For many years, the fashion style of clothing by Aina Gasse has been in the spotlight of Ukrainian high fashion fans. Its impeccable symmetry that is multiplied by romantic ease captivates the hearts of show business stars and political elites, for whom recognizable and individual styles are the crucial factors in their own expression in the world. Today, a talented designer does not limit herself to just one direction. Like many famous couturiers, Aina Gasse has successfully tried her hand in film industry. Her fantastically beautiful costumes will be seen by Ukrainian audiences in the first Ukrainian fantasy film “Only a Miracle” (directed by Olena Karetnik). For the movie Aina Gasse has created about 500 costumes, 300 of them are handmade. With Ms Aina, we talked not only about the painstaking work for the film, but also about her secret hobbies and future fashion trends.
Last year turned out to be extremely fruitful for you. For the first time in 2 years you presented a pret-a-porter collection at Ukrainan Fashion Week and as a costume artist you have been involved in the filming of the fantasy movie “Only a Miracle”. How did everything worked out and didn’t interfere with the creation of collection or vice versa?
In fact, for me it is a small workload, because every year I plan to create two collections. In addition, I have clients and projects. I create clothes for corporate customers and shows. When it came about working on a movie, the main thing was to meet the timing and shooting schedule.
I had no right to let the team down because everything was planned 7 months ahead. Each week I was sent a clear assignment stating how many suits to create. So the time constraint kept me on track. But still, it is extremely wonderful! This is my profession, which I love very much, so when I was working on film I felt in my place.
How did you get into the project and have you ever dreamed of trying yourself in such a role?
As a costume artist, I have already worked in the theater with the art director Vitaly Malakhov.
He gave me complete creative freedom, and it was nothing short of ecstatic. But in cinema, this is my first experience. I immediately agreed to Olena Karetnik’s proposal. We discussed all the scenes together, especially the most important ones. By the time of filming, I had almost all the sketches ready. We all expect that the film will have great resonance and it will be noticed not only in Ukraine but also abroad.
Your brand’s clothing in Ukraine is especially liked by business women and political elite. Concise and elegance to please the modern city dweller. A 17th century costume was needed for the film’s future. Where and how were they inspired to create them?
Of course, not so much is known about the costume of this era. But I studied the history of costume at the institute, so I had an idea of what sources to get information from. The library of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine named after Volodymyr Vernadsky gave me invaluable assistance, because the most of the reproductions of this period are stored. Unfortunately, these reproductions are not handed over and are forbidden to copy. There was no choice but to draw by hand. But then Olena Karetnik and I came to the conclusion that we are still creating a fairy tale, so the costumes should not be too historical. It inspired me to take into account the peculiarities of not forgetting that our heroes are, first and foremost, the individuals. Therefore, we have deviated somewhat from the historical truth and created a unique costume for each character. Of course, it took a lot of times to re-read the script to immerse yourself in the mood and character traits of each character, and to create their images accordingly. So everything I learned about the history of the costume simplified and complicated my tasks in the same time. For example, I really wanted to put on hats of the time, because they are extremely beautiful, but the director saw it in a different way.
For the movie you have created about 500 costumes, more than half of them are handmade ones. Please tell us about your team that helped to realize such a great idea. Were there any experts from your fashion house?
Yes, of course, every costume went through our salon. In the first stage, the sketches and materials were approved. Olena Karetnik is very meticulous and exacting.
The little things that, in my opinion, could go unnoticed are extremely striking at the sight of cameras. So we approved everything to the last stitch on the shutters. To make modern dressing imperceptible in the frame, the seams on the front of the garment are decorated with a hand stitch or lace. In the salon, we made patterns and tried them on the actors, then disassembled, trimmed and sent to our contractors, who sewed everything together. Decorating and the last stage of the preparation were done exclusively at our studio. Technologically sophisticated attire, as well as the outfits of the main characters were made only by us. The main characters had a few fits because it was very important to understand the degree of fit of the suits and corsets. The skillful masters of our studio, made all kinds of embroidery and knitting. They decorated the hats and they dyed feathers with lace, because you would not find such shades in Ukraine, and we did not have time to go and buy abroad. Things had been constantly changing, and we didn’t always understand when it was necessary to prepare costumes for one scene or another.
We only knew that winter we had to shoot in wintertime, and summertime scenes would be filmed at the end of spring.
In your collections, you do like to use leather, lace, knitwear; but did you not feel limited in the choice of materials within the budget of the film?
I had complete freedom. The fact that we had a split our heroes into those ones from wealthy families and from more humble families added to the convenience. We used lace, velvet, taffeta, silk and a lot of handmade costumes for wealthy characters and everything on the screen has got a chic look. There are costumes created from the start to the finish by hands. For example, I mean the boots that are hand-woven with fur.
We decided not to use natural fur, so that the tale did not fall then a wave of indignation.
All the fur was artificial, and we trimmed and dyed it to give a variety of shades. I think this is the right decision. We also bought and rent vintage brooches with semi-precious stones, and ordered handmade fittings in that time.
Whilst shooting the singer Lama in the role of Fairy Ice, we used stones and crystals.
Either, we created embroideries and crowns in the technique of hand-carving and, finally, everything turned out to look very nice!
“Only a M iracle” was filmed in winter in the snowfull Carpathians. How often were you able to be on the set?
I was present in the first stages of filming in Bukovel, just at the breaking of the plate.
My team and I came to understand how things would be. It was the first fitting of the main characters. They were freezing cold, so I felt like I needed to wear them. We adapted all the outerwear so that it could be placed under it with insulation and artificial fur, only so it was possible to warm the actors. Under their suits we had to dress them up with the thermal underwear, trousers, coasters, they would freeze in the synthetic cloth; the more there were many night shots, with heavy frosts.
I could not leave the studio: if I went to the shooting in Bukovel, many costumes would be sewn online and some important nuances would be ignored. There were costumers on the court with whom we kept in touch.
Many famous designers created costumes for cult films. Would you like to continue to create cinema clothing? And if you had a choice, what clothes would you like to recreate?
Of course, I know that as a designer I can only be valuable in a costume movie. It would be great to participate in a historical movie about any era. Or maybe in a children’s or contemporary film where there will be fashion – in those movies where the suit plays an important role. I don’t care about everyday life stories. Even when I create corporate clothing, I understand that I have to embody what the customer dreams of, but cannot put into words. So I watch people a lot and notice the individual traits that need to be embodied in a suit. I am open to any work because I am interested in designing myself. And in jewelry and in the interior too…
What are the interior and jewelry design for you – hobby or part of the job? In these areas, how do you master your skills and how do you embody your own style?
In the design of the premises, I think the most important thing is the attempt to take into account how in one area or another sun will move during the day. Jewelry is also a private order. Yes, I was designing a gold pen with art nouveau diamonds. Very sophisticated! We in Ukraine could not create it, because it required a machine with a very thin thread. This pen according to my sketch was collected already abroad.
Generally, I dream to develop a gift line for my VIP clients. These can be pens, notepads, or pen holders that allow a business person to enjoy visual pleasure. I also love when there is something special on my desk that creates not only a lot of knowledge and work, but also professionalism. The professional constantly hones the skill, and this skill is noticed by others. In my opinion, there is a time when individualism will be more important than fashion trends. This is evident even in the collections of many world designers. The collection is united by one idea, but on the catwalk appear so scattered models of absolutely fashionable appearance, in which the designers manage to emphasize their highlights. I think this is only the beginning and everything will develop with a crazy progression. I watch this for my customers.
Do you follow the Uktrainian movie making industry? Which films do you like?
To name but a lot, as a fashin gersigner I can notice the stylish visualization. Unfortunately I do not remember the names of the movies but I am proud of our film making indusrty. And I dare to belive that this trend will be a lasting one.