R&V, the brand of sisters Raisa and Vanessa Sason, is about to put the urban, chic, brave and attention-seeking women on its radar adding ready-made garment collections to its couture ones.
It seems like on the day they were born, their names were chosen to inspire them in their interest of fashion, to turn their vision into concrete designs at an early age, study abroad and build their own business back in Turkey, whilst naming their brands with their own names. Raisa, who is the creative one of twins, means rose in Hebrew and Russian. Vanessa on the other hand, means butterfly in Latin, and beauty goddess in the Mesopotamian language. Could the content of the name of a fashion brand get more meaningful or stronger than this?
While we were interviewing Raisa and Vanessa Sason, they were under justified stress for their fashion show in Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week İstanbul (MBFWI). “In the show of our 2016 Spring-Summer collection titled Tribe of R&V, the story takes place in a luxurious tribe. We don’t like to limit or to be limited. Thus we define our concepts within our own world,” says Raisa. They define their brand as “avant-garde, brave, single-hearted, artistic and close to architectural forms” and they imagine it as a provocative, elegant and urban woman who makes heads turn as she enters the room. And they take a new journey with each season. “Tribe of R&V consists of around 65 pieces. You will see silk and lace, mother-of-pearl, different techniques of stone working, and patterns that lie between floating lines and hard edges. Our colour palette includes lilac, orange, blood-red, grass-green and marsala. In this collection we have manipulated and transformed lace, which has become a material that we identify with. And we have made some changes in design. The specially made embroidery details make reference to the whirlpool we created for the show,” they explain.
Born in İstanbul, 1986, Vanessa and Raisa sisters were raised as members of a big family. “In our family we have people working in the fields of exchange, textile and decoration. Thus we have learned something from both sides,” they say. The twins who designed bags at the age of 15 and bought a sewing machine with the money they earned, still keep investing all their savings into their business. “I wish we had kept at least one of those bags to ourselves, maybe someone who bought one years ago will read this interview and send it to us! At those days we were interested in the baroque era, so we had created a design that was a mix of jacquard leather and velvet,” they recall.
When you think of it, they might be twins but still, I think there is something miraculous in both of them tending towards fashion at the same time, with the same amount of interest. There are many twins, as one of them becomes a doctor, the other one turns out to be a writer. “Since we were twins, our family used to dress us the same. As we were growing up, we started created our own stylish combinations at an early age. When we were 13 years old, we were designing our own dresses and having a tailor sew them for us. We were wearing our mother’s silk gowns from her dowry with our torn jeans. I can’t say that it was appropriate or cool, but we were trying out a lot of styles like this! I guess we always felt that we were born for this business,” they say. After that, they went to London for high school and college and studied stage costume design in London College of Arts. “After observing our areas of interest, our teachers directed us towards this specific field of study. We are glad that they did so, because we are actually people who get motivated and excited by music and performing arts,” say the twins. Since there were no walls to hit at, they definitely believe that London has given them a sense of limitlessness.
But after studying stage costume and rising over such a theatrical and magnificent foundation, it shouldn’t be very easy to turn what they learned into wearable pieces, simplifying and transforming them in a more realistic way. “Actually the first pieces we designed had dominant theatrical elements, as we kept designing all fell into place. But that doesn’t mean that we completely gave up on theatre references. You will see the shadow of it that still falls upon us in the upcoming seasons.”
R&V had their first show in October 2013, with their 2014 Spring-Summer collection. Their latest show in MBFWI was their fifth. And recently, they are excited to release their first ready-to-wear collection that will be sold on shopraisavanessa.com, aiming to reach more people with lower budgets. Because as much as they love making couture designs and dressing up famous women such as Nicole Scherzinger and Anna Beatriz Barros; they care about touching the lives of more women.
They are always together with their dogs, Bambam and Mogli. They come to work, eat meals, and go on vacations together. They are sensitive about animal rights. Sports are also a part of their lives; they do pilates, kickboxing or hiking everyday. Raisa loves books, while Vanessa is interested in painting; which is a secret. Belts and boots are the key pieces of Raisa’s style; accessories are the most crucial elements of a combination for her. “I feel close to Barbara Martelo and Emmanuelle Alt’s styles. I usually shop at Ivy, Toga Burla, Isabel Marant and vintage stores,” she explains. Vanessa says that she is into dresses and jewelry. They shop at the same addresses, but her favorite person in terms of style is Erin W. Asson.
The Raisa & Vanessa brand is 11 years old today. They started up their business at a very early age, when they were only 18 years old, after designing bikinis and noticing that it could actually be brought together under a brand name. They cannot stop working, even when they’re away they can’t relax if they don’t contact their office, they can’t even breathe without their business. This year they closed their office for the holidays for 10 days for the first time, “When we came back we were almost crying to get back to work,” they say. And that is happy news for them and for us. Because at the end of the day, their passion makes their lives and the lives of women they dress a much more beautiful place.