Meet the man behind the creepy masks seen in Givenchy show
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)