Timelessly appealing

Ines Veiga Pena in conversation with Lilia Litkovskaya

A brilliant mind with an ethereally forward-thinking sense of style, Lilia Litkovskaya is one of the top names on the list of young talents on the rise. Having launched her label in as early as 2009, she already has several awards on her belt; the collections are ever changing in inspiration and character, but always cohesive in the purity of their lines and immaculacy of cut. Clothing not for an imaginary ideal but for the real women, the romantic urban warriors of today and tomorrow, LITKOVSKAYA is the brand to watch, overflowing with a quietly fierce and timelessly appealing sense of design.

Ines Veiga Pena in conversation with Lilia Litkovskaya.

I. You have a very pure yet edgy aesthetic but was it always this way? Who is, to you, the Litkvoskaya woman and how has she changed since 2006?
Purity with an edge, that’s how I would like to think of my designs and it’s definitely what I try to achieve in my work. But this hasn’t been like that and I can say that we’re still on our way, making ideas clearer and sharper. It’s an intuitive process after all and there is no final destination there. It just feels organic to me. This woman you’re asking about, a woman I have in mind, she’s obviously very special. There’s not one list of adjectives I would put her in – she’s quite unique. But as time goes, she’s evolved. She is more grown-up, more grounded, more experienced and wise.

II. Do you feel like your design ethos relates to any particular subculture, art movement, music genre or state of being, or is it deeply personal? How much of you is present in the Litkovskaya collections?
It’s a big melting pot of ideas, references, associations and experiences. I’m very interested in and intrigued by the early 20th century art, by the 60s music and by the 90s urban subcultures. These are the topics that are always present in my work. I like how every collection is an opportunity to rethink and readjust something you’ve probably worked with before, to find new accents, new colors and tonality in things that seem to be familiar. But when you design clothes, you also take into account the needs and the desires of the world, of real women and how they react to what is happening now. So it is always a very modern conversation. And a very private one.

III. Recently there has been a bit of a spotlight on young creative minds coming from Russia and Ukraine, much more so than before. What are your thoughts on this, and how do you relate to your contemporaries?
We have been very lucky to be born in such circumstances, in the time and place that gave us the background we have. Our heritage, both cultural and historical, is very special. I would say the lack of everything, the devastation that we had to face and to live through, it made us react to the reality in a very special way. It’s a different way of thinking because in order to survive and be creative you had to find a way to stand out and to stand for what you really believed in. In a way, we had to fight for our right to be who we were or who we wanted to be. And this experience I find invaluable. As for contemporaries, we are happy for their achievements and success. There is no competition.

IV. You recently launched the Litkovskaya Pleasure line, of silky garments for comfort and freedom of movement at home. What influenced you to make this decision and how do you think it connects with your main line? Will they be completely separate, or will collections weigh on each other?
Our Pleasure line is completely separate from our main line. The idea for this collection was born out of desire to compliment female nature, femininity and fragility of female body. I was thinking about this very particular moment when a woman wants to stay on her own, to keep a moment only for herself. Everyone experiences this kind of moments and knows the intimacy, the emotionality, the sense of reservation it is filled with. And I thought, that’s the moment when a woman is very true to herself, when she is stripped off of all the social and cultural conventions we project on her. But then, she’s still wearing clothes, a very certain type of clothes and she manifests herself through it. I wanted to make her manifesto look beautiful.

V. What was it like presenting your Spring/Summer 2014 collection, “The Kiss”, at the prestigious Saatchi Gallery instead of the runway? What are your thoughts on the permanent dialogue between the fashion world of today and more traditional forms of art?
Showing at Saatchi was an amazing experience. It’s a place where everything, even the walls have their own vibration and vitality, it is very inspiring. Showing in the art space made me think of something I keep coming back to. I was just thinking about it when I say this Jean Arp sculpture. I thought, could fashion inspire artists the way art inspired fashion designers? And I have to say the answer is no. As much as fashion is about social commentary and beauty, it doesn’t have the same power true art has. Which doesn’t diminish fashion per se, it’s just that these two worlds live and operate differently.

VI. Who is, to you, the ultimate female icon, the perfect woman in terms of style and mindset? Is there someone, living or dead, that you turn to more often when coming up with creations?
Every decade has dozens of such names, names of brilliant women that shift our world, trigger change and inspire us. They constantly fascinate me and I always have a silent dialogue with them. It would be extremely hard for me to name someone particular. But I can say that every collection I create is inspired by one of them and one can sense it in a subtext of the collection. There’s always a woman that gives energy to our clothes.

VII. How do you plan to expand your brand in the future in terms of sales? Would you sell internationally in the near future and, if so, are you thinking more towards online or offline retail?
We’re making our first steps on the international market and it’s an amazing journey. We definitely want to develop our label but what I’m interested in now is creating a beautiful product that can ignite and inspire people. If that happens, everything will follow.

more at litkovskaya.com

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