechko discovered Vlasenko’s unique style after stumbling upon one of the designer’s doll collections, an area of design that she has become increasingly well known for over the years.

“She saw my Forged Iron Dummies collection and envisioned them as garments for her show and then asked me to design her costumes,” recalls Vlasenko.

Viktoriia Vlasenko
Forged Iron Dummy by Viktoriia Vlasenko

In addition to designing countless theatrical productions and costumes for the stars, Vlasenko has been tapped as the costume designer on an impressive list of films including multi-award winning director Catharine Lin’s (“Twenty Years After”) romantic film “Mr. Heart” starring Greyson Todd (“Mind, Body and Bullshit,” “Let Me Go”) and Ivan Sharudo (“The Lincoln”). As every project is unique in itself and requires something completely different to take it the next level, Vlasenko’s creative process understandably varies from project to project.

When it comes to designing costumes for the cast of a film production, like that of the upcoming Ukrainian film “Unworld,” Vlasenko says, “I read the scenario; then I learn the subject of costume and film epoch.. Then I think over the ideas, calculate the production and how much time it will take, then start to draw the design, select fabric and materials. After this – purchase of materials and the costume production itself after agreement of the design with the film director.”

Viktoriia Vlasenko
Costume for “Unworld” designed by Viktoriia Vlasenko

As the costume designer on “Unworld,” an upcoming urban fantasy film directed by Mykhailo Andriiets, Vlasenko created a series of highly-technical costumes. While “Unworld” depicts a war between futuristic robots equipped with powerful digital technology and the mythical monsters of yore, the dystopian film has an underlying message of unity. In the midst of an all out war, the film’s seemingly disadvantaged human characters band together and use the robot’s digital technology in order to bring down the established order.

Bringing to mind images of films like “V for Vendetta” and “Blade Runner,” but placing her own unique spin on things, Vlasenko’s costumes for “Unworld” are incredibly stylized; and they’re a key in transporting the audience into such a far-out world. You can get a sneak peak into Vlasenko’s designs for the film from the clip below.

“Viktoriia created the concept images, designed the costumes, coordinated accessories and worked out the technical elements for the costumes to work for the actors performances, she pretty much did the work of a concept artist, costume designer, technologist, seamstress, and prop master,” says Ukrainian director Mykhailo Andriiets.

“Working with Viktoriia is inspiring… you can not see where the boundaries of her talent and optimism ends. She is a great professional because of her boundless imagination and diligence… She believes in success and does everything possible to achieve it.”

Though Vlasenko has made a strong name for herself in Ukraine, her unique skill as a costume designer has also attracted the attention of filmmakers in the US, such as Avi Agarwal (“Pieces”) who tapped Vlasenko as the costume designer on his 2016 dramatic comedy film “Loose Ends” starring Justine An from the film “A World of Contradictions.” Awarded at the 2016 Hollywood Boulevard film Festival, “Loose Ends”  depicts a young collegiate partier who’s potential futures flash before his eyes during different encounters over the course of the film, with the most rattling outcome being one of total vagrancy.

In stark contrast to her work on “Unworld,” Vlasenko’s task as the costume designer on “Loose Ends” required her to err on the side of minimalism to create a more realistic wardrobe in support of the story.

Vlasenko says, “I watched the vagrants and homeless people around Los Angeles, taking note of how they behaved and what they wore, as well as that of  prisoners. This project was actually very simple for me, but this is exactly what the film director wanted, it was his vision of the project.”

Always working in support of the story– that is the true role of the costume designer, as well as for anyone else working on a film crew, something Vlasenko knows all about. While her wildly outrageous designs for films like “Unworld” reveal her capacity as a creative, her ability to let the story guide the way is tantamount to the success of the films she works on.

“I can work with various materials, which some other costume designers tend to be afraid to work with,” Vlasenko says. “I can invent, implement and realize my designs, using my own hands to bring them life, I can make a more cost-effective costume design budget when I have to.”

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UK Artist Katie Bright’s “Pre-Love Past Loves”Lights Up New York’s Melrose Ballroom

Showgirls_by_Kaliisa Conlon
Katie Bright in one of her hand made wolf garments in “Showgirls” shot by Kaliisa Conlon

 

There is an “art” that comes with fashion, be it style or design, which is why the transition from fashion to art was a smooth one for creative mastermind and performer Katie Bright, also known by her artist name, Miss BrightSide. The extraordinary artist recently held a runway performance exhibiting her art pieces at New York’s Melrose Ballroom entitled “Pre-loved Past Loves.”

The show consisted of 7 models, starring Miss Brightside herself, all dolled up and sporting unique dresses each constructed with various soft, plush fur-like, wolf mask designs, all hand sewn and crafted by the artist. Each unique mask represents Miss Brightside’s previous lovers and conveys her love for fantasy, play and storytelling.

The British born, 36 year old artist originally graduated with a B.A. in Fashion, and designed for major Italian fashion brand United Colors of Benetton, as well as celebrated Australian fashion designer Akira Isogawa, whose fashion designs are displayed at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum.

“Over the years most of the fashion collections I have created have been transmuted from work seen in galleries. Whether it was a colour palette from a painting or clothing informed by a sculpture,” says Bright regarding her designs, which were inspired by other art works.

Bright’s fixation and zeal for art led to her evolution as a visual artist and performer. In 2012, she decided to put together her first solo exhibit “My Fairytale Perspective on Love” with aMBUSH gallery, which was a sensation with over 1,000 supporters. Bright’s phenomenal success confirmed her footprint in the art world and allowed her to pursue her Masters in Fine Art at the esteemed Central Saint Martins in London. The renowned art and design school is known for such distinguished alumni as designer and “Project Runway” judge Zac Posen, singer -songwriter PJ Harvey, rapper MIA, artist Lee Wagstaff, and the illustrious designer Alexander McQueen.

Reminiscent of prominent artists such as Andy Warhol and Banksy, Brightside utilizes iconography and visual imagery to express her message in her art work. She says, “I would describe myself as a performance and installation artist interested in iconography, Hollywood, fairytales and feminine representation.”

However, for Brightside, it’s the subject matter of scopophilia (the pleasure or love of looking) that is near and dear to her heart as scopophilia is the driving force behind most of her art pieces, with the female, in this case iconic Disney characters such as Minnie Mouse, Aerial the mermaid, and Jessica Rabbit, as the objects of desire that are being gazed upon.

Throughout her first exhibit, Brightside used a screen printing technique, applying her prints onto a mirror, to reflect her enchanted, fairytale theme. The artist’s explanation was that, “I would hope the audience could entertain the position of a voyeur or scopophiliac. There is also the view that through my journey the observer could interpret their position of being a woman.”

The visual artist continues to play with iconic imagery and the topic of scopophilia by pushing the subject to new boundaries as Miss Brightside opened her latest New York art performance by coming out to the classic song “I Want to Be Loved by You” by Marilyn Monroe (from the Oscar nominated picture Some Like It Hot), wearing a white wedding dress, along with a blonde short wig, to personify the Hollywood legend.

Check out the live performance below:

“I believe Marilyn Monroe developed a formula. Famous for the bleach blonde hair, Nike ‘swoosh’ eyebrows, a full red lip pout and that iconic mole. Monroe’s ‘perfecting oneself’ beauty regime has been reproduced over the decades; whether blonde or brunette, we all accentuate what God gave us, and for some, to the point of becoming unrecognizable to our own mothers, ” says Bright, who intends to develop a full series of work on the voluptuous icon.

Aside from taking the art world by storm, Miss Brightside also has her designs set to premier this summer at the Surftides Lincoln City Hotel in Oregon, and at Tart Restaurant and Farmer’s Daughter Hotel in Los Angeles. She’s also currently organizing her third art exhibit entitled “Preloved II,” and if her show is anything like her first exhibit Miss Brightside will be sure to make room for new art, and fashion, enthusiasts alike.