Q: What inspires your collection? 
A: My Fall 2017 collection was inspired by Russian high-society in the early 19th century - their mannerisms, decadence, and social gatherings. I drew imagery from Russian nobility balls, which were accompanied with opera, ballet, and musical performances and were always preceded by elegant invitations drawn by artists. Flowers were an important design detail. Hairstyles, corsets, dresses, and hand accessories were embellished with detailed floral patterns. In the 18th and 19th centuries, a fashion accessory called a "portbuket" was fastened to women's dresses and it was a silver or gold jewelry item in the form of a small vase and a bouquet of artificial flowers. My Fall 2017 textiles are a nod to that old world and modernized by contemporary silhouettes and proportions.

Q: What has been your experience as a fashion designer in Chicago? What does the city need in order to retain more of its homegrown design talent? 
A: I think you just have to stick to what you believe and go your own path without relying on outside sources for your success. If there are limited opportunities, make your own.


Q: Name another Chicago designer whose work you admire. 
A: It would be difficult to name one designer because we all have our own distinctive styles and I think we're all trying to say something different with our clothes. It's clear that we are all very passionate about what we do. We all have different backgrounds and design for different demographics. For example, I was born in Russia and grew up in Germany. When it comes to my clothing, there will always be a certain European element to them.


Q: What is one piece that a we should invest in for fall? 
A: A quality dress that you can wear to the theatre, dinner parties, or holiday galas; and a classically tailored long coat. The Elena Bobysheva Lace Flute dress pictured on Arnela was designed with these exact occasions in mind and references back to my label's sustainability mission of incorporating multi-use investment pieces into your wardrobe that have been designed as enduring pieces that favor tradition over trend.

Photography by: Kirsten Miccoli

Elena BobyshevaComment