Fabric, whether knitted or woven, is a symmetrical
raw material, rectangularly produced in bands by
hand or machine. A minimally cut square woven
or knitted piece of fabric, joined at the shoulders
or side seams, creates simple, clean, symmetric
the language of fashion design
shapes, like the poncho, caftan, gathered-
waist skirt (dirndl), or drop-crotched pant by
cutting half shapes on a fold of fabric and
opening them into a bilaterally symmetrical
form. Most likely, saris, scarves, and wrapped
pieces of woven cloth tied onto the body
introduced the first ventures into asymmetry
in dress as fabric was pulled or draped across
and around the figure. Overlapping
front-edge closures, surplice fronts, wrap
skirts, double-breasted jackets and coats, or
symmetrical garments cut from different
colors or textures for each side, are moderate
design ventures into asymmetry.
(continued on page 120)
Color blocking and piecing
along seam lines is surprising
in this armhole–princess
line fitted sheath, catching
the eye immediately with its
thoughtful improvisation to
a piece that might otherwise
be harshly square.
Singapore/New York, NY, USA
Katya Leonovich
Uneven necklines and hem-
lines with cut-out effects and
straps counteract swirling
original patterns with clean
borders, carving beautiful
shapes out of the arms, neck-
line, and legs. Irregularity is
the norm.
Katya Leonovich is a Moscow-born de-
signer based in Manhattan since 2009. She
graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts
in Moscow, studying fine arts, then fashion,
and uses her trained art eye for her design,
as well as her paintings for fabric designs.
She also lived and worked in France and
Italy at the house of Gattinoni, which fo-
cused on embroideries, corsets, and lux-
ury dresses and made her aware that she
wanted to create a new vision of fashion.
Considering Rome her second home, she
is inspired by the many differences in each
city’s architecture, the colors, the differ-
ent types of people, their styles of dressing,
and the musicality of their languages. All
of these aspects inform her artistic vision.
Her abstract vision liberates her from tra-
ditional dressmaking’s perspective.
One of her fashion shows was an in-
stallation that featured her large, colorful
paintings as the backdrop for her fashion
models, and you could see the direct cor-
relation of her magical color sense and aes-
thetic. In her spring/summer 2011 runway
show, she began to paint live onto a couture
bridal gown during the show.
Starting her career by entering com-
petitions, she has won the Mittelmodal
Prize, the Smirnoff International Compe-
tition, the Nadejda Lamanova Prize of the
Russian Federation, and Supima’s inaugu-
ral Competition for Emerging Designers.
L Gallery in New York had a retrospective
exhibit of her designs. She represents the
new generation of Russian fashion, accord-
ing to Russia’s Encyclopedia of Fashion.
Her “Beautiful Garbage” design aes-
thetic, couture techniques, and bold-paint-
ed digital prints are unique and definitive
of her style. Based on the idea that beauty
doesn’t last forever, driving her to constant
creation, it embraces the freedom to find
beauty in what has been cast aside, like
discarded scraps of fabric.
Her collections balance solid neutrals
in firm fabrics with soft, wild, colorful,
dreamy prints on soft, shiny, or thin fabrics
such as fur, wool, silk, leather, gauze, and
chion. Asymmetry, cutouts, and leather are
also outstanding features in her work along
with corsetry and draping. Soft and hard
also always find a balance in her collections.
Leonovich’s design concept revolves
around her belief in “Beautiful Garbage.
She incorporates fabrics of chiffon and
silks with unexpected materials including
torn paper, pieces of aluminum, feathers,
and fringes. A pair of her dresses made to
walk the runway together featured paint-
ings of Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.
She has a lighthearted joy and love of art
and life that infuses her work and person-
ality. Not a trend follower, she aims to use
modern silhouettes but infuse new and fu-
turistic ideas while still keeping it wearable.
Her inspirations are more abstract,
never about a singular theme or idea. To
keep it relevant, she designed a recent
collection for the women in her New York
neighborhood, based on what she wished
they would wear. She also designs for men,
but with less color and more minimal style.

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