Photographer: Ramela Arutiunian @aruti_studio Makeup Artist/Hair Stylist: Alena Lemondy @lemondy__ Fashion Designer: Viriam Mudrahel @vira_lilium Retoucher: Osya Kun @retouch_osya Model: Mariiam Khapaeva @marymooure Dress Viriam Mudrahel
When did your passion for fashion start and what were the main milestones that turned you into the artist you currently are?
My passion for fashion started when I was a child. I never thought that I had any other way besides this. I started designing clothes for dolls even before I started elementary school.
My mother had a supply of beautiful fabrics and it was seriously damaged by my passion for doll fashion. Once I even cut my mother's dress for a ball gown of a doll.
I would say events that made me who I am are the day I graduated from college, the day when I rented my first art studio and the day when I had a show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Moscow
What do you love the most about your profession?
What I love the most is how a beautiful dress can change a person's life. How it transforms inner state of a person in an instant. Incredibly, but many of people have never worn clothes made especially for them. By their measurements, needs and desires. In the age of fast fashion, people began to forget what a pleasure it is when there is no one else in the world in the same dress as yours.
How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it? Is there any message you would like your photos to convey?
I think this is a story about a modern princess. Strong, confident, independent and at the same time gentle and feminine if she want so. I want to show that there are so many reasons for a luxurious dress in life, not just a wedding. My dresses are a tribute to the beauty of women of any height, body type or age. Each of them deserves to be special.
How hard has it been establishing yourself in the industry and what are some of the largest things you've faced?
The biggest problem in my entire career is covid. I have been making dresses professionally for 13 years. I built my brand in Europe and it took about 10 years. It has never been easy. I still cannot say that I have established myself in the industry because the fashion world is very dynamic. If you miss a year, you will have to start all over again.
I started from the beginning when I moved to America about 3 years ago. But I had all my experience already. I knew how to work with sophisticated dresses and how to survive in a fashion. I had to re-study the new world and I continue to study it ever since. I thought that move to Unites States was the biggest challenge in my life. But after that there was a year of quarantine that changed the entire fashion industry beyond recognition. The next year will show how much this has affected everyone.
For example, some events will remain online, which means that they will be able to wear pajamas and not a beautiful dress.
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be?
I would say to myself: Do not be afraid of anything. Sometimes it’s worth trying even if you know you’ll fail. The path is more important than the goal sometimes, enjoy every moment.
What is your main source of inspiration?
People are my main source of inspiration. Different stories, different events that bring people to me. Sometimes it’s worth catching a glimpse of a person on the subway and immediately a dress is born in my head, which could become a worthy decoration for her.
Another time a woman comes for a modest dress but tells the story of how she overcame cancer, survived betrayal and actually rose from ashes. Then you understand that this dress should become the personification of a new life, and it should be as bright and spectacular as possible. Sometimes a dress is not just a dress, it is a symbol.
Are there particular issues within the fashion industry that concern you?
I am very worried about fast fashion and its impact on our environment. It is impossible to create something thoughtful and useful when a new collection has to come out every week. These items are cheap, sold quickly, and get thrown away quickly as well. It`s threating the ecology of the entire planet.
The model of the high fashion houses is closer to me than fast fashion. When skilled craftsmen spend their time and quality materials to create a truly unique piece of art. And this thing acquires such value that it is cherished and worn for many years. And perhaps they are considered as an investment - as the dresses created by Christian Dior during his lifetime only grow in price over time.
What kind of impact do you hope to make in the fashion world?
I hope to see my dresses on the red carpets one day. This will allow me to have enough influence to change the negative impact of fast fashion on the pollution of the planet.
I also want to show all talented girls from all over the world that you can achieve anything in life if you are persistent and work hard.
In your daily routine, what resources do you like to learn new things about art, fashion?
Now it is possible to study online in around the world. Or watch work of high fashion houses in real time. I am constantly taking new courses of history, art, fashion. I love to look at Instagram of famous designers or fashion houses. I often go to museums to get inspire by classic art. The Internet gives us unrealistic opportunities, the main thing is to use them correctly.
What projects are you working on next, and what are your goals for the future?
I am currently working on a new collection of dresses for the beauty pageant in Miami * Lady of the World 2021 * as well a collection of wedding and evening dresses of 2022. Taking part in a beauty pageant is a new experience for me. These dresses will be closer to the show than to real life, but nevertheless it will be interesting. And the collection of wedding and evening dresses will also not be quite ordinary. Some of the models will be presented only online, some can be made-to-measure only. There will also be a separate line of modest dresses for those who are not ready to arrange a big wedding. And the last project is the creation of a collection of lingerie and boudoir dresses. I want to add some spice in to my work.
My goal in the future is to create my own high fashion house. This will allow me to show to the whole world how beautiful slow fashion can be. I hope this will help me change the impact of fashion on the environment and make our planet cleaner. And it will also help many girls to understand how beautiful they are in the form in which nature created them.
Where can we see more of your works and get connected with you?
The easiest way is to subscribe to my Instagram. My page with dresses in New York @vira_bridal_nyc and my personal page, where I show all the behind the scenes of the life of designer @vira_lilium
My site is currently under construction, along with an online store. Therefore, Instagram will allow us to stay in touch.