Interview: Lilia Poustovit
Lilia Poustovit was born in Ukrainian city Vinnytsia in 1968. Enrolling in 1985 in Kiev Technological Institute of Light Industry at the Faculty of garment production, Lilia goes to a garment factory in Moldova where she becomes the main artist very fast. In Kiev Lilia was back in the early 90s. She got a job working in the Ukrainian fashion center “Eksta” where she established the first professional collection.
In 1994, Lilia’s collection has been shown in France at Toulouse exhibition «Easter Wind». Then she moves to Paris for an internship at L’Universite de l’Artmoderne. Two years later, in 1996, Poustovit awarded the Grand Prix “Golden Button”, presented at the International Festival «In Vogue», held in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania.
Daniel Hechter, chairman of the jury «In Vogue», noticed a talented fashion designer and invited Lilia to work as a designer of women’s collections pret-a-porter in his house Daniel Hechter, located in Paris. 1996 was marked by the participation of the designer Poustovit in «Salon du pret-a-porter feminine» in Paris.
In June 1998, trademark POUSTOVIT was registered. Since 1998, Lilia shows her collection at every Ukrainian Fashion Week and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia. Brand POUSTOVIT is well known on the markets of Eastern Europe and CIS countries since 1998 and is permanently presented in the best CIS stores, such as Helen Marlen Group (Ukraine), TSUM (Moscow), GUM (BOSCO Moscow), Le Form (Moscow), TSUM – DLT (Saint Petersburg) and many others.
Brand philosophy includes modern everyday lifestyle shaped into core product of the brand – dress – with a fusion of contemporary and ethnic details in prints and shapes. This is an atmosphere of effortless style, which gives a feeling of comfortable edginess and youthful elegance. Iconic shirt-dresses, special architecture, original author’s PRINTS, wrinkles and drapes, simple shapes and unusual details, unexpected design solutions are present in every collection.
When and how did you decide that you wanted to be a designer?
When I was at school I wanted to be connected with fashion industry – to become a designer or a journalist. I sent applications for admission to several institutes at the same time. Besides, when I was a child my father used to bring me paper dolls from his trips from abroad. When I didn’t like their clothes me and my mother drew and cut our own, the ones that we liked. Maybe it was the start of my passion making clothes.
Was it your dream job?
I went to a music school and in for sports, but it wasn’t my dream to be a professional in these spheres, unlike my father. I always was interested in books and languages. Till the high school, I read all existing literature in the home library, but the fashion industry was more attractive.
Which is the first thing you designed and for who?
The first pieces I’ve made on shop classes in the school. There was some kind of aprons and dresses. But if talking about something more professional, then it was in the institute. There I had to sew a lot of clothes for myself like coats, skirts…
Who’s designing do you admire most of all and why?
Since my youth, I liked Belgian (The Antwerp Six) and Japanese designers. I like Dris van Noten too. Comme de Garcons also seems very interesting to me not just because of their creativity, but also their commercial way of communication. They’re good in collaborations with other brands. I’d like to create something similar in Ukraine, but I need the same genius as Adrian Joffe.
Whom do you find your muse, your icon, while creating your work?
It’s hard to choose. Time pass and someone is on top or not, but I’ve always liked Tilda Swinton. To tell the truth, nowadays fashion is so unpredictable… and I just have some sort of collective image in my mind. When talking about Ukrainians I will definitely choose Asya Mhytaryan for her style and ‘effortless’ in mixing clothes.
*Asya Mhytaryan is the founder of BURO24/7 UA
If you would have to design an entire collection using just one color, which would be that one and why?
Probably black. I’ve started from black, white and red colors. These colors are minimalistic and traditional for Ukrainian as well as Japanese cultures. Using them you can build a strong and emotional collection.
But there were much more bright colors and prints before my daughter was born. I always have a desire to bring bright shades just right after trips to exotic countries like Cuba Brazil, Kenya and South Africa.
Who is the first person whom you show your sketches to?
The most significant person in my life was and always will be Maria Ter-Markarian. She is the only one from East Europe who was printed in Scott Schuman’s book «The Sartorialist».
The fabric that you love most of all – silk, lace, velvet… and why?
I do love silk, but now I also like to work with velvet. I even don’t know why – maybe it’s something on the genetic level. Velvet is a part of Ukrainian style and traditionally it’s a kind of symbol of wealth.
In general, I always like silk and crepe de Chine. I can use them for summer collections as well as for winter ones. All Ukrainians have tactile predilection… they want the fabrics to be nice to touch. I do not want to use polyester in collections at all.
If your clothes would have a soundtrack, which one would you choose?
Some kind of fusion jazz electro, like Bonobo, for example
Do you have any trick to avoid that “blank page” moment while you are at the beginning stage of designing a new collection? Do you watch a movie, or read an old magazine?
As soon as you release a new collection, there is a feeling of devastation. You always want to get rid of the previous emotions and in such cases, the only thing that can help you is traveling to exotic countries. Europe also can rebuild the way of your thinking.
On one hand, you can just walk around, have a rest and then you spontaneously watch a movie or a play and you understand: “That’s it!”. At this time you feel being inspired, in a wink, you see the goal, and the only wish you have is to create something. But sometimes when I need to start working I just turn the music on. After some time you have the special feeling when you really understand that you can do everything. The only thing you need is to create, but with music.
If you weren’t a designer which direction would you choose in the fashion world and why?
I would become a journalist. In my youth, I used to write about fashion, although journalism is also not too very close to me. But I definitely would be in the fashion sphere.
It isn’t easy to be a designer and sometimes it’s hard to get out of depression. As a creative person, I can be dissatisfied with myself. Sometimes it seems that you have been underestimated enough. For me personally, the solution is a meditation based on the technique of Sahaja Yoga.
Something you want to add…
You just do what you have to do. Designers are always under the pressure. They are expected to surprise everyone all the time, from season to season. Psychologically this is a very difficult profession and it is surprising to me to what extent it has become so influential. Previously, in the same situation were writers. Now there are artists and designers. They are the ones that set the trends. It is very interesting.