For spring ’14, there’s a hat for every outfit and occasion in Anya Caliendo’s collection, shown at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. Her haute couture hats were absolutely opulent.
Caliendo, who was born in Russia, was first introduced to the world of divine hats in her grandfather’s private library. There, at the age of 3, she discovered an old book filled with black-and-white photographs of the Russian royal family.
“I remember being absolutely mesmerized by the beauty of the hat worn by Alexandra Romanov and her daughters, Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia,” reminisced Caliendo. “Those images stayed with me forever.”
Many years later, after graduating with a degree in linguistics, she unexpectedly discovered New York, the most seductive place in the world. Caliendo ended up crossing the Atlantic Ocean and found herself precisely in the front of the Oscar de la Renta boutique. The moment marked the beginning of her love affair with fashion. For her, New York was an unexplored territory, and she immediately fell in love with it.
New York was incredibly generous to her and opened the doors to Parsons the New School of Design, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and many other brilliant locations where she spent countless hours studying fashion design and the history of fashion and attending numerous seminars and lectures.
Ultimately, she discovered that her true passion lay in the field of millinery arts.
While studying the art of traditional millinery, her most treasured experience came from her long stay in England. There, she had the privilege of being taught by one of the most legendary names in the field of millinery arts, Rose Cory, a brilliant lady who is known for making hats for many eminent people and theatrical productions. She has also produced hats for Queen Elizabeth II.
After returning to New York, Caliendo opened a couture millinery atelier under her name. It was where she immediately started to work on developing her first collection, Je Ne Regrette Rien (No Regrets). This collection was followed by the debut of her Russia Divine Tribute collection in 2009.
In fall 2009, Caliendo crossed the Atlantic again. This time, she worked as an apprentice under the millinery master Stephen Jones in his London atelier. While in London, she also created hats for the spring/summer 2010 designer collections of Jason Wu, Donna Karan, Kinder Aggugini, Comme Des Garçons and John Galliano. Her apprenticeship with Jones was a life-changing and career-changing experience for her.
So far, her extraordinary fashion design journey has been full of divine surprises and exciting projects. She is looking forward to its continuation.
“The true enchantment of a woman begins with a fabulous hat,” said Caliendo. “When crafted by the hand of a skilled milliner, it becomes a natural extension of effortless elegance. It becomes a timeless treasure, a marvelous adventure of seduction and adornment.”
Good show! Have a happy, healthy New Year!