If we make are to pull out that old chestnut cliche about female designers designing having a personal style that is concurrent and in tandem image to what they design – i.e. they design things that they themselves would primarily wear, then Vika Gazinskaya is another femme to add to a very long list indeed. In fact, to most, Vika may be known for what she wears miles ahead of what she designs. Get into the photo pit that is the Tuileries during Paris Fashion Week and street style photographers huddle around shrieking "Vika is here!" upon her arrival as she does make quite an entrance (evident by the image Google search of her name – I've pulled up one particularly stunning image shot by Citizen Couture). Her preferred weapon of street style attack is her penchant for a simple and graphic line of silhouette, complimented by her distinctive hairstyle and make-up and a clarity of accessories.
I've checked out her previous collections after finally getting the answer to the question of "What DOES Vika DO apart from looking incredibly awesome?" a few seasons ago. However, it's her latest A/W 10-11 collection presented in Paris back in Feb and in Moscow in May, that has really caught my eye. That simple and graphic line that she favours herself is most fervently present in the collection. It's swooping in and around the hips accentuating and in some cases cartoonishly exaggerating proportions. There's no getting away from the referential elements of Gazinskaya's work though – Crist√≥bal Balenciaga in particular seems to stick out (anybody excited about the Crist√≥bal Balenciaga exhibition opening in New York this November???).
That said, if we're to add another strand to the prim n' proper and minimal stories that are flourishing thick and fast for A/W 10-11, and if there are a gazillion collections referencing the Helmut Lang of the 90s, then seeing inklings of the Balenciaga of yesteryear in Gazinskaya's work is no bad thing at all. I especially like her point of view in the placements of volume on the body, as well as the proposition of silhouettes that most would regard as 'awkward'. Then again, you put the ensemble on the designer herself and somehow you'll be convinced that a mid-calf flared out skirt with a long sleeved untucked top over it works. She's also somehow reconfigured the tulip skirt for me by combining it with a pencil skirt shape and making it incredibly structured. On the subject of outerwear which is in abundance here (especially worn as dresses…) It would be an oxymoron to be waxing lyrical about them whilst typing with fingers that are sweating into the keys but they are undeniably lovely.
Vika Gazinskaya is currently stocked in colette and she will be taking over a window during couture week too so I'll definitely check it out in the flesh. No doubt she'll be hopping around Paris making flash bulb waves but perhaps from next season, we'll be seeing more of her work being photographed too.