Ulyana Sergeenko was born in Ust’-Kamennogorsk, a town in Kazakhstan, at that time part of USSR. She grew up in a family of linguists and intellectuals and her childhood was simple but happy; she spent hours in the library of her family home, reading through all types of books, the main source of entertainment in those Soviet years. Russian and European fairytales, classics in Russian literature (Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, the poetry of Akhmatova and Tsvetaeva) and tomes picked from world literature (Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and Gone with the Wind) — these dreamy bookworm moments fed her imagination. She studied in a specialized humanitarian school in Kazakhstan and then graduated the Faculty of Philology at the St. Petersburg State University.
During this Soviet era fashion was not an international business; women relied on craftsmanship and traditional handwork to make their own wardrobes. They were able to express their talent and imagination using sewing machines and knitting needles, giving a unique soul to their clothes. At this time the country housed hundreds of small ateliers which were perpetuating traditional crafts, as carefully guarded as the most precious secrets. Among these women, Ulyana Sergeenko’s grand- mother is still her biggest inspiration, the closest one to her heart, remembered for her kindness and warmth and her ability to look elegant in the simplest of clothes. To this day, that love for handmade clothes stays with Ulyana Sergeenko. After moving to Moscow Ulyana had several outfits made to order based on her own ideas and drawings. It didn’t take long for her personal style to get noticed by fashion cognoscenti, and encouraged by her friends Ulyana Sergeenko started her own fashion house in 2011.
The Ulyana Sergeenko brand was launched in Moscow in April 2011 with a first collection designed for autumn-winter 2011-2012. Craftsmanship and technical knowledge have defined her work from the beginning. Ulyana Sergeenko collaborates with highly skilled ateliers from Russia as well as numerous craftsmen from former Soviet republics, helping them to preserve their precious knowledge in the process. Within the last four years, Ulyana has worked with around seventy different ateliers and craftsmen including lace makers from Yelets, Vologda and Krestsy. Always searching for the best in each craft, she also seeks out specialized ateliers abroad. For her first show in Paris (in 2012) Ulyana worked with wood artists to hand-carve detailed accessories and the heels of shoes. For her Fall-Winter 2014-2015 collection stone was sourced from Lebanon, carved in Florence and manually added to handbags in Moscow. For her latest collection (Fall-Winter 2015-2016) a dress made entirely of lace was manually knitted by over twenty specialists in the town of Yelets. These crafts, sometimes almost forgotten, bring Ulyana’s vivid imagination to life. Opulent and timeless wardrobes are produced from her imagined stories referencing literature, movie heroines, traditional Russian culture and Occidental glamour.
Starting with only five people, the Moscow studio now has over one hundred employees. One of the dresses designed by Ulyana Sergeenko has been selected to appear in the upscale exhibition “The little black dress” at the Mona Bismarck foundation in Paris. Celebrities such as Natalia Vodianova, Dita von Teese, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Fan Bingbing, Marion Cotillard and Ornella Muti appear on red carpets in her creations. Madonna and Beyoncé have worn custom made gowns in their music videos, all helping to bring international recognition to the signature style of Ulyana Sergeenko.
«Marie Antoinette» cat bag
«Black chicken» bag
«Doli the angel» bag
Ulyana Sergeenko Showroom
Granatniy lane 4, 123001 Moscow, Russia
Tsum Department Store
Petrovka street 2, 125009 Moscow, Russia