Millinery Feature: Eyes on Iva Ksenevich and Her Fascinators

Millinery Feature: Eyes on Iva Ksenevich and Her Fascinators | Track Mode by Nina


If you had met Iva Ksenevich as a child and had to guess what she was going to be when she grew up, “milliner” would have been one of your top three guesses.

“Once, when I walked out for a promenade with my parents, they told me that they won’t go anywhere with me unless I wear something ‘normal’.” Not only was Iva fascinated by the act of dressing up, one of her favourite hobbies was making things by hand.

Iva was born in Belarus, but refuses to identify as a Russian milliner. “I am not. I believe my work and style are international. I have projects in Moscow as well as London, Paris, New York, Shanghai, Milan.”

It’s a bit of an irony that hats aren’t all that popular in Russia, but no matter. Her work may not be fully appreciated by most of her countrymen, but she is very well-received abroad.

FCC Shanghai 2016 | Millinery Feature: Eyes on Iva Ksenevich and Her Fascinators | Track Mode by Nina

Iva was given the Dream Award at the FCC Shanghai 2016. Image: Iva Ksenevich Facebook page

Just this year, in fact, Iva was named one of the top 15 designers out of the 2,000 creatives that joined the Fashion Crowd Challenge in Shanghai. “Women in Shanghai like sparkly accessories, and also geometry is very popular. That is why my geometrical collection fit perfectly. I loved working with Asian models and my designed looked very well on them.”

ZZ | Millinery Feature: Eyes on Iva Ksenevich and Her Fascinators | Track Mode by Nina

“ZZ” – I love geometry! It looks so great with soft face features and fits almost any style of outfit – a dress or a costume. This piece is very feminine and elegant. The pink bow on the top just gives an accent, so it isn’t boring. To my mind it is one of the best pieces for the races! Image: Iva Ksenevich

Her fascinators have also graced the pages of Vogue and Elle, among others.

Iva has only been making hats for three years. She was introduced to hat-making on a visit to London. “Philip Treacy is one of the greatest artists – he has managed to lift up millinery to another level. His strongest point is that he is different, yet saves his style. I think it’s with his creations and photos from Royal Ascot that I fell in love with hat-making!”

Family was also a great influence on Iva’s aesthetic during her formative years. Her mother and grandmother were “quite extravagant” (her words) and very much liked hats, gloves, and bags. Iva grew up with three sisters: she is one of a set of triplets, and they have an older sister. Alice is very feminine, Zlata likes sporty and classics, and Elena, the eldest, is very classic. As for Iva: “I am a mixture – sometimes I like to dress up with a dress, a hat and heels, sometimes I feel very comfortable in street wear.”

Inspiration, she firmly believes, comes from everywhere. (“I don’t really understand how one can run out of ideas!”) Her work is the product of classical styles, museums, and lately, nature and architecture.

Net | Millinery Feature: Eyes on Iva Ksenevich and Her Fascinators | Track Mode by Nina

“Net” is one of my most popular pieces. The material is very light weight and flexible. The story behind it: I was talking to my friend who makes couture dresses, discussing different materials and techniques. She told me: “Iva, you are trying to combine so many different things together, why don’t you try taking one piece of a simple material and make a masterpiece out of it!” I tried, and voila – one of the best pieces in the collection! Image: Iva Ksenevich

“My favourite pieces are those that made me think and try new techniques. You will never forget the process of creating them. After, when you see an elegant lady wearing it, it is a burst of beauty and satisfaction.”

Birds Nika | Millinery Feature: Eyes on Iva Ksenevich and Her Fascinators | Track Mode by Nina

“Birds Nika” – is a very special piece made of real leaves that I collected myself in London! I’ve started experimenting with tiaras not so long ago – the best thing is that you can create any shape yourself. I am very much inspired by nature and think it is the greatest artist! This is why I’ve decided to use some nature materials. This tiara is made of holly tree leaves, that I’ve spotted out and collected in London in the night. Everybody thinks it is made of iron or gold, but actually it is natural – just a few experiments and here we go! Image: Iva Ksenevich

You can download a lookbook by Iva Ksenevich here, or take a look at more of her work here. She also has a new one coming later this month, so stay tuned!

You may also want to take a look at an interview we had with Jill Humphries, one of Australia’s best talents in fine millinery.

Iva’s quotes were edited a little for clarity and brevity.