It has been a year since Ruslan Baginskiy took the fashion world by storm, presenting his inaugural couture collection at the Hôtel de Crillon in Paris. There, attendees saw firsthand the incredible attention to detail and playful mix of fabrics that the Ukrainian milliner brings to his designs—from plush leopard-print bucket hats to sleek leather boy caps to checkered berets. But in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, he had to not only assess the best course of action to showcase his follow-up, but his design strategy too.
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“The global lockdown made it possible to slow down, look around, give ourselves time to learn,” Baginskiy said in a statement. “I was always inspired by the energy of local workshops, where knowledge about ancient techniques has been kept for generations. There is almost no place for them in the world of high speeds. I want to preserve their artisan heritage.”
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This thinking resulted in a seven-piece collection—dubbed TSVIT—that echoes the wild, sinuous forms found in nature. Instead of sturdy chapeaus that are ideal for everyday use, Baginskiy created ornate headpieces adorned with upcycled gilded florals that wrap around the face, along with jewelry made in collaboration with Rockah. According to him, the entire lineup reflects Ukrainian culture in the 19th and early-20th centuries, “when one of the most spectacular decorations for the bride was a wreath made from the remains of the harvest.” This sentiment was punctuated by the images he produced to highlight his second couture outing.
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Working with photographers Tania Shcheglova and Roman Noven (a.k.a., Synchrodogs) and stylist Julie Pelipas, Baginskiy presented 11 images that fully capture the extravagance associated with couture. One shot depicted a model reclining regally in a desert, draped in a crimson-red sheath; another revealed a model atop a horse, overlooking a picturesque sunset, embroidered chiffon covering her entire body; and another had a model standing in a pool of pink and blue, dressed in a black form-fitting frock with a gold wreath framing her face.
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Despite the setback of not being able to show his collection at an in-person event, Baginskiy found a great virtual alternative to get his vision across. To wit: The images perfectly captured his nature-inspired theme, and solidified his ascendancy in the fashion industry.
This story first appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.