MBFW: “Confessions” by Anya Caliendo


            “Anya Caliendo. Couture Millinery Atelier” presented new Spring/Summer 2014 Collection of Couture Hats titled “Confessions” as an official part of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week September 11th at the legendary Lincoln Center, New York, NY. This presentation was the first official Fashion Week display of Couture Hats by American Milliner in decades.

Russian-born Anya Caliendo grew up in a country of sparkling white snows, gold-domed churches, and magnificent history. At the age of three, when flipping through her grandfather’s private library, she happened upon an old book containing black and white photographs of the Russian Royal Family – one particular image, depicting Alexandra Romanoff and her daughters, Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia in beautiful hats, changed the young designer’s life, and the image forever pressed in her mind.

Determined to hone her skills, Caliendo apprenticed under the esteemed Mrs. Rose Cory, the British milliner to Queen Elizabeth, who also fathomed creations for operatic and theatrical productions; she later received the tutelage of great millinery master Stephen Jones, where she worked on hats for the collections of Jason Wu, Donna Karan, Comme Des Garcons, and John Galliano.

In 2008, Caliendo opened an eponyomous Couture Millinery Atelier and started developing what would be her first, deeply personal collection, “Je Ne Regrette Rien” (“No Regrets”). This debut was soon followed by “Russia Divine Tribute,” “The Secret Lives or Dolls,” “Les Enfants Terribles,” “Moskovita Capsule Collection,” and “Sanctum.”

Anya Caliendo marks the first millinery presentation in decades to officially show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. “Confessions,” an impressive 36-piece spring/summer 2014 collection ranging in style from the dramatic and editorial to the subtle and classic, expresses fantasy, rich tradition, and boast the utmost attention to detail.

Caliendo’s hats are created entirely by hand on custom-made bocks, without the use of a single machine stitch or drop of glue; every detail from silk flowers to feathers is crafted to the highest standard of millinery art.

“Confessions” could be experienced as a series of dramatic shorts, and each piece or “chapter” has a name and story: “Daydreamer” incorporates gold-dipped birch trees; the “Caviar” creation is encrusted with Swarovski crystals. Every piece effectively expresses and enhances the personality of the wearer.


Photo credit: Dan Lecca


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