Yesterday I met one of Russia’s most influential fashion designer, Mr Slava Zaitsev. Usually compared to other world-renowned designers such as Christian Lacroix, Christian Dior, Pierre Cardin, and Yves Saint Laurent, Zaitsev’s work shows that he deserves the recognition that comes with being a world-famed brand.
During my visit to MBFW Russia, I was lucky to be given the opportunity to have a conversation with the very active 70 something creator. As we entered his work space, I first noticed his dapper outfit, he was well dressed. As I walked up to greet him, I was at first not sure whether I should curtsy or shake his hand, but I quickly decided that a hand shake would suffice. In the two hours I spent with him, trying on hats that Isabella Blow would have loved and coats that were so beautiful that I was blown away, I got to know Zaitsev. One of the things that I discovered about this well spoken man is that technology is very much alive Slava Zaitsev fashion house.
Unafraid to experiment, I was wowed by the prints that he showed me during my visit to his studio. With the help of a computer program he uses technology to develop beautifully original prints. On the creation of the spectacular prints he told me, “I wanted to do something different. So I started doing this. I only started 3 years ago.” I was in awe, not just because his work was beautiful but that a man of his calibre was open to using the latest technology available to him. In my experience, most old school designers shy away from using new technology. They prefer the comfort of the old, which sadly results in them rejecting the new.
As we strolled through his studio, he explained to me how he is all about marrying the old with the new. Proud of his Russian roots, you his love of his country’s history in his work. The underlying thread of Russian Folk style showcases the fusion of mother Russia with his take modernity, a style that has become his signature.
Once dubbed the Red Dior by the French press, the couturier continues to design for politicians, Russian artists and athletes. I look forward to seeing more from the Karl Lagerfeld of Russia, especially when it comes to how he marries fashion with technology. Going forward I can only hope that established fashion houses, that I will not name, take a leaf from this man’s book and embrace the wonders of fashion merging with technology. Mr Slava Zaitsev we salute you.