An up-and-coming brand hailing from the centre of Moscow, Rasario couldn’t be further away from the Soviet streetwear aesthetic that has overtaken the fashion world. Instead, designer Rasida Lakoba focuses on creating statement evening dresses that have so far been seen on the likes of Suki Waterhouse and Lily Collins.
“I grew up in Abkhazia and in our culture, we have big celebrations where a woman has to look spectacular,” she tells Yahoo Style UK. “I believe that every woman should wear a proper evening dress at least once in their lifetime.”
Rasida began paving the way for Rasario in early childhood, transforming her talent into a fully-fledged label in 2012. “I’ve always been sewing. When I reached university age, I was making dresses for my family and friends as they trusted my taste,” she recalls. “So it started from making bespoke dresses for my beloved people to becoming a proper atelier in the centre of Moscow.”
Of course, a designer’s hometown clientele are likely to have a great bearing on their designs. Rasida is quick to agree that Russian women have heavily influenced her work, steering her towards a distinctly glamorous (and red carpet-friendly) path: “The pace of life in Moscow is very fast. You have to keep your finger on the pulse. Muscovites love to have something that no one else has so our atelier is open six days a week.”
Although Rasida creates one-of-a-kind looks for many of her clients, she is careful to remain affordable and “not ridiculously expensive” like most bespoke brands. That is why she has branched out into ready-to-wear collections.
Rasario’s latest season showcases luxe sequinned suits and dramatic one-shouldered gowns. It may sound like the more-is-more aesthetic pioneered by Alessandro Michele’s Gucci but Rasario favours a more understated silhouette; one that takes away any potential scariness associated with ruffles and lurex.
One thing’s clear: these gowns are designed for women. Women with curves, women without them. When asked why the emphasis on femininity, Rasida doesn’t hesitate: “Maybe because there are so many designers for whom it’s not that important? I hear too often from my clients that womanhood is becoming unpopular and even a bit shameful. It’s as if femininity isn’t in fashion anymore.”
Trends may seem to be the backbone of the sartorial industry but it takes a truly independent designer to refuse to bow down to them. Rasida believes that the current focus on unisex sportswear is a somewhat lazy way out for designers with little knowledge of how to really dress a woman’s body.
“I understand that more and more people prefer to be comfortable on a daily basis but I never stop emphasising the beauty of women,” she states. “You can always have your pair of jeans but when you come to me, relax and enjoy being a woman. It’s much easier to create something unisex than to do a proper bustier dress which will fit your client impeccably.”
“Trends will be trends. Today, they feel important but tomorrow, something else will be interesting. You can never take your eyes off of a beautifully dressed woman. And that’s a fact.”
Katy Perry became an instant fan after seeing the Pre-Fall 2017 collection, opting for a dramatic monochrome gown and sequinned halterneck number in the past couple of months. Its womanly qualities clashed with the singer’s new blunt haircut, adding the perfect edge to her style transformation.
However, Rasida won’t let any old celebrity wear her creations, saying that a Rasario girl must “be exceptional. It’s not just about being popular. You have to do something. Katy [for example] is an exceptional woman. She won the Human Rights Campaign award because she has a strong position about what she believes in. It was a great honour to design the dress she wore for that special occasion.”
Eva Green, Natalie Portman and Cate Blanchett are still on Rasida’s client wishlist. As is Whitney Houston “although that would never be possible now”, adds the designer. When it comes to dressing celebrities, “you have to be a friend, psychologist and designer in one. A bespoke design can sometimes take months with discussions about fabrics and styles, sketches and fittings all taking time. A client can lose or gain weight in that time so it’s a super personal thing to be dealing with.”
Currently, Rasario’s AW17 colllection can be pre-ordered on trunk show site Moda Operandi. The brand has plans to open an online store later this summer “as we have so many requests for dresses through Instagram. Sometimes girls get very upset if we don’t answer straight away. So hopefully, this will help us keep everyone happy.”
Rasida also revealed that she is working on a bridal line as a large percentage of her current orders are for wedding dresses. A smart move considering the global bridal industry is now worth £24 billion.
As our conversation comes to an end, Rasida lets out some words of wisdom for anyone looking to emulate her career path: “Never stop and find supportive people who will embrace your ideas and help you to move forward.”
Rasario. Proving that male designers aren’t the only ones with talent.
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