Published by Junsuke Yamasaki we present a series of spreads from the Russian youth vanguard's acclaimed book
September 26, 2011
Part 2: The concluding part of our interview with the prolific Russian fashion designer
- Text by Kristina Voytovich
Leonid Alexeev is the Russian designer who is showing his new men's collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Moscow. The central concept of Leonid Alexeev, which is a transformation of the standard, explains his personal and design philosophy, and why he mixes classic polished tailoring with unexpected items. This October Leonid Alexeev is opening Leonid Alexeev Concept Space in Saint-Petersburg where his fashion meet his life and style phylosophy.
Part 2 of our Satellite Voices interview
Satellite Voices: How are your preparations for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week going?
Leonid Alexeev: Very badly. I am working on “Project Runway” right now. My team is a little bit worried because nothing is made yet. But all the materials have been bought and the sketches have been made. At first, you look at silhouettes, then at forms. After that you add texture, and then mix it up. Sometimes, when your first pieces are made, you understand that everything is wrong, and you change the collection.
A creative collection is a creative talk to yourself. People ask me if I wait for any public reaction or what I feel during the show. I don't feel anything at that moment. I feel “timing” - I quickly dress up models in order to get them in time on the runway. Usually my collection is completely ready three days before the show. At that moment, I have the feeling of euphoria - everything is done and works as I wanted or even better. It is followed by the moment of creative pause when you see that your thoughts have been materialised. The fashion show is just a presentation.
SV: Is being a designer everything you ever wanted?
Leonid Alexeev: Now I am working on the TV, I think I have a restless state of mind. I am getting bored from time to time as everyone else. I also make costumes for theatre plays and teach. This October, I open the Leonid Alexeev Concept Store in Saint-Petersburg. This is partly an experiment and partly a commercial venture.
SV: Do you give style advice for women and for men?
Leonid Alexeev: Of course. But I feel uncomfortable to give advice for men because I create menswear collections. If I tell a man he doesn't look good that means I tell him “Dress up like me”. I would like them to maintain their individuality. It's much simpler with women. I clearly see what is wrong and how to fix it. And I am not biased.
SV: Who is Leonid Alexeev's customer?
Leonid Alexeev: I have always made “intelligent” clothes. I love reading and thinking. I have always been interested in person's internal world. Therefore, my potential client is the person who has an internal world or the one who wants to acquire it.
SV: What do you think of mass-market brands?
Leonid Alexeev: They are not just brands but they make the world where you live. It is impossible to criticise it. We live in the fast and cheap clothes world where you go to a store and buy a total look there. The difference between designer and mass-market clothes has been erased. Now fashion designers have two options: either to start creating something limited that is badly sold, or to tell everyone that their brands are as good as mass-market ones.
Photos from Leonid Alexeev S/S 2011
Irina Grigoryeva’s behind-the-scenes highlights from Moscow’s catwalk season
Irina Grigoryeva reveals her highlights of Moscow’s catwalk season