Oblivion Clothing Design is a fashion company to get acquainted with quickly. Ukrainian born designer Nataliya Meyer is pushing the envelope with her bespoke pieces. Meyer takes fashion design to the next level with her gowns and use of unconventional materials in a fascinating way that resemble works of art. Featured on Kansas City TV 5 News and taking part in the Kansas City Fashion Week, the humble and imaginative Meyer is making a name for herself with each custom ordered design. Cliché caught up with the budding designer to talk about Fashion Week, her new store Lucia’s Sarto, and her love of risque styles.
Cliché: How did you become interested in designing Victorian dresses?
Nataliya Meyer: I’ve always had a love affair with corsets. The way they accentuate the feminine waist and breast, luring our partner or others into a fleeting fantasy of what could be, what might be—as well as giving the wearer a bit of an opportunity to display the attitude which lives within us all. I know, corny, but in this sexuality, providing others the chance to flirt is great. It gives me energy and makes me excited. The abundance of opulent detail, the shape, color variations, the volume and fluidity, these, too, lead us down the path of proudly voguing our look and gaining the eye of our desire which can be a man, a woman, or ourselves. While I may do numerous types of looks, when I make these big gowns I use all the aforementioned influences. I provide those looks in a way which is clearly not a period piece or costume.
When did you establish Oblivion Clothing Design? What was that process like?
I have literally done this my whole life. Since I was 8 or 9 in the Ukraine, I would draw or cut out paper dolls and sew doll clothes. I would make my clothes to go out with friends. They were too inappropriate for school, being latex and too revealing for teachers and parents, but nonetheless, I persisted in making riskier and riskier clothes. Oh, my poor mother, who I adore and love for her ability to handle my craziness! Thankfully, Kansas City tamed me down a bit. I didn’t feel like I was doing things just to shock. I did realize I was becoming a bit too risqué in Kansas City. They provided me the feedback to find my place between shocking avant-garde and meeting my target audience’s needs to be sexual in a way they’re comfortable with. While Oblivion Clothing Design has always been there, it didn’t officially start till I arrived in the United States when I was 20. Over the last 10 years, I have evolved the label into the looks you see today.
History is a huge inspiration to you. What specific time period do you draw most of your inspiration from?
While history is a huge inspiration, saying I have a specific period is tough. I would say I’ve focused a lot of my “I’m inspired by this time period and their style” on the age of Marie Antoinette—the hair, the exposed and accentuated cleavage, and the volume and flow of the dresses. Noting my goals are to emphasize what a person likes and wants to show off and de-emphasize what they wish to camouflage, the age of Marie Antoinette provides that opportunity. I cannot say I draw all or even most of my inspiration from that one era or another, because I’m drawn to so much and am looking and seeing so much more.
Your designs have a bit of an edgy, rock ‘n’ roll vibe. How does that influence your designs?
Yes, this girl likes music and bands, no denying that. Who wouldn’t like seeing their design on a stage in front of many followers? Listening to music is a huge influence in my life. When I was 14 to 16, my nickname was Manson, as in Marilyn Manson, because of my affinity toward the shocking. While my garments are what they are, my personal style is still this way today, lots of black and high-end which is me. My mother says, “You know, Nataliya, you’re not the one going on stage!” I like being edgy. I used to like shocking the onlookers, and I would say I still like shocking a bit which does ebb into my collections. As for my current collection, it is very much like Ke$ha going to a phantasmagoric ball—and you know what? I would totally have a drink with that broad!
Explain the concept behind Oblivion Clothing Design.
I fell in love with “oblivion”; what a great word, what a great concept. How wonderful it would be to be oblivious, to let go of your surroundings and to just be the imaginary you—the you you dream of being! You’re not confined by what others say you should wear; it’s what your imagination wants to wear. To not be afraid, not to worry about judgments and opinions. It’s like dressing up into the character you want to be. I strive to create the gown of your Oblivion, of your imagination.
You mix around with different textures and cuts. How do you continue to push boundaries with your designs?
There’s always room to push the boundaries, but I’m not sure that’s my only goal. My goals are to help others feel empowered and push the boundaries as well, because I realize that I’m a bit edgy. Sometimes I reach too far, sometimes I don’t feel like I push hard enough, but in the end, I get an idea on how I can make materials mesh. I design clothes that make you stand out, make you stand up, and empower you. My vision is all about making yourself better, better, and better. I’m continually competing with myself to find ways to let the energy and streams of visions out of my head and into my next look, otherwise I will explode! Setting a trend in a major way where others can take inspiration, pick a detail they like, and carry it into their day-to-day look or their powerful outfits—this is the result I want.
Are you taking part in 18th Street Fashion Show this year?
I will apply and look forward to the opportunity. I love 18th Street Fashion Show; it has a special place in my heart since it was my first fashion show. I was so excited, so amazed, and truly enjoyed myself. Those relationships with the girls, photographers, hairdressers, makeup artist, with all those people who reached out to help me, who actually accepted me—I cherish those times. I’m still friends with that gang. We all did so very much together, and I owe a lot to them. As an artist, you stay dry and warm, and eat at the whim of your patrons and your friends. I am in love with people, especially all those who have helped me over the years. I’m extremely appreciative. As for this year’s show, the theme being “Ceremonial Summer,” and with all that’s going on in the world, I’ve chosen my looks—the ceremony of Revolution, War, and Victory!
Where do you hope to see Oblivion Clothing Design in the next 5 years?
I’m hoping, hoping, hoping, Oblivion Clothing Design is going strong. We see our new store Lucia’s Sarto as a great opportunity to share Oblivion Clothing Design with all of Kansas City, and of course we’ll continue to grow our web presence on Etsy and other sites. Our goal is to take the brand to the next step.
Oblivion Clothing Design Interview “Designs of Your Oblivion” originally appeared in Cliché Magazine’s April/May 2014 issue.
Photography: Brandi Nicole
Clothing Designer: Nataliya Lucia Meyer-Stroganova
MUAH: Heidi ‘Seager’ Bowles
Models: Lily Anderson, April Snow, Audrey White