Fyodor Golan Is Living Up to the McQueen Comparisons

Just over a year ago, the British fashion press received an invitation to the off-schedule show of an unknown label called Fyodor Golan. (“Something to do with Fyodor Dostoyevsky?” wondered one wag oddly familiar with Russian authors’ first names.) It was not the hottest ticket of the season, yet few of those who made it to the quietly extraordinary show will have forgotten the name.

Fast-forward a year and Fyodor Golan—two guys, in fact, the husband-and-husband team of Fyodor Podgorny and Golan Frydman—has come a long way. They’re the presiding winners of the Fashion Fringe award, plus they’re stocked in tony London department stores with international sales said to be in the offing.

And now the M word is being bandied about. McQueen references are part and parcel for young, high-concept Brits, but this time the comparisons are warranted. There’s the couturish intricacy (each piece in the autumn 2012 show was individually fitted to the model) and the fascination with melancholy and decay, which finds its fine-art parallel in Francis Bacon. When doing florals, as they did for spring 2012, they were—naturlich—Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal, or The Flowers of Evil. The other named inspiration that season was the Grand Duchess Anastasia, the semi-mythical lost Romanov princess. Styling combined plaited hair, Ballet Russe colors, glittering nose rings, and hourglass shapes à la Ethel Granger, she of the smallest waist on earth. Yet comparisons are dangerous, so in the designers’ own words…

Your highly ornate work has since been compared to that of McQueen. Do 
you see the influence on your designs? Who else do you consider to be 
We notice that everyone is compared to someone in the beginning of their careers. Even McQueen was compared to Mugler. We love expressive designers and artists like Elsa Schiaparelli, Charles James and Cristobal Balenciaga. We are as obsessed with details and shapes, but we constantly keep it expressive and look at our collections from an artistic point of view, as a painter would with his canvas.

Some of your references—Baudelaire, Van Gogh, tribal scarring—suggest a gothic sensibility. Are you dark people in real life?
We love to explore all the personalities within ourselves and all our extremities, but we don’t think we’re dark. We draw on human nature. It can be raw, sensual and very tender. It’s about being expressive.

If you could live in any period of history, 
what would it be?
A time still to happen. It would have to be the future as we are intrigued by all the advances and what’s to come. Pinpointing another period of history is hard as we constantly draw inspiration from various artists, poets and happenings throughout history.

How does your design process work? Does each of you specialize in one aspect or are choices made jointly?
It’s a very organic process and involves lots of talking and brainstorming. We always ask each other’s opinion and then arrive at the best outcome and design decision. We decide where we want to go, and then we work individually in the first instance, before mixing it up together. We therefore create collections that can involve contradicting inspiration, stories and shapes, yet merge together beautifully.

How did you meet? Did the fashion affinity or the personal affinity come 
Personal first, from pleasure to business.

How does being married affect your work? And vice versa?
We collaborate brilliantly together as we each have different perspectives, so it’s always interesting to combine thoughts and designs. We put a lot of ourselves into the DNA of the brand. That way people really connect and engage with the clothes.


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