Igor Chapurin, designer

All the world’s top designers are known by their name alone. And one of the fastest-rising names in Russian couture is thirty-three year old Igor Chapurin.

Entering the boutique of Chapurin Couture at 38 Myasnitskaya in Moscow transforms one’s world from the ordinary and obligated into a bright and timeless artistic haven. It is immediately apparent why Chapurin’s work is so widely sought after. His clothing is unique in its elegant simplicity. Each piece is designed with his purely Russian vision in mind.

Chapurin’s interest in fashion design began during his youth in Vityebsk, a city in Belarus near the Russian border. His parents worked in a textile factory—the perfect place for Chapurin’s ideas to grow and flourish. Later, he attended the Vityebsky Institute of Clothing Design. Upon graduating, he set off for Paris — the mecca of international designers, to make a name for himself.

Chapurin soon discovered that young fashion designers in Paris were used for their ideas—they received no personal credit for their work. So, after accumulating a certain amount of necessary experience, Chapurin returned to Moscow to carve out his niche in the fresh ground of Russian couture.

In 1993, Chapurin designed dresses for the top Russian beauty contests, including the Miss Russia and Miss Europe contests. From 1996 to 1998, on the invitation of Princess Irene Galitzine —from the famous Italian House of Galitzine—he designed the first lines for which he would receive recognition under the mark “Chapurin Couture.” Top awards soon followed. In 1998, he received the highly-prized Golden Mannequin, as well as the Dress of the Year. His lines began touring important shows in Paris, Germany and Switzerland. And he began creating play costumes for the famous Russian actor and theater director Oleg Menshikov— “Woe from Wit” (1999) and “Kitchen” (2000).

Chapurin prefers the simple and clean cuts of the 1950s and 1970s, but manipulates the form with sharp, extended angles, and with fabric textures, which is what makes his collections unusual. He prefers materials specific to the Russian climate—wools, fur and leathers—and often mixes his high-end couture line with his prêt-à-porter de luxe (“deluxe ready-to-wear”) line. Wide cuffs and dramatic contrasts in fabric create a distinctive style, while form fitting designs accentuate the torso and give an impression of sleekness and elegance that is refreshing in its unaffected purity.

Of course, such artistic beauty does not go for a small price. A pure sable jacket sells for 166,800 rubles ($5,957), yet the average person can purchase basic accessories, like a wool cap or scarf, for $100 or less. Not bad for a piece of Chapurin.

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