Aleona Isakova grew up in Tver, Russia, in a family of
atheists. There were no Bibles. There was no way for her to
In 1991, American missionaries came to Russia and introduced
her to Jesus. She said this interaction "filled an empty
place in my heart when they spoke of God, and brought light
to a dark place."
As new Christians, Isakova and her husband started their own
"church" in their home, sharing prayer and reading the Bible
with friends. The group outgrew that and rented space in a
public library, and later, were able to open a church. Her
husband became a pastor of this new congregation.
During a sermon at a conference in Moscow for pastors and
their wives, Isakova realized how she could share God's glory
through a line of haute couture or high fashion gowns.
Isakova believes God showed her a vision of "the entire Bible
story through fashion. I saw the Creation, Jesus' birth, the
Beatitudes, Crucifixion and Resurrection all unfold in front
of my eyes - and all created in the most beautiful fabrics I
had never seen before," she said. "It was like a movie
Isakova's artistic style of almost faceless figures dressed
in gowns exquisitely drawn with thin black pen strokes and
vivid watercolors is a mix of many styles of art she loves -
and as a fashion designer, "gowns are my language."
"I don't draw faces, because it is my soul, or your soul. It
isn't just a dress, it is something spiritual," she said.
Over the course of 30 days, Isakova drew 22 inspirational
sketches of what she says God had shown her. After another
four years of work, "The Olive Tree in the Garden of God"
became a collection of 52 gowns.
This collection was accomplished through hard work, prayer
and for a single purpose - "to glorify the Lord before all
"(The collection is) not for sale, not for commercial (use),
not for human glory. It is for Him only," said Isakova. "It
is a unique collection because it was created through prayer
and God's vision, and the money to create it came from prayer
After the success of her first Bible-based collection,
Isakova read the Song of Songs (or the Song of Solomon) from
the Old Testament and said she had another vision. She
believes God once again provided her the details of how the
Bible story should be illustrated. She spent two years
working on the drawings that describe the collection of love
lyrics that tell a dramatic tale of mutual desire and
courtship - all detailed on the gowns the figures wear.
These illustrations can be seen, and prints can be purchased,
at Trinity House Café in Leesburg, where Isakova is a
regular customer. She is the sixth artist to display her work
"The café is such a special place and full of God's
presence, and it is so real," said Isakova.
She approached Ever Johnson, executive director of the John
Paul II Fellowship, the nonprofit owner of Trinity House
Café, about exhibiting her work at the restaurant in
the heart of historic Leesburg.
The restaurant does more than just feed customer's bodies;
they try to feed their souls by "offering a place to
experience culture, art, beauty and philosophy in a
comfortable setting," said Johnson.
"The Holy Spirit touched her in a breathtaking way, and she
has co-created the most captivating images of love and
beauty, which are at their height in her watercolor series
that illustrates Song of Songs," said Johnson. "We've been so
blessed by her presence and her testimony in our little
community. I hope everyone can come out and take in the power
of such a witness."
Rausch can be reached at email@example.com.
Trinity House Café
101 East Market St., Leesburg, VA 20176.
Hours: Sun.-Mon. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tue.-Sat. 8 a.m. to 9
"Divine Inspirations" is on display through Feb. 28.