Picturesque landscapes that long since the city of Kislovodsk is famous for do not leave indifferent anyone who at least once has visited this fabulous place.
No wonder that such beautiful lands become the cradle of the real talent: here, in 1949 the Botashovs family celebrated the birth of their daughter Larisa, who was predestined to serve the noble cause of her people’s cultural heritage preservation and of the decorative-applied art rich national traditions restoring and increasing.
Having noticed little Larisa’s creative abilities, parents supported her desire to enter the Art school which was opened in Kislovodsk under Yaroshenko Regional Museum. And it turned out they were right. Here, in a professional milieu, creative abilities of the girl revealed to the full extent and, after finishing the secondary school, she had no doubt about the future profession — Larisa entered the Department of Graphic Arts of the Karachay-Cherkes state University (Pedagogical Institute at that time). In 1972, Larissa successfully graduated from the Institute. Then she got married, she taught drawing in a secondary school.
The turning point was the year 1976, when, Larisa and her husband Atayev Boris opened a Children’s Art school in the town of Ust-Djeguta of the Karachay-Cherkess Autonomous region. With the course of time, ceaseless efforts applied by the Atayevs young couple made the school well-known in the Republic and far away across the country. But up to this success, there were eleven years of exhausting work in Ust-Djeguta regional Department of culture, which was very successfully headed by Larisa Magomedovna. Judge for yourself: during the period of her direction the cultural life in the region has completely changed — new social and cultural facilities were constructed and put into operation not only in the regional center, but also in many rural communities; the Department of culture was almost fully staffed with young specialists, enthusiastic about cultural renewal of the region. This period of life has not been vain for L. Atayeva. She gained precious experience of a public figure living and working among people, got impulse for the further professional activity. Therefore, in 1988, having returned to the head of the children’s Art school, Larisa Magomedovna first and foremost introduced the experimental training program created by B. Nemensky which consisted in three-level education: pre-school groups, preparatory groups and basic classes. She also introduced new subjects «Graphics» and «Fashion design» taught along with the traditional ones. It is necessary to note that these innovations were not just mere experiments; they were the result of long-term research work carried on by Larissa Magomedovna in the domain of folk arts and crafts traditions. Soon she could find how to organize production capacities: she created a training-and-production co-operative «Color» which served the base of apprentice training for out-working craftswomen who were striving to study woolens making in the best national traditions.
Little by little the school expanded its activities, the best hands were employed and their works became famous in the region. Students began to participate in the very prestigious exhibitions and contests, winning more often and often prizes and diplomas. Thus, in 2000, two students of the Art school N. Tkachenko and N. Ilyina, under the guidance of Larisa Аtaeva, took part in the project «Step to the future» involving young researchers from all over the country and became winners in the nomination «Arts and Crafts». The work of N. Ilyina was exhibited in Belgium; N. Tkachenko and E. Ilyina were admitted to Moscow University without entrance examinations.
Steps of success
The management of the school persisted on active and painstaking work; as a result the fame of the school began to increase step-by-step what have brought the image of a successful leader to its director. Twice, in 1999 and in 2002, Larisa Magomedovna became the winner of the all-Russian contest «Woman-Manager of the Year» organized by the RF Association of women-entrepreneurs.
Thereupon, there were years of professional growth and development, participation in prestigious competitions, great creative achievements, prizes and awards. Larisa Atayeva was two-time winner of Caucasian Congress of young researchers «Nart‑2001», «Nart‑2002», she won the first prize of the International contest of young fashion designers and stylists «Podium‑2002» in Sochi…
The winner of the all-Russian contest «Woman-Manager of the Year», Larisa Magomedovna was, in 2001 and 2003, a delegate to the Congress of Turkic women held in Ankara where she was elected member of the General Assembly of Turkic women as representative of Karachay people.
Indeed, not only professional activities the life of a manager is replete with, Larisa Magomedovna devotes a great deal of her time to the public life. She is member of the Republican and Russian committees of culture workers unions, member of the Republican Association of women-entrepreneurs, member of the Presidium of the KChR Union of women.
The contribution Larisa Magomedovna made to the development of small and medium business in Russia was also appreciated at its true worth, she was awarded with diplomas of the exhibition «Industrial potential of Southern Russia», the diploma of II International forum “Small and medium business — call of the times» (Moscow, 2003), the diploma of the VII International forum «World and Women» (Moscow, 2004), the diploma of IX International economic forum in St. Petersburg.
In 2004, Larisa Atayeva, together with her daughters Madina and Almira, took part in the VI International contest of national costume. They have presented a collection of clothing for the nomination «Avant-garde». The collection was given the name «Origins», because the clothing was made of unpainted felt wool (ki’iz) according to the old traditions of sewing technique. The main idea of the collection was to show how old methods of wool processing can be used in modern cloth styling. The public welcomed the collection and accepted it with great interest, as well as the jury of the competition: the Atayevs` collection was awarded the first prize and the Grand Prix of the contest.
The same year, Larisa Magomedovna won the 1st place of the all-Russian interregional contest of fashion products made of down and wool, which took place in the city of Uryupinsk.
In 2005, at the VI International contest of national costume the collection of clothing presented by Larisa Atayeva under the title «Eastern fantasy» won the prize-winning place in the nomination «The Best Oriental costume».
Success is a concept which always has a lot of components. It will be fair to say that during all these years of tireless labour Larisa Magomedovna was supported and encouraged by her husband and like-minded person Atayev Boris Akhiayevich, whose creative intelligence made a perfect union with Larisa`s creative genius. They have lived together for more than forty years; they have raised children, they are now bringing up their grandchildren. Boris Akhiayevich is «Honored teacher of the Karachay-Cherkes republic», member of the RF Union of artists, member of the International Association «Union of designers». Their two daughters Madina and Almira followed parents` footsteps: they are both fashion designers, members of the International Association «Union of designers», repeated laureates of international haute couture competitions.
Atayevs` Fashion Theatre
The North-Caucasus State Humanitarian and Technological Academy is a large educational, technical and scientific center in the South of Russia. The Academy is an institution having a great educational potential, where enthusiastic teaching staff works and thousands of young people study. In 2005 a new Department «Art styling and design» was opened in the Academy, the inspirer, organizer and later the head of which was Larisa Magomedovna. Her initiative received the all-out support of the rector’s office and personally of the RF Duma Deputy Erkenov Akhmat Chokaevitch. The new Department gave birth to such design projects as the Republican contest «Young Designer» and the Republican contest «Young Couturier», which in five years already give young designers from Karachay-Cherkessia and other regions of Russia an excellent opportunity to appraise and develop their talent. The fact that this project is financed and sponsored by the North-Caucasus State Humanitarian and Technological Academy, the International Association «Union of Designers», the Union of Architects of Russia, the Union of Artists of Russia and patronized by the Government of the Karachay-Cherkes Republic proves the great importance it has for the Republic. But «noblesse oblige», as they say, privilege entails responsibility: today Larisa Magomedovna together with thestudents and teachers of the Department are engaged in restoring ancient, forgotten technologies of felt manufacturing and develop new ones, they use them in the modern dressmaking, they work on the design, conduct seminars, exchange experience, give master-classes. For a small Republic like Karachay-Cherkessia, this kind of activity is a new occupation and all the more significant.
With the course of time, the wonderful team of like-minded and creatively gifted enthusiasts achieved a perfect harmony in work and increased its potential to such an extend that the Art school was transformed into the Art theatre and called «The Atayevs Fashion Theatre». It has existed for about 15 years already. It is impossible to overestimate the theater’s importance: the stuff makes invaluable work representing our Republic in Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Turkey and in other countries. Only few people can realize how much force, inspiration and imagination must be invested in each exit of the Theatre on professional stage. But the result is worth the effort, and not only high awards matter, but also the sense of pride to serve the people, to preserve its unique culture and ancient traditions.
«It is known that each nation has its characteristic craft; for example, Khokhloma painting, Palekh miniature or Zhostovo, these folk crafts are known by everybody. We too, have our own unique art, says L. Atayeva, these are, first of all, woolens. Our ancestors were engaged in cattle breeding, and of course, in processing of wool. They manufactured clothes, made felt carpets — ki`iz. Felt was the first raw material students used for cloth styling at the lessons of design. Now works of students are awarded with prizes of regional, Russian and International competitions and exhibitions».
New collections of Atayevs` Fashion Theatre reflect eastern and Muslim motifs, dressmakers use the exclusive technology called «crazy» (hand-made special felt). Collections are named «Adjaminay» («the Queen of felt»), «Heritage», «Talisman». Keeping the main focus on the motifs of national costume, the creative staff of the «Fashion Theatre» and the students of the Department explore different styles of modern fashion.
The staff of the Fashion Theatre is certain that their creative findings will have a decisive impact on the fashion trend development in our Republic and, may be, outside. Indeed, this collection deserves special words, besides the high quality of the texture, the harmonious combination of seemingly incompatible solutions is unique: traditional and modern styles and colors are matched and combined with delicate taste and refinement. Having visited once the Fashion Theatre, I was so impressed that I now want to express my personal woman’s opinion.
Costumes shown on the catwalk by svelte girls do not have bright gaudy colors, but surprisingly attract the attention of the audience by their good quality, practical and correct cut lines, far from that pretentious style we often see at haute couture shows. Subtly and harmoniously matched colours and details complete the picture and give the clothing a special charm. In a word, what we saw pretend immediately to becoming classics of fashion. Such are the distinctive, deeply original collections «From the past to the present — to the mountain peaks», «The Golden Fleece of Karachay», «Huntress», «The Tale of the East» — winners of the High Fashion contests of national costume.
Nowadays Larisa Magomedovna, «Honoured worker of culture of the Russian Federation», is Chairman of The International Association «Union of Designers of KChR», a member of the IA «Union of Designers», a member of the Creative Union of Russian Artists and of International Federation of Artists, she has the title of «Honored Manager», she is laureate of International competitions of High Fashion, assistant Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Design and Art» of the North-Caucasus State Humanitarian and Technological Academy, moreover a few years ago she was Russian State Duma candidate.
The Council for public awards of the International Union «Leaders of the International Community» decorated in 2012 with the Sign of public recognition «Silver Dove» noted public figures of Russia, Czech Republic, Palestine, Karachay-Cherkes Republic, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Cyprus. Among the award winners was Larisa Magomedovna Atayeva.
Masterpieces of the Atayevs` Fashion Theatre are now an integral part of the Karachay-Cherkesia’s cultural life and its success is considered the achievement of the whole Republic. This recognition imposes a huge responsibility on the team of the Theatre; the management is always aware of this burden on shoulders. That’s why the Theatre is in constant search of new original design solutions, the creative team gets involved talented students of art schools — prize-winners and winners of the regional, Russian and International competitions and exhibitions. At all times Larisa Atayeva’s credo was «Skilled personnel is all and everything!» From the first days of its creation, the Theatre employs enthusiasts, whose hearts cannot remain indifferent to the culture and the unique identity of the people, who work selflessly on new original design projects. They have lots of grandiose plans and interesting ideas ahead. Let’s wish the Atayevs family and all the stuff of the Fashion Theatre new achievements, new fashion peaks conquered, new victories on the stages of Russia and of the whole world.
By Alla Chotchaeva