Vika Andreyanova, designer

Vika Andreyanova is a designer who shuns haute couture that is designed to garner “oohs” and “aahs,” never to make it out of the closet again. Instead, she said she designs her clothing to be wearable, not just a memory. And even so, each of her designs is a living work of art.

Her clothing, Andreyanova said, is designed “for the real woman ... things for real life that don’t scream and that show an individual’s personality.” She characterizes the style of her designs as “neat and pure, comfortable and vivid.” A woman doesn’t have to be a supermodel to make Andreyanova’s vision a reality. Her designs are cut to fit the body that wears them, concentrating on form. And her talent is most conspicuous in her gift to combine textures and colors. She works equally well with wools, tweeds, furs, chiffons and even slicker materials.

Andreyanova loved to sew as a child, but her parents encouraged her along a more academic path. She dutifully read and studied, then decided to follow her passion, earning two separate degrees, one in Theater Costume Design at Moscow’s Theater Art College and another in Model Costume Design at the Textile Academy in Moscow. After a very short stint working at the Fashion Center of Russia, in 1991 she founded her own House of Fashion after traveling to Singapore and Indonesia to see how private clothing businesses were managed there.

Viktoria Andreyanova’s House of Fashion is located at 4 Kulnyeva Street, just off the prestigious Kutuzovsky prospekt. She is also the head of the House of Models’ “Presidential Service,” which outfits, as the name implies, a wide spectrum of Russian VIP’s (Andreyanova herself named Marina Yakushkina, wife of former Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Yakushkin as a client). Her talent has been hailed through several awards, including “Dress of the Year” in 1995 and “Best City Dress” in 1997.  Recently, she and her label Victoria won the much-coveted “Golden Mannequin 2000” award in the category “Best Collection in Moscow” during the Week of High Fashion.

The Golden Mannequin Award was presented for Andreyanova’s collection, “Ostorozhno! Zhenshchina!” (Watch out! Here comes the woman!). Some of her “Victorian” models paraded topless past the judges, which one would think would have distracted the jury from the presentation. In fact, the effect was quite different, drawing attention away from all other collections. Andreyanova said the award made her “quite happy,” that it was encouraging “after 10 years of working, to win an award at such a level.”  That the contest’s judges were from both inside and outside the fashion business gave this award even more weight because it signified a mark of the people’s choice, as well.

Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of Andreyanova’s work is that her artistic principles are so readily visible in her work. There is something distinctively Russian in her work (perhaps because she has never worked for a foreign design house), and Andreyanova said she believes that Russian fashion and designers should stimulate creativity, focusing on the positive, rather than the negative. In March, she will open a boutique at 19 Petrovka, in the center of Moscow, and she said she would also like to open a store featuring sport shirts one can wear while roller-skating or ice-skating. But, instead of the typical “skinny minis,” these fashions would be modeled by Russian athletes—not only good principles, but marketing savvy as well.

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