The Atelier Delphine woman: Mari Siviakova

Learn about Mari and her story.

At Atelier Delphine we are always looking for people with a deep passion for creativity, who will not just collaborate with the brand, but add to it. As creative director and head designer, I am always looking for people who can bring their own ideas to the studio or a photoshoot. I love working with others who act intuitively and bring their vision to mine help me tell the best story through my clothes. Which is how I met stylist Mari Siviakova, whose agent from Walter Schupfer Management recognized a similar aesthetic between us and brought us together.

When Mari showed up for our first collaboration (it was a brutally hot day in the Valley) she was wearing big glasses, a t-shirt, and super-wide widest pants. Her hair was jet black and her eyebrows platinum. I was immediately taken with her style—raw and innocent—which made her seem mature beyond her twenty-eight years.

It was immediately clear that there was a connection between us that goes beyond fashion. We are both foreigners in this country, and sometimes unsure of the customs and how we should behave. And yet, this allows us to bring an authenticity to our collaborations. Since neither of us speak perfect English, often we communicate through body language. And while that gets us made fun of on set once in a while, it allows us to deepen our engagement with our work. Sometimes gestures speak louder and more profoundly than words. Working together brings an even greater cultural diversity to our shoots—which is something that is essential to the core Atelier Delphine. Mari is not only my collaborator but she is also my inspiration. I wanted to share a little bit of her story with you.

AD: Can you tell us a little bit about your journey both as a stylist, as well as to California?

MS: I was born in a small Ukrainian town, Zaporizhya, an industrial city with many dreary factories—not exactly a beautiful place to nurture a creative soul. My mother was incredibly creative and nurtured that spirit in me. She encouraged me to explore various media—dance, painting, drawing, fashion, and journalism. But I always knew that I would wind up in fashion.

After graduating from university, I began working as a beauty editor at L’Officiel Ukraine. The editor-in-chief noticed my talent for fashion and suggested I take a more active role in the magazine’s photo shoots, which is how I realized that being a stylist was my calling. I am a very ambitious person and after nine years of styling in Ukraine, I had worked with the country’s top artists in print and in music videos. But the outbreak of war changed everything for me and the rest of Ukraine. In order to save my son (and myself) I fled to Berlin and became a refugee in a foreign land. What I didn’t know was that I was pregnant with my second child. The next two years were the hardest of my life. The struggle of starting over in a country with nothing was overwhelming. Yet, throughout, I never let go of my dream of moving to Los Angeles—a mecca for celebrities and the place where the best music videos are shot. I knew I had move to California and challenge myself. Despite the high competition, I believed that I could and should reach the highest level of my profession. Los Angeles gives me these opportunities where I can express myself 100%.

AD: How has your style or work shifted since coming to LA?

MS: I really like the feeling of freedom in the United States. Everything here is saturated with it. I started experimenting more widely with different styles and combining seemingly incompatible things. Also, there are many more opportunities to find cool clothes, shoes, and accessories—which is the most important thing for my work. And the most remarkable thing is that as soon as I started to reveal myself and do what I really liked (not what the market expected from me) many people began to notice my work and offered to collaborate. 

AD: I was so drawn to your style when we first met, especially your laptop with Japanese stickers. There’s something both vulnerable and raw in how you dress, while at the same time, quite sharp. It feels very in line with Atelier Delphine’s warm, handcrafted passion. How do you see your own style?

MS: Commercial underground. I love both directions, so just decide to combine them.

AD: My job as a designer is to create clothes which the stylist and photographers use to tell a story or even enact a performance. When I watch the photoshoot, it inspires me to return to my artistic roots— which makes me wonder how you see Atelier Delphine?

MS: Collaborating with Atelier Delphine always brings to mind a cloud-like softness. In fact, it almost feels like a creative manifestation of the Cora Cardigan from AD in which I am posing for a photo in the first image! Working with Atelier Delphine is first and foremost about great teamwork and compassion for all the people on set. I feel total trust from and for the brand and it inspires me to create and be passionately dedicated to the shooting process. I feel so much warmth from everyone on set and appreciate the concern and care they express for my family in Ukraine.

I am also in awe of all the codes and signifiers that Atelier Delphine weaves into the designs of its products. Our shoots always inspire me to learn more about Japanese culture and textiles. If I were to paint a picture of the brand, it would be done with pastels. I always think of beautiful landscapes when I look at the color palette of the collection.

AD: I love hearing that because until very recently I was pushed to take a more commercial direction with my designs. But people like you really inspire me to stay true to myself. I think by working together I will discover more of me this year, and as a result Atelier Delphine will become even more unique and distinguished from any other brands. Which makes me wonder, how to do you stay true to yourself? Do you have any rituals?

MS: I have two kids, so almost all my rituals are connected to their routine—wake up early, school drop off, morning nap. I know this all sounds so boring, but I love my boy mom era. One of the most important things for me, myself, is a cup of tea in the morning and my therapist every Monday. These are things I never miss. I also take yoga classes. At some point in the future, I hope to have more time for myself but for now I’m happy with the way things are.

AD: Do you have any favorite ways of spending your days off? 

MS: I love a day by the ocean. Whenever I have a day off, I call my friends and we go to Venice Beach with the kids. We usually buy comfort food—snacks and drinks—and just have fun by the water. It really fills me up and restores me. I’m also involved in organizing charity events to raise money for Ukraine. At a recent event we sold cool t-shirts, organized workshops for children, and served traditional Ukrainian food. Stay tuned to our Instagram We would love see everyone at our future events.

AD: That’s such a Southern California answer! I love it. But I have to admit, I barely go to the beach myself. Although I do love it, especially Redondo. But it makes sense that you gravitate towards Venice because it’s so creative, modern, hip, and a little bit edgy, just like you. Is there anything else our readers should know about you? 

MS: As a child, I dreamed of marrying Leonardo DiCaprio. I wrote him a lot of love letters and my mother promised to send them. I would like to get to know him as soon as possible and know if he still kept them. Let’s see.

AD: LOL. Your dream might come true. I have seen DiCaprio in our NY Spring studio in Tribeca. He looked awesome. So next time I’ll ask him!

Behind the scenes with Mari in LA for Atelier Delphine 24AW. Polaroids taken by Mari, BTS photos by Yoshihiro Makino. Special Thanks to Kim Wilson from Walter Schupfer Management.