When backstage photos from Spring 2016 New York Fashion Week hit the farewell fiancé! desk, our jaws dropped. Images of models adorned in Viktoria Novak crowns at the evening and bridal wear showcase simply took our breath away. Surrounded by a flurry of excitement and several disheveled clothes racks, the models dressed in sheer black leotards and matching gold leaf sashes, were the definitive representation of fashion splendour – innovative, high end design meets royal femininity. “Each headpiece is a personality,” Viktoria says. “A crown is not just a crown, there are hundreds of different shapes, styles and sizes. I design pieces for every personality.”
Viktoria always knew she wanted to do something creative so she chose a career in interior design. Though she soon learned that loving something was not a good enough reason to pursue it if you didn’t have the hunger for it too. For Viktoria it was an easy transition from creating interiors to fashion design. “During my time as a fashion design student, I wasn’t too sure which direction I was heading in and it wasn’t until I got placed in to a millinery elective by accident that I realised how much I loved creating headpieces.”
Since starting her business on the shores of Sydney in 2006, a growing list of Australian celebrities have shown their support for the brand including Rachel Finch, Nadia Bartel, Jodi Gordon and Jennifer Hawkins. Nine years and numerous features in high-end publications such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar later, Viktoria is taking on the fashion capital of the world (queue Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York).
Viktoria’s delicate craftsmanship and unmistakably modern adaption of the sartorial jeweled crown is what propelled her in to the fashion pantheon that is New York Fashion Week. Viktoria showcased her collection earlier this September in collaboration with Fashion Palette, a Sydney based agency recognised as an international springboard for elevating Australian fashion brands. Having only just unveiled her collection at Pier 59, Novak says, “I hope to expand the brand internationally after New York Fashion Week and further across more Myer stores around Australia.” There is certainly no rest for the wicked.
As a renowned bridal couture milliner Viktoria has played a large part in reinventing the rhinestone tiara. Experimentation lies at the essence of what Viktoria does she explains, “For me, inspiration follows experimental. I find that the best work I produce is usually from making mistakes and learning from those mistakes. I enjoy pushing the boundaries with the use of different and unusual materials.”
Viktoria describes the Bridal Couture 2016 collection as opulent, “transcending a modern bohemian goddess and evoking the feeling of the yesteryear in a hauntingly beautiful way.” Her silver leaf crystal skull caps and muted gold wreaths conjure notions of romance on a royal proportion.
“Don’t be afraid to make your headpiece or crown a feature. It doesn’t need to match everything, if anything trying to match your entire look from head to toe doesn’t necessarily work.”
A symbol of sovereignty and diplomatic bearing, the crown or tiara formerly held pagan undertones and traditionally represented the legitimacy of a marriage, signally the ‘crowning’ of love. However, the rules of how and when to wear a crown have dramatically changed with the times. Nowadays the crown is the very emblem of high-end design on and off the runway.
Just in time for the Spring racing season Viktoria shares with us her headpiece etiquette 101. While last season saw an influx of Grecian styled chaplets and polished metallic animal ears, Viktoria is betting on “a slight return of feathers” coming soon. “Crowns aren’t going anywhere anytime soon,” instead head wear will become more “clean, sharp and geometrical. Less is more,” Viktoria says.