Though not related to Yarmak, the conqueror of Siberia, Yelena Yarmak hopes to match her name-sakes's feats in the world of fashion.
The designer presented her new collection of fur coats with a symbolic name, "Warm Up Your Soul," in the National Hotel on Sept. 7. It was the first sign of winter; as elegant models wrapped heavily in furs paraded the catwalk, people could do little but grudgingly admit that summer was over.
A mathematician by education, Yarmak lived in Kiev for a long time before making the leap to the world of high fashion. She now owns a fashion house in Moscow; her clientele includes well-known politicians, businessmen and artists Melanie Griffith andGoldie Hawn have been known to don her designs. She runs two boutiques with her own Yarmak label one in Petrovsky Passazh and one in the Manezh Square Trading Center. Yarmak's designs sell well, particularly in Russia, America and Switzerland.
The fur show was preceded by a demonstration of evening dresses, proving that Yarmak is also a real virtuoso in these. By using new kinds of materials and techniques she has created a "crumpled paper effect." She also introduced an unusual approach to the use of form. With the flick of a single zipper, one of her long and sumptuous dresses can be transformed into a short tight mini dress.
Without doubt, furs were the hit of the day. The winter collection features sable, astrakhan and mink. Advanced technology makes the fur look like silk and can be woven into jerseys. All the coats are designed to be reversible. Straight coats with thin belts, short coats down to the hips, coats fitted with wide fur belts and low-cut tops fitted like images in a kaleidoscope. This season, Yarmak has been experimenting with color, adding tinges of rose, bright-green and blue to a palatte of natural and classical tones. Her leopard-skin patterned mink jackets looked marvelous.
"The new technology is the fruit of three years of work," Yarmak said. "It lets me make mink look like chinchilla, while keeping it much lighter and more durable."
Sable has always been and still is Yarmak's favorite. "I see my task as reviving the former glory of Russian sable coats," she said. "Also, my name is the same as Yarmak, the conqueror of Siberia. After Yarmak's Siberian campaigns, sable fur, which was abundant in the region, became exceptionally popular in Russia. Back then, sables were only worn by the tsarist family and the aristocracy. But now, quite a few fashionable women can afford the luxury. We work with a restorer from the Pushkin Museum. He has revived the ancient goldenstitch' technique of sewing linings into sable coats. We also use the technique for our accessories."
Unlike the traditional down-to-the-ankle sable coats, Yarmak sells sable furs to meet the needs of a modern lifestyle, particularly where it applies to the young.