"Like a bad dream, only that it was real. Slow-motion, squealing breaks, roaring sound of the metal and glass shattering, and my very outstretched: “Augh!” At that moment, it felt like it was my last gasp.
Then it was a standstill for a bit. My vision was blurred, and a very high pitch noise was hurting the ears. I could vaguely hear some voices: “Is she ok?” I heard someone asking. “What happened?” People stopped by to help. It didn’t take long, I could see the police cars arriving.
The excruciating pain in my chest led me to think my heart was going to explode. I couldn’t move or breathe. My body was going numb, starting from my toes up. When I felt it going up through my spine up to my neck and head, I thought that’s it, I’m done here.
By nature, I am a positive, enthusiastic and loving personality. However, after the road accident, I went into a deep depression. As soon as I was able to move around, I kept going into my art studio, and every time I went in, I felt my stomach-turning. Eventually, I buried all my mannequin heads, wigs, hair and tools into boxes and put it away.
The day before the crash, I lost the job that I loved. I was upset, but I never sit still, so I started planning my next move right away, but the following day changed it all.
Since the accident, I have had a lot of time to think and re-evaluate my life. I cried for six weeks solid. Not only the glass and metal were crushed, but something broke inside me as well. It felt like I’ve lost a link to the chain or something. I’ve never felt like this before. And I can tell you now it is not a pleasant place to be in.
The accident was horrific! It was literally like the slow-motion scenes we see in movies. I was so close to death that I still want to pinch myself at times. That experience put everything into perspective, without a doubt.
As you are reading this note here, you can guess it wasn’t my time yet. What happened in between is another story. The important thing is that I am healing and getting stronger as time goes by and slowly but surely digging my mannequin heads up and all that comes along with them.
At this moment, I consider myself very lucky. “Not so many survive a 40-foot truck, love”: one of the paramedics informed me at the scene of the accident.
The message is: there is a way out of misery, and there is a silver lining to every cloud. Never give up!" —Veronika Byrne
The following is a collection Veronika Byrne created as her comeback to the industry. Keep reading to learn more about the collection in its entirety and ultimately what it meant to her.
From this accident, a great strength brewed inside Veronika Byrne. She grew and evolved and found a love for her craft that was ultimately renewed. Her latest collection The Faculty of Kokoshnik represents strength and power to her.
A collaborative photoshoot she organized with various professionals with an Autumn/Russian motif. It depicts the rich history of the traditional Russian headdress, which goes as far back as the 10th century. It was most popular from the 16th to 19th century and its popularity has expanded to and influenced European cultures.
The Irish designer involved in this shoot studied design in Moscow, Russia, 25 years ago. Influenced by the Russian culture she had started wearing her own made Kokoshniks on a daily basis and still does to this day.
Veronika notes that she could not have done it without her amazing team and credits them with much of the collaborative effort. As an artist, she is drawn to the Avant-Garde and likes to work with various teams to accomplish alternate works.
During her pause from the industry, Veronika reinvented herself – taking a Professional Journalism course and working in freelance journalism. It helped her branch out with hairdressing workshops for groups and one-to-one tutoring to grow a business that translates internationally. As a hair artist who has been active in the industry for thirty years, she has an inexplicable fondness for her career. She loves discovering, experimenting and ultimately working with various people. Subject to different personalities and unique behaviors she is fascinated by what a small group of people can create.
"I have seen peoples’ life turning around, see their struggles, and success, tears, and laughter. I’ve seen the strengths and weaknesses of human beings. Nevertheless, to say, I’ve been learning a lot about my true self. I take it all as life experience and life-long learning," she adds.
Collection: The Faculty of Kokoshnik
Photography: Olga Kuzmenko @olgakuzmenko_photography
Model: Angelica Antonova @angelina_malakh
Fashion Designer: Claire Garvey @clairegarveydesigner_
Makeup: Gillian Stapleton @gs.treschic
Assistant: Caroline Quigly-Ward @carolineqward
Location: Cabra Castle, Co. Cavan, Ireland @cabracastlehotel