Illustrations by Ivan Bilibin from the book, Russian Fairy Tales
First, there was this book. It was a gift from a friend to the boys when they were younger. We read all of the Russian fairy tales to each other on the way to New Mexico one summer and back. You know, red desert landscapes, cold Russian forests. It’s only logical. The stories are scary and fantastic, the illustrations are art nouveau. I had not really had any exposure to Russian fairy tales before this book. I was hooked with the whole aesthetic and dark dreamy environment. I loved the animals that were really people, the three sisters where the youngest is always the heroine, the three brothers where the youngest is also the hero, and the discovery of salt. Salt? Yes, that’s a real gem of a story. Makes you appreciate salt in a whole new way.
The rich patterning on the textiles in the illustrations was what really attracted me. There seemed to be a mix of nature originating in the early Russian pagan beliefs and the richness of embroidery and attention to detail that became even more elaborate with the introduction of the culture of the Byzantine Empire to Russia. But before we get too Byzantine, let us just check out the nature influence…
All images: © Bryan & Cherry Alexander Photography / ArcticPhoto except bunny – can’t find a photo credit for the cute bunny!
The people above are all Russian Siberians. Looking pretty fairy tale to me. Hanna, anyone? Oh, and the Slavic pagan roots are so wonderful. Full of worshipping rivers, Goddesses of the grain (Marzanna) and of the winter solstice (Koliada), God of the moon who marries Dazbog and they have lots of little baby stars together, wind gods, and circle dances, and Easter eggs, and how women conserve the pagan rituals because they are excluded from real participation in Christianity. So fascinating!
Okay, now turn it up a little bit… Russian folk printed dress from Etsy (see the Mexican folk dress connection?) and image on right photographed by Andrey Yakovlev Art-director: Lili Aleeva Models: Ekaterina Soboleva, Julia Galimova Hair Style: Oxana Zavarzina Make-up: Zhanna Bilalova.
And now, it comes to this. Viennese designer, but you see the connection. Can barely talk about it. Don’t click on the link unless you have like a spare hour today. I warned you.
And now we come to the present present. Yes, I am going to be so latest runway shows here. I think Pre Fall 2015 is feeling pretty Russian fairy tale. What do you think?? This is Marchesa. Just stop me from posting every. single. dress. I’m a kid that wants to dress up like a princess at heart… a Russian fairy tale princess!
She will star in a Russian fairy tale any day. Alice + Olivia, pre-Fall 2015.
Always have to look at Valentino, when considering a current Russian Fairy Tale look. This is also Pre Fall 2015. Am I ruining the surprise? I hope not. You can still forget all about it and be surprised when you go buy your back to school wardrobe in August. Hee hee.
For more of my Russian fairy tale inspirations, check out my Pinterest board here. Follow me! If you are ever sad, you can just go look at the endless, decadent, rich, mossy images and you will feel happy again.