New! Vika Gazinskaya Takes On the World

Take a look at the jacquard skirt by Vika Gazinskaya pictured here on the right. It’s like the Magic Marker stylings of an extra-gifted doodler were lifted from a notepad, taken to France and woven into a fine silk blend. Wait—it’s not like that. It is that. And the doodler is the on-the-rise Russian designer herself. I talked to Gazinskaya via Skype about the wonderfully colorful handmade patterns in her new-at-Nordstrom collection and the history that informs the look.

“I had a picture on my mood board of a very, very old Indian man with kind, spiritual eyes. He was so beautiful, and really it began there,” Gazinskaya told me. “I was thinking about how the British colonial aesthetic combined with Indian authentic costumes, and I often create my own prints with handmade drawings, so for this I was drawing traditional Indian paisleys.”

And while the full midi skirt is made with a complex jacquard application of the drawing, the collection’s one-shoulder silk sateen dress is cut from an adaptation rendered in digital print. “It really maintains the effect of marker drawn on fabric,” she tells me.

As for how to wear these culturally rich creations, Gazinskaya has a refreshingly down-to-earth approach. “My customer can easily mix these pieces with what they have in their wardrobe already; they’ll be comfortable wearing my paisley skirt with a simple Alexander Wang black tee, and the polka-dot blouse can easily go with a pair of jeans.”

Yeah, how about that polka-dot top?

Gazinskaya made the shoulder-baring piece popular a few seasons ago, and now she redoes them in different fabrications—like this season’s grass-green version. But if it gives you a certain Russian peasant blouse vibe, you might reframe the look as simply global. That’s how the Moscow native and world-renowned street-style star sees it.

“Fashion has no borders. You shouldn’t see or feel where a designer is from because fashion and art should be international; they connect people with beauty and mood. Each culture will add their aesthetic, but when buyers and foreign press think my collections are international I take that as a compliment.”

Still, Gazinskaya says she’s thrilled to be in the mix at Nordstrom. “If a ballerina is invited to perform at the Bolshoi Theater, everyone knows that if she steps into that, she has made it. For me to be presented in a big company in America, it really means I’m doing the right thing.”

—Laura Cassidy