Dear Shaded Viewers and Diane,
When in Saint Petersburg last month, I was introduced to the work of Lyudmila Berillo, a Central Saint Martins graduate who, not the first and certainly not the last, opted to move her newborn brand back to her native land. You can quite see how St Pete inspires her – with its dusty watercolours, its spacious squares. I was told that the city’s pastel plasters are meant for the winter, for when the sky grows pale. I wondered, then, if perhaps we’ve got it backwards here, to welcome soft colours mostly only in spring. Milla’s fall 2016 collection, after a milky start, was washed with blush, lilac and mint: millefeuille tulle like rainbow mist, grounded in felted wools. There’s a deliberate fairy-tale cadence to these – they’re outfits Tinker Bell would wear, or bridesmaids donned up with their hair in braids, hands folding napkin sculptures. It’s a theme that came up before in her work, last winter, Milla showed clothing inspired by wartime fairy-tales her Siberian grandmother used to tell. And just like then, this season too, there’s an edge to her sweetness. The airiness of fabrics and hues is balanced by clean cutouts and double-breast flaps, precise geometries like streamlined prospekts. Saint Petersburg was her spoken muse for the winter yet before, too: fall 2014 took its cue from the superposition of modernity and history around town, and a quote by Boris Akunin, that "everything that was existing once and everyone who was living once will remain forever". It applies to the current season as well, which looks at the phases of life like a continuum. The candid clothes of a new generation, the heavy coats of life’s burdens, the sheer, glowing high of rebirth. Lastly, taking place like all of St. Petersburg Fashion Week’s shows at The New Stage of the Alexandrinsky Theatre, the city’s cultural tradition influences the rhythm of a performative presentation, misty and blue-lit, that could almost be seen as the beginning of a play.