Young designer seeks the Femme Fatal inside the snow queen

Ester Abner: "Designers should look for new solutions, forms and ideas instead of just copying. They shouldn’t follow fashion – they should make fashion, and have their own individual style." Source: Press Photo

Ester Abner: "Designers should look for new solutions, forms and ideas instead of just copying. They shouldn’t follow fashion – they should make fashion, and have their own individual style." Source: Press Photo

The Russian fashion designer Ester Abner unveiled her spring and summer 2014 collection, Femme Fatale, during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia. RBTH finds out what inspires her.

Ester Abner studied fashion design at the Moscow Textile Institute and worked for several years on the team of well-known Russian stylist Dmitry Vinokurov. In 2008 she began to create collections under her own brand, with an emphasis on uncompromising femininity and high quality.

Q: What was your inspiration for the Spring and Summer 2013 collection?

A: I worked on the collection after being tremendously impressed by the inimitable dance and sparkling image of the passionate Spanish beauty as portrayed by the greatest ballerina of our century, Maya Plisetskaya, in the Carmen Suite ballet film.

That dance was so full of passion and fire! Her every single move conveyed a special meaning, a challenge and a protest. No one else has been able to convey that image so brilliantly.

Ester Abner's new femme fatale collection

Ester Abner's new femme fatale collection. Source: Press Photo

She keeps the audience entranced, and all through the entire performance I just could not pull my gaze away from that beautiful temptress, who plunges us into a whirlwind of passion and intrigue, and becomes the embodiment of the femme fatale.

Q: You obviously keep an eye on the international fashion trends, including the color trends. How much of an impact do these trends have on your collections?

A: Of course I try to keep abreast of the world trends, but that doesn’t mean that I carefully study the collections of other designers. I want to keep my options open, to have some breathing space and open horizons for creativity.

I know that fashion is a business, first and foremost. But working without inspiration and without a certain idea holds no attraction for me. That is why I am confident that like all other artists, designers must be very intuitive in order to be able to capture the spirit of time and the new ideas just waiting to be expressed.

Ester Abner's new femme fatale collection

Ester Abner's new femme fatale collection. Source: Press Photo

I believe that is the only way for a designer to remain in step with the times and to stay relevant. At the same time, designers should look for new solutions, forms and ideas instead of just copying. They shouldn’t follow fashion – they should make fashion, and have their own individual style.

Q: How did you choose the colors and materials for your collection? And where have you set up your production facilities?

A: I chose the colors and fabrics based on the idea and the name of the collection: these are all colors that spring to mind when one thinks of a femme fatale: passionate blacks, unbowed whites, restrained purples, and sensual reds.

The orange color has a special meaning in my collection: it is a synthesis of sun, passion, and fire. And, since the theme has to do with Spain and passionate temptresses, there is also a lot of lace and guipure.

Ester Abner's new femme fatale collection. Source: Press Photo

Ester Abner's new femme fatale collection. Source: Press Photo

The key accessory that sets the tone for the whole collection is the fan, which I used as the main weapon of womanly charms.

Most of the collection is handmade. I experimented a lot with pins to find the right shape and outlines, and the corset lines are tailored individually for each model, to suit their particular shape and proportions.

All the garments for the collection are made in Moscow. We buy the fabrics and other materials from Italian producers via their Moscow offices. I supervise the whole thing myself; it is hard for me to entrust such an important task to anyone else.

View the video by RBTH 'Future meets Russian glam at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.' Source: YouTube / RBTH

I am the only person in a position to envision and plan my ideal final result; others will have their own vision, different from mine. That is why I do the whole thing myself, from sketches to the selection of materials and the cutouts; only then do I involve qualified specialists, technologists and tailors.

Q: How do you envision the women you have made this collection for?

A: The heroine of the next season of the Ester Abner brand is a charismatic, intelligent, and extremely passionate woman. She has a combination of a strong will, the sharpness of male logic, a feminine sophistication, and the sexuality of a true lady. Inside her is a tempest of passion, but on the outside she is a cool and inaccessible “Snow Queen.” Such a combination of Yin and Yang, of fire and ice, is a mystery that has always been driving the stronger sex crazy.

My collection is designed for all occasions. It can be worn with high heels, for official celebrations or cocktail parties. But the same dress can be worn with rough grunge-style high boots; the result will be a casual and modern style that will suit everyday occasions.

Q: How do you promote your brand? Does taking part in the Fashion Week help to find potential customers?

A: That is a complex issue. In my view, Russia still lacks a proper system of buyers, and a system of mutually beneficial relations between the retail outlets and the producers. I have two separate fashion lines, deluxe and prêt-a-porter.

We distribute the prêt-a-porter line via online stores and our own showroom. We will shortly launch our own online store, which will help us to sell directly to customers outside Moscow.

The fashion week events in Russia help the designers to get some PR. That, unfortunately, is their only utility at the moment. Once the fashion week is over, each designer has to find his or her own way to success.

That is a major problem, because many young and talented designers simply don't get the opportunities to demonstrate their ideas and show what they are capable of. And once they have completed their fashion education, they often end up working in completely unrelated industries. As a result, we lose talented young people, with their fresh outlook and original fashion ideas.

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