Haute Couture: two new guest members in July

The labels Ilja and Ulyana Sergeenko will both benefit from increased visibility during the next haute couture week in Paris. The executive committee of the Chambre Syndicale has elected the houses as new guest members, affording them the opportunity to present their collections during couture week in July. The invitations serve as welcome recognition for both designers, who are opposed in terms of their styles, and who have already been putting on fashion shows in Paris for several years.

A look by Ilja Visser

Dutch designer Ilja Visser has held her own shows during Paris’ haute couture week for the past two years, although not as an official participant. Now, she has joined the very exclusive official calendar. She studied at the ArtEZ Institute of the Arts in Arnhem and then interned at Donna Karan and Maria Cornejo in New York. In 2001, she moved to Milan and created her own couture line, Ilja, in 2005. 

Encouraged by a promising start, she launched her ready-to-wear line Ready To Fish in 2006. In 2009, she moved her label to Amsterdam. With a conceptual vision and artistic approach to fashion, Visser works on volumes and forms like a sculptor, playing masterfully with materials and cuts. 

Ulyana Sergeenko has also held fashion shows off the official Paris Haute Couture calendar for the past three years. Originally from Kazakhstan, the former model studied philosophy and launched her own brand in April 2011, setting up her label in Moscow.

Ulyana Sergeenko, spring-summer 2015

The designer was quickly noticed for her sophisticated, somewhat-retro style. She uses her heritage as her trademark, drawing on Russian culture, combining ancestral traditions with more recent inspirations from the Communist Soviet Union, which shaped her childhood, with her grandmother, with her glamorous Western chic style, as a central figure.

Through her designs, she rewrites Russian history, highlighting the savoir-faire of the region’s artisans, as well as ancient techniques and manual skills that risk disappearance. 

Her company, which has deliberately focused on haute couture, has increased from 5 to over 100 employees in a few years, while the label’s dresses have attracted many celebrities, from Natalia Vodianova to Dita von Teese.

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