Lines We Love: Alena Akhmadullina

We’re big believers that fabulous style is all about attention to detail.   So when we find a designer that elegantly pairs luxurious fabrics such as rich colored crepe de chine silks, cashmere or satin with intricate embroidery, fringe, and designs that evoke fantasy and romance, we become more than excited to share it with you.

Meet one of our favorite Russian designers, Alena Akmadullina.  Part story-teller, part fashion designer, and full-time visionary, Alena grew up in St. Petersburg and draws from Russian legends and diverse regions and cultures across Central Asia to guide her creativity.  Each collection is initially based on one specific tale in Russian folklore.  From there, Alena dives into the design process, at times focusing on something literal from the story such as a flower or the sunlight, and, other times, pulling from something more ephemeral or intangible such as a character’s mood or intention.  “I envision the collection for the woman who is unafraid to incorporate a little bit of fairytale into her everyday life.  She is curious, sophisticated and above all daring,” says the designer.

Her gowns conjure memories of a, perhaps forgotten, era.  Elaborate embroidery on a pant leg, cape, or blouse sleeve summon dreams from a far-off land.  Delicately placed buttons around a cuff or a collar are both fashion forward and an escape to a time past.  No matter the detail or its historic muse, one thing is certain:  Alena is not afraid of taking risks and we can’t get enough of it.

Alena launched her eponymous label in 2001 and began showing in Paris by 2005.  Her first boutique in Moscow opened shortly thereafter, around the same time that she won the Glamour Russia ‘Designer of the Year Award.’  Today, Alena shows separate, though related, collections in both New York and Russia.  Her entrance onto the New York stage has been a strong one (no surprise!).   Her US line slightly tones down the gowns and the opulence but her signature lavish embroidery, adornments, and fantasy-inspired themes are still very present.

The designer is currently working on her FW18 collection which will continue to explore Russian folklore and include more wearable/transitional pieces.  Selfridges recently began carrying the line.  “This is my first major retailer and a huge step,” Alena says, “so I’d like to remain focused on evolving in the most conscious way possible.”

About the Author

Sarah Berner is a fashion industry advisor, investor, and business leader. She is particularly passionate about brands that empower women and fashion for the woman on the go, given her non-stop schedule that traverses the many disparate dress codes of Manhattan and beyond. While she spends an inordinate amount of time in Gucci slides, her favorite accessory is Luddie her 5-lbs Chihuahua. You can follow her on Instagram @saraheberner.