Tak.Ori: The Ukrainian Knitwear Designer You Need To Know
As I enter Lana Taccori’s chic SoHo hotel room, I am instantly greeted by a floral aroma that lingers throughout the room as well as on the designer herself, who warmly welcomes me into her colorful space. Lining the blue velvet sofas are racks of her latest clothing collection, which range from oversized cardigans, vibrant knitwear, sparkly gowns and, of course, rows of her signature printed hats. The talented quintilingual fashionista (yes, that’s 5 languages) walks me through Tak.Ori her latest collection — even letting me try on a few pieces — and hands me her latest lookbook along with photos of style mavens like Sarah Jessica Parker and Chiara Ferragni rocking her iconic headwear.
A savior to ice queens everywhere, the style guru developed her line to help those of us in brisk climates feel fashionable despite our frostbite, chapped lips, and pale skin.
Originally from Ukraine, the Milan based designer understands the dilemma of trying to look good in the coldest of months. Although she only had 24 hours in New York, Taccori sat down with Milk Made’s Natasha Frid to dish on her obsession with knitwear, her outlook on establishing personal style, and her advice on pulling off more ‘daring’ clothing pieces.
Tak.Ori is considered a luxury knitwear line. Why did you choose to create a clothing brand based on knitwear?
I’ve always collected hats, scarves and other accessories. I was traveling a lot through Russia. It was always a problem because my clothes were either warm and not cool, or cool and not warm. But then I had a chance to meet with a production team, and we started with accessories and then we saw the potential and we developed a collection. Knitwear is super comfortable — you can be cool and comfy at the same time. Especially in cold countries that’s all we wear. Also yarn is super interesting to work with because by changing one color — one yarn — you can create a completely different look.
Did you always know you wanted to be a designer?
From the day I was born I knew I’d become a designer. When I was a child I would sew and knit for my mom, my sisters and myself. All of my classmates knew that I wanted to be a designer too. In the end of the year we printed a newspaper where we had to project where we would be in 20 years, and under my name my classmates wrote that I would be a famous designer.
Do you remember the first time you saw someone wearing your designs?
Yes! It was in Moscow about three years ago. I was walking down the street and I saw a girl wearing my cardigan. She came up to me and I was so excited so I asked her for a picture, but she was like ‘no, can I have a picture with you?’ It was a big surprise. It was super beautiful and emotional.
Where do you go for inspiration when you don’t have any?
I go to the museum. I take from art, from architecture — from modern art, from contemporary art, from asian art—all of it. Whenever I go to a museum, I get an idea and I use that. I think that creation comes from creation.
Are there 3 articles of clothing you couldn’t live without?
A hat, a scarf and a sweater. You can pair a plain sweater with a colorful hat or a colorful scarf and it always looks elegant and cool.
Do you ever get nervous before runway shows?
Always. My heart starts beating really fast and I have to take valerian [laughs]. I get nervous but I get happy. It’s a positive experience. You can’t be calm for everything you do. Obviously you think about the impression you will make, what people will say and the overall reaction. I was so happy after the first season. After the show, a girl sent me a photo and wrote me a nice letter saying my collection was cool and fun. It made me super excited.
You travel a lot for work. Is there a place you want visit that you haven’t been to yet?
I would like to go to Lima, Peru. I take a lot of inspiration from their traditional clothing. You know Mario Testino? He’s from Lima. He did this photo exhibition of men and women wearing the Peruvian national costumes. It was beautiful. I was mesmerized by it.
What do you tell people when they say that they can’t ‘pull off’ a certain look?
I have heard that so many times. Some women tell me that ‘a hat is not for me’, but I just force them to try it on and then they love it. They don’t think they can pull it off and then they tell me ‘I didn’t expect how good I’d look in this hat’
Is there any advice you have for people who are trying to develop their personal style.
I think that you don’t have to think about it, you just have to follow your feelings. We are all so different. It doesn’t mean that if you don’t wear a certain piece, you aren’t in fashion or on trend. I saw a lot of girls who put trendy pieces together, but it doesn’t go with them. Don’t be afraid to wear pieces you really like. It’s ‘personal’ style — it’s supposed to be personal to you. Take in what you feel. If it’s strange for other people, it doesn’t matter. It’s your style.
Is there a girl you envision wearing your designs?
A woman with a strong personality who’s not afraid to experiment or mix colors, or wear strange things or accessorize. Like Iris Apfel—— someone like that. She doesn’t care about the brand or the trend. She really does ‘personal’ style.
Is there anything else you’d want to let the readers of Milk Made to know?
I love movies. I’ve been living in Milan and so I often go to the Venice film festival and Cannes film festival. I love it. My favorite movie — not necessarily an intellectual one — is Pretty Woman. It’s so girlish. I also love intellectual and avant grade films — but I just think Pretty Woman is just so classic.
Check out the collection here