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Anna Sverdlova - Award Winning Costume Designer

We introduce Anna Sverdlova, the winner of the 2022 Ann Hollowood Prize for Costume Design. Anna is a talented costume designer and recent graduate from Wimbledon College of Arts Costume for Theatre and Screen BA course. Through her work, Anna explores classical stories and narratives that require in-depth research into historical context. Her interests lie in the history of fashion and dressmaking, folk handicrafts and traditional processes, but also in her Russian heritage.

Crescent-shaped ‘kokoshnik’, festive headpiece worn by peasant and merchant women in Central Russia in 18th and 19th centuries. Inspired by extant examples from museums and made from antique galloon and moire silk.


Antique moire silk, printed cotton, antique galloon, cardboard


Photography – Vitalia Vasileva / @owvitalia_sss

Model – Polina Chernova / @pommmerouge

"Kokoshnik" on a model, styled with ‘podniz’ – beaded net, covering the forehead and authentic antique embroidered blouse from Arkhangelsk.

The styling is inspired by turn-of-the-century Russian artist Konstantin Makovsky and photographs of peasant women from the Russian North (2022)

Model – Emily Pieters / @emily.pieters

Dissertation project at Costume for Theatre and Screen BA at UAL (2021-2022)

Historically accurate reconstruction of 18th-century bride’s crown ‘kokoshnik’ from Arkhangelsk Province in the North of Russia. It was cherished as a family heirloom and worn by many generations of women on their wedding day. The crown is embroidered in the traditional Russian pearl-work embroidery technique called ‘white planting’. The original headpiece is now in the collection of the State Historical Museum in Moscow, Russia.


The patterns on the headdress are made of freshwater pearls strung on threads. These strings are laid in a crease between two twisted cotton cords, which are laid down beforehand. Each pearl is couched onto the backing with small cross-wise stitches. This is a traditional and unique Russian pearl-work embroidery technique, dating to the 10th century BC. The spaces between the pearl work are filled with glass beads and metal rosettes. After the embroidery is completed, the whole headpiece is stiffened with several layers of calico and soaked in animal glue.


Cotton cord, calico, freshwater pearls, mother-of-pearl beads, glass, metal, block-printed silk, moire silk, rabbit skin glue, antique jacquard ribbons

Kokoshnik styled for a character of Fyodor Basmanov, lover of Ivan The Terrible, 16th-century Russian king (2022).

Photography and Makeup Xenia Bae (Nahyun) / @xeniabaenahyun

Model – Joshua Dobrik / @joshuaghdobrik

Hat decorated with artificial flowers for Liza from the opera “Queen of Spades” by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, inspired by extant Edwardian hats on display at Victoria & Albert Museum (2022).


Buckram hat base, artificial flowers, cotton

Model - Emily Pieters / @emily.pieters


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