Meet the man be­hind the creepy masks seen in Givenchy show

Kyiv Post - - Lifestyle - BY VERONIKA MELKOZE­ROVA MELKOZE­[email protected] Kyiv Post writer Veronika Melkoze­rova can be reached at melkoze­[email protected]

A tall, sturdy man with black hair and a long salt-and-pep­per beard walks into the Ko­val­skyi’s Op­ti­cal Space, an up­scale bou­tique that sells eye­glasses in Kyiv. He shakes the rain­drops off his coat and im­me­di­ately be­comes the cen­ter of at­ten­tion when he jok­ingly asks the staff to “turn off the shower.”

The man, Sergey Petrov, ap­pears to en­joy at­ten­tion – and it is re­flected in his work. He is the de­signer be­hind the Bob Bas­set brand of masks and ac­ces­sories that fea­ture in movies, mu­sic videos and cat­walks of es­tab­lished fash­ion houses.

A na­tive of Kharkiv, Petrov is in town for just one day be­fore his va­ca­tion be­gins.

“I’m al­ready ner­vous! I re­ally hope that the work in Kharkiv goes full steam ahead with­out me,” Petrov says as he plops down on a red sofa.

Even in his ab­sence, four to six as­sis­tant de­sign­ers work at his work­shop cre­at­ing masks that will be used in movies, Western mag­a­zine photo shoots, at rock star shows, or sim­ply bought as a dé­cor piece, like they do at the Ko­val­skyi bou­tique.

Prices for masks range from $100 to $1,500.

“I think our masks are worth even more than that,” Petrov says. “Af­ter fin­ish­ing a piece, one feels so tired and de­pressed. No money can com­pen­sate for that.”

The masks re­flect Petrov’s fas­ci­na­tion with Steam­punk, a sub­genre that in­cor­po­rates tech­nol­ogy and de­signs inspired by 19th-cen­tury in­dus­trial ma­chin­ery.

They at once nce look creepy and in­trigu­ing,ntrigu­ing, and are in­tri­cately tely crafted out of leather, ther, me­tal and glass.

The brand’s s history be­gins ns in 1989 when Petrov and his older brother Oleg Petrov founded ed a leather work­shop in Kharkiv. In the 2000s it grew into the Bob Bas­set work­shop.op. The broth­ers named their ir brand af­ter their dog Bob, , a bas­set hound.

The broth­ers ers have achieved a lot since then. They pro­ducedd masks for the Givenchy fash­ion hion house. Masks ap­peared red in the mu­sic videos of Me­tal­lica, Slip­knot and Avril vril Lav­i­gne, as well as on n the pages of Vogue In­ter­na­tional In­ter­na­tional, The New York Times Fash­ion Mag­a­zine, WAD mag­a­zine, Vice U.K. and Bizarre Magazi Mag­a­zine.

The brand’s masks also fea fea­tured in the short film “The Gift” by the Ri­d­ley Scott Agency Films. Oleg PetrovP passed away in 2 2011, and his brother run runs the fam­ily busi­ness alon alone. “My role now is to con­trol the process, pro­duce i ideas and help my st staff in pro­duc­tion,” h he says. The r range of masks is im­pressi im­pres­sive. There is an eerie look­ing gas mask, a leather mask that look­sloo like Darth Vader’s h hel­met, a mask of Cthul Cthulhu, the de­ity from the fan­tasy nov­els of H.P. Love­craft, dragon masks, and many more.

Ac­cord­ing to Petrov, to cre­ate a mask he needs a hat block, a leather pat­tern, and a strong dose of in­spi­ra­tion. It can take from 10 hours to one year to pro­duce one mask.

Petrov con­fesses that some­times he comes to the Ko­val­skyi store in Kyiv just to see the peo­ple’s re­ac­tion to his five masks on the store’s wall. It pleases him to see peo­ple stop walk­ing when they see the masks through the shop’s win­dow.

“Some­times I even sneak out and lis­ten to what they say about the masks,” says Petrov. “We at Bob Bas­set do some­thing that forces peo­ple to stop and take a sec­ond look.”

Sergey Petrov, the de­signer be­hind the Bob Bas­set masks, sits in Ko­val­skyi’s Op­ti­cal Space in Kyiv on July 28 with his masks seen on the shelf above him. (Anas­ta­sia Vlasova)

A model presents a cre­ation by Ital­ian de­signer Ric­cardo Tisci for Givenchy dur­ing the men’s 2011 spring-sum­mer ready-to-wear col­lec­tion shows on June 25, 2010 in Paris. (AFP)

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