Meet Anton Lisin, The Latest Russian Designer to Hit it Big
These days, all eyes (or at least those belonging to most fashion editors) seem to be on Russia. And not just on the deified Gosha Rubchinskiy. Take Anton Lisin. As a former model, Lisin established his namesake label with far more industry contacts than most emerging designers—and especially those coming out of Russia. One such contact was even Rubchinskiy himself, whom Lisin worked with before he made it big, and whom Lisin continues to be inspired by. Which isn’t to say they share a similar aesthetic; where Rubchinskiy infuses post-Soviet imagery and themes into his designs, Lisin designs his clothes with present-day Russia in mind. A recurring source of inspiration in his primarily dark-toned collections is black metal, which, as he told us, complements Russia’s atmosphere, nature, and landscape. Also incorporated into his work is religious imagery and symbolism, which is oftentimes evident in the graphics that Lisin paints himself and sometimes peppers with hidden imagery; look close enough, and you might spot the words “RUSSIA” or “LISIN.”
Full of clean, sleek drapes and occasionally stamped with a single, sinister graphic, Lisin’s clothes are at once smart and moody—and clearly destined for good things.
Check out Lisin’s latest lookbook, “The blind guide the blind,” premiering exclusively on Milk above—and then read on to find out what’s behind Lisin’s dark designs.
There’s a dark element to your clothes—why is that and what’s that about?
I think it is more about the effect of the situation and the environment in which I grew up. Black color [has been] my favorite color for a long time and I can’t change it. I don’t know why, but in our society, [people] always associate [black clothes] with something negative and dark. But, pay attention to how people wear clothes on the streets of Russian cities or in public transport, and you’ll notice that 70-to-80 percent of clothes are in black or dark colors. And monks, for example, they wear black cassocks all year around. I think that the dark and light is everywhere and in each person, and one can’t really exist without the other.
I love the labels that have been coming out of Moscow recently; have you noticed a surge in Russian designers?
Yes, for sure, there’s been a surge in designers and creativity in Russia, especially in Moscow, and it is not about clothes only. Firstly [I think this is because] the economic situation made everybody pay attention to what is being produced in our country. Secondly, it is easier to self-promote now.
Who is the Anton Lisin muse?
Muse isn’t always about someone’s appearance. It is most important that they have a strong personality and don’t follow trends.
Do you consider your work to be political at all?
My work is based on my love for my country, the atmosphere of Russia, but it is not about government. So I can’t say my work is political at all.
How do you typically approach taboo topics in your designs?
I use religious imagery and symbolism—it can be Christian or other religious symbols, [sometimes used together]. Many people are very skeptical about this, some of them are even aggressive. But as I have already said, good and evil are everywhere. For example, orthodoxy teaches people goodness and love, but at the same time it is based on the worship of the dead, to touch the body parts of the dead saints. I am not a staunch opponent of religion; on the contrary, I am sure you can find something useful and new for yourself in every religion.
But in any case, it is impossible to live and see the world through the prism of a particular religion or doctrine, so it’s impossible to see the full picture of the world in this way.
Images courtesy of Anton Lisin.
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