Thursday, November 8, 2012

Vika Gazinskaya:
On growing up on the tail-end of communism, Twin Peaks and what it means to be a contemporary designer

Picture of Vika Gazinskaya by Tommy Ton of Jak & Jil
Russian designer Vika Gazinskaya is incredible. She takes negative stereotypes of Soviet visual culture– babushka scarves, uniform dressing and functional shoe-wear– and transforms them in modern, playful, perfect items that not only belong in a contemporary, global context but also create it. 

I have admired her work for so many years and I dream of owning one of her pieces (Look 39, Spring 2013 Ready-to-Wear collection, please be mine!) but, more importantly, hope to some time, somehow get a glimpse of her studio and her method. I find her work and her person so inspiring! When her last collection came out, I just though... the hell with it... I am writing and requesting an interview. I never thought she would say yes but... you know what... that's what she said. YES. So here it is!


Your current collection is inspired by travel and the landscapes you observed from high above ground. Where did your travels take you? 

I travel to Paris a lot. London, New York as well. But this year was Miami and St. Barts, LA and Kuwait, Montenegro and Alps, Thailand and Ukraine...and other places...

As the world becomes increasingly transfixed by your design and your imagination, do you feel your work changing? Do you find yourself holding tight to your Russian-ness or breaking away from it? 

Of course, my work is always changing and evolving. I don't ever hold on purpose to any Russian-ness that I might have. My soul stays Russian, but design is international.

Your work is so incredible in its contradictions, so visible and yet in perfect balance – soft AND architectural, child-like AND sophisticated. What are the sources of your aesthetic? How did you arrive to where you are right now aesthetically?

From my childhood, I've always been fascinated by artists who had their own unique world formed. In my teenage years, my conscious turned upside down after seeing Twin Peaks by David Lynch. As I got deep inside that kind of seemingly surreal world, I realized for me it is more alive than the real world! And that how it started working for me then – I fell in love with the “worlds” of Guy Bourdin, Robert Wilson, Peter Greenway… I can continue this list forever…. I never have one single source of inspiration - the whole world inspires me!

Everything that is going on around me influences me as a designer. I've always been playing and experimenting with minimalism and cleanness of lines, and now it's gaining a wide popularity. Of course one should be open 100% to everything and absorb everything that is happening around. But it's also important to differentiate what's real and what's fake, what's beautiful and harmonious and what's filthy, and, finally, what's real art and what's just marketing. I also believe it's important to live and breathe with the air of contemporary world, in order to eventually make a step ahead. But it doesn't mean that one can forget about something that happened before, for example one still has to acknowledge the artists from the past epochs. Many of them serve as a shelter for me to escape from today's frequent tastelessness. I`m just trying to explain what it means to be a contemporary designer.

Did growing up on the tail-end of Communism inspire you to work in fashion? Am I crazy when I observe elements of old communist uniforms in your work? The clean lines, the functional shapes... Yet, so much lighter, modern, ethereal?

It's funny that you see Communist elements in my creations…I've never seen them this way. But thank you for your observation. I`m grateful I actually got to live in the “old good Soviet Union”, when people were nicer and simpler, when there were no traffic on the streets of Moscow, and there were no ugly buildings from the latest Mayor, Luzhkov. Such memories keep my heart warm.

Thank you so much, Vika! Thank you so much, Natalia! 
All collection images c/o Vika Gazynskaya


  1. I really really love this work !

    1. Me too! I like her previous collections too! I really love her sweaters with the fake diamonds!