THE ACCLAIMED RUSSIAN TWINS TEASE A POSSIBLE COLLECTION
Welcome to the captivating world of Ekaterina and Elena Popovy aka The Popovy Sisters
With an eerily palpable sense of humanity,their glamorously spectral dolls focus on highlighting abnormal beauty and have been embraced by the art, fashion and music world alike. These dolls have been a gateway for the sisters to working with names like Jean-Paul Gaultier, Fabrizio Viti, Die Antwoord and Grimes who are all equally enthralled with the dolls as their legion of fans are.
From the runway to Rupaul's Drag Race, the dolls meticulously crafted wigs and garments have inspired designers and drag queens to recreate their own, which has led to a call for a Popovy Sisters fashion collection. But can we expect to see one? With the help of our new friend and translator Igor, we caught up with the sisters live from their St. Petersburg studio to find out.
How have you both been during the pandemic, has it affected your work at all?
Well actually that's funny, we actually have more jobs to do than before, the lockdown hasn't affected our creative process too much as our workshop is in our house. This situation is what we have been doing for our whole lives but we definitely miss journeys and travelling with our work.
Good to hear! So where did the obsession with dolls begin?
Well, when we were younger we loved Barbie so our initial interest in dolls came from her. We would make different outfits and hair for her but eventually, we wanted something that was more customisable so that we could get our vision exactly how we wanted so that's when we decided to get into doll making. The very first dolls that we made actually were portrait dolls. The very first one was Ville Valo from the band HIM and we did a lot of other celebrities like Madonna, Johnny Depp, Dita Von Teese to name a few but a lot of our first dolls were actually male.
Oh really, that's a big change to what you do now as the dolls are predominantly female figures and extremely unique, how would you describe the dolls now?
That has always been a really difficult question to answer actually for us. We don't see it as just creating dolls or just creating fashion but more as creating full characters. So when we are creating each individual doll it almost feels like they are their own person.
Ah, that makes sense, is that one of the reasons why they are made to be posable - so that they are more lifelike?
Yes exactly! We see the dolls as small fashion models so it is important that they are able to move and change poses. After we went from static dolls to posable ones, we realized how great it was and how much more freedom we had when it comes to the shoots that we do.
Speaking of your photo shoots, you have already collaborated with some great names like Yollandi Vessir, Grimes and FKA Twigs. Who would be your next dream collab?
The list is long so we don't know how much time we have to name all of them but we would love to see our dolls through the vision of British Fashion Photographer Nick Knight. Another dream is that we would love to collaborate with a fashion brand to create a lingerie collection and jewellery collection to accessorise outfits for humans. We want to see our designs not only on dolls but on humans as well and together with an already established fashion brand we feel we would be able to achieve this. In reality, because we enjoy working together so much we end up having too many ideas so we have to focus on only a few.
Your work as really been embraced by the art world and so many designers and drag queens have re-created your wigs and costumes. How does it feel to see that you've inspired so many artists?
We feel so honoured and humbled to inspire people and we love seeing the photos of peoples work.
You've hinted at a few possible future projects, can you tell us what you have planned next?
We have several plans for the near future, the first being a big personal exhibition, we're organising it here in St. Petersburg in an art museum. It would be a huge collection of their static dolls that have never been seen before. We are also working on our upcoming books, one about our static doll collection and the other about our ball-jointed doll collections. We would also love to travel with the exhibition outside of St. Petersburg. We want people to be able to see the dolls in person because no photography can capture the detail and impact of seeing these dolls in real life. We are also planning on making two new collections, one is the wedding dress collection and the other we have been working on for years now, it's a huge collection called the 'feathered serpent', collection and very soon we will be releasing a brand new doll that has not been seen before and then a series of dolls after that to go along with it and on top of that there will also be several items for humans that will be something very special and we think people will love it but we don't want to give too much away!
For more on Popovy Sisters visit their Instagram
A special thank you to their manager Igor for assisting us in the interview.