INTERVIEW WITH YANA MARKOVA
Hailing from Russia, Yana Markova is taking the worlds of Fashion and Entertainment by storm, with the most beautifully intricate and dramatic one of a kind headpieces. Her artisanal takes on History and Fantasy have been met with critical acclaim, with her designs being featured on the Silver Screen in Cannes.
Fated & Fabled were privileged enough to interview the supremely talented phenomenon herself and here’s what we learned!
Alexander The Great, Photographed by Dima Ryazanov
Kokoshnik, Photographed by Ilya Benton
What draws you to designing headdresses?
I have a Designer’s Degree and I worked for ten years for a big company designing women’s clothing and accessories. I decided I wanted to create something unique to me. Of course, there is a big difference between clothes and headdresses but after I finished my work at that company, I wanted to find myself, so I decided to focus on headdresses.
So it was intuitive? What about the process of designing head pieces did you find more interesting than designing clothes?
Yes. I feel like an artist and I am also a painter. I feel like this is the same process, but in painting I uses brushes; in headdress designing I used my hands also, but I need more time, to place a flower here and there, before going back and studying it from a distance.
So you treat it sculpturally. Is it a translation of painting for you? Do you think your pieces transcend the space between fashion and art and do you think they exist together, or separately?
I think together, but it leans more to art. Fashion is wearable and it is more casual in some sense, but Art is not.
How do you approach a headpiece that is not necessarily functional in terms of everyday or casual fashion?
It depends…because usually I do not question it, but I did have a client who was a singer, and she asked me to make her something for her performance that was easy to dance in, so I made something light and wearable for her. But if I do my own collection, I do not think about this. It is Art and this is my fantasy.
When you are creating your pieces, do you draw inspiration from other cultures?
Of course, because when I take a trip to a new country, I visit museums and their costume collection. I archive the experience, so maybe in the future it could influence a collection.
Is there any one culture or trip in particular that has been influential to your work?
I can show you. I have this headpiece inspired by the drama of Anna Karenina and this other headpiece with the roses is about when she was in love.
So do you build from a narrative and source your material from that?
Not necessarily. With the pieces on Anna Karenina, I was interpreting emotions inspired by her, like the dramatic side of her or when she was in love. It can also depend on the material I use. I need to be inspired by material first and then I make my decisions around the material. So emotion is not necessarily important all the time.
Are you interested in how these designs can transform one’s identity?
Of course. You can try one and notice how different it makes you feel. This is important. You walk differently and it makes you very aware of your body. This is magic.
How do you perceive your pieces in contemporary culture?
I think it could exist in any time – in editorials, in a museum or gallery – they are timeless because they are an Art piece, not a hat.
Do you collaborate with clothing designers?
In Russia, designers don’t like me because the headpieces take attention away from their clothes. My work is better received in London in that respect.
You have designed for different productions like films, theatre and music videos; how has this evolved or challenged your work, both conceptually and technically?
I created headpieces for an international film about Mata Hari, and it was challenging because I needed to create pieces that were historically accurate to Mata Hari’s time period and the costumes worn back then. I searched for materials that were very similar to or from that time period and very time, I try to work with a new material because it’s important for a designer to show what they can do. For example, in this piece with metal flowers, I first drafted the petals and then sent them out to have leather cuts made from them. It is important for me that when people look at my work, they understand what it is made of.
Do you feel your work is addressing any western ideas of gender?
I don’t think of the male. I mostly think of the female. A lot of editorials use men to model my pieces though. I could design for a man and I would use the same materials. I can express a man in love or a man at war. It is still me with different feelings and that will always translate.
YANA MARKOVA WAS INTERVIEWED BY ANASTASIA XIROUCHAKIS FOR FATED & FABLED, THE IMMORTAL ISSUE