LEONID GUREVICH dress. Photography by Miss Aniela
Leonid Gurevich on Right: photographed by Miss Aniela at the Greystone Court, 2014
words/interview Lakenya Kelly
IN THIS LATEST ISSUE, WE INVITE ELUSIVE FASHION EDITOR LEONID GUREVICH INTO OUR PAGES AND CREATIVE COMMENTARY AS WE BRING TO LIFE, YET ANOTHER CHAPTER OF THE DAPIFER. GUREVICH, KNOWN FOR HIS IMPECCABLY GILDED USE OF FANTASY GROUNDED UPON THE REALITIES OF LIFE, HAS MADE A NAME FOR HIMSELF SPANNING ACROSS THE INTERNATIONAL FASHION WORLD. YOU MAY SEE HIS DESIGNS IN ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE FASHION MAGAZINES, OR SIT IN A LUCID DAY- DREAM AS YOU BROWSE ONE OF HIS FASHION STORIES. THE TALENTED MR. GUREVICH HAS MORE THAN A FEW TRICKS UP HIS SLEEVE.
WE RECENTLY GAVE GUREVICH THE TASK OF INTERPRETING OUR LATEST CHAPTER, WHICH WE TITLE, THE BAPTISM. INSPIRED BY THE IDEA OF REBIRTH AND THE IRONIC NATURE OF TRANSFORMATION, WE WERE ANXIOUS TO SEE EXACTLY WHAT HE WOULD CREATE. WHILE THE IMAGES CERTAINLY HAVE A MARVELOUS LIFE OF THEIR OWN, WE DECIDED THAT IT WOULD BE EVEN MORE INTRIGUING TO VIEW THE STORY AS HE SAW IT, SCENE BY SCENE, MOMENT BY MOMENT. THESE ARE HIS THOUGHTS, INSPIRATIONS, AND THE STORY OF THE WONDROUS WORLD OF LEONID GUREVICH.
Leonid Gurevich styles Diandra Forrest for Dark Beauty magazine. Photographer Jason Setiawan
Â What is fashion to you?
Fashion to me is most certainly not about what is ‘in’ this season and what is ‘out’. To me fashion goes way beyond apparel. Fashion is such an intelligence-boosting force. Researching for a collection alone takes designers around the world, making them uncover and process mountains of information during their journey. When wearing designers’ clothes, people are inherently also wearing all of the inspiration behind these garments. That is why minimalism in fashion is so disappointing to me. Less is not more. More is more. Fashion is edification. Fashion is a history. Fashion is geography. Fashion is stimulation. Fashion is an invitation to enjoy life.
What’s your favorite part of creating things?
Whenever I am working on designing or styling an editorial, my favorite part is the moment when I come up with a strong inspiring concept knowing it will make an impact. I get chills when this happens and I cannot wait to start bringing it to life. Another favorite part is when after weeks and weeks of research, calls, appointments, pulls, and last-minute cancellations, everything falls together for a perfect fit.
Did you always know that you would end up working in the creative world?
Absolutely. Ever since I can remember, I was always drawn to beautiful people, interesting things, to anything that was the opposite of dull and boring. Coincidentally, the very first ‘foreign’ magazine I got my hands on growing up was American Vogue. I became my mother’s little apprentice and learned about sewing from an early age – how could I end up anywhere else?
My earliest memory is when I was about 5 years old, helping my mother to create a beautiful decorative piece with butterflies on velvet with lace inserts for wings, encrusted with stones and gold embroidery… breathtaking… I will never forget that. That was the moment when I subconsciously realized that this was the direction I needed to be heading in. Making beauty with your own hands out of nothing, seeing people react to it, inspiring them, inspiring yourself. What can be better? Later on, when I saw Mugler’s pieces in George Michael’s “Too Funky” video, it cemented my decision to become a designer.
LEONID GUREVICH dress. Photographer Zhang Jingna
The creative inspiration for this issue was based on the idea of “Baptism”. In your words, what did this idea represent for you?
I am always trying to break away from clicheÌs. I had zero Â interest in creating another pretty story with a religious theme. Baptism is a believer’s ritual to become a member of the church. By being baptized, people show their god that they are willing to be obedient to his commandments. Most people are baptized when they are babies, i.e. before they can decide for themselves. It is the adult baptism that is of particular interest to me. Religion is a choice. I am intrigued by some adult individuals’ decisions to become a part of a group or an organization to the point where they choose to over- look logic, common sense, sanity and morality. Baptism doesn’t only mean starched lacy accouterments, rays of light through a stained glass window, and few drops of holy water on a reverent forehead. It is also an official authorization to feel superior and vilify others for no reason: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. But he that believeth not shall be damned.” – Mark 16:16. That is what Baptism essentially is to me. Holy Scriptures are jam-packed with analogous ‘inspirational’ memes. Anyone can look it up in the Bible that they are so intent on clinging to.
If people choose to keep claiming that religion is all about peace and love, taking verses out of context ignoring these blatant discrepancies, that’s up to them, but not to a point where their religious beliefs and practices come at someone else’s expense. That is not what the First Amendment is about. Like many Americans, I’m not a religious person. Freedom of religion also means freedom from religion.