The original Rodnik shop was founded by the Russian Princess Maria Tenesheva in 1904. The name was derived from the Russian word “the source” and the shop employed folk ‘Kustar’ craftsmen in an effort to maintain the essence of Russian fashion and culture.
Together with the artist Sergei Maliutin, the princess designed her shop based on a Russian fairytale. They designed products that were decorated with the mystical symbol of the firebird, a creature with feathers of flames that pervaded folklore at the time.
Now Richard Ascott and Philip Culbert have relaunched the brand with the introduction of the Pookh scarf, which is woven from the gruff of a breed of mountain goat found in the Urals. The duo – both graduates of St Andrew’s – have proved to be remarkable marketing wiz’s, capturing the attention of the likes of Mario Testino and Lily Cole, while their dainty scarves adorn the shoulders of beauties like Sophie Anderton.
The aim of Ascott and Culbert is to bridge the gap between the romance of pre-Revolution Russia and contemporary fashion. The brief history of Rodnik had captured the imagination of Ascott during his studies at St Andrews and in the spring of 2003 the duo traveled to Russia to source materials. Having discovered one of the finest natural fibres in the world, the pair finally launched their business in September 2003. It didn’t take long for the fashion world to take notice and the immensely popular Rodnik shawls are now being sold at exclusive addresses like The Cross, Koh Samui, Liberty and Paul & Joe in London, to name a few.
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The shawls are available in a myriad of colours and are also made as button stoles and cloaks. Next season will see the introduction of the Vintage Reindeer bag, using 200-year-old Russian reindeer leather.