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“Women really fall in love with this experience and feel like Greek goddesses in the dresses,” says Evgenia Volokitina, who founded SantoriniDress with her husband, Kirill Babenkov, in 2016. “After each photo shoot, there’s so much excitement about how the pictures came out. Many women look at the photos and can’t believe that the glamorous woman in the photo is them! We see this reaction all the time and we love it!”
Volokitina and Babenkov were both long-time wedding and portrait photographers who met in 2014 after Babenkov brought back to Santorini a long train dress a colleague had ordered from a tailor, simply to add a little drama to a model’s portfolio shoot in the Dominican Republic.
Volokitina was intrigued by the idea and, with the help of a seamstress, started designing new dresses in a variety of colors to test against the island’s instantly recognizable background. The two photographers fell in love with the concept – and each other – and Babenkov proposed to Volokitina on a flying dress photo shoot in Iceland with a flying ring, delivered via drone.
More than 2,000 flying dress photo shoots later, SantoriniDress has become almost as iconic as the island’s blue and white landscape itself, with the experience topping women’s bucket lists around the world.
“It was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will cherish forever,” says Jillian Sawa of Chicago, who booked a photo shoot last March with her fiancé, Christopher Taylor. “I knew this was something I wanted to do ever since I first saw photos someone posted in the Girls LOVE Travel group on Facebook.”
With more than 60 dresses to choose from in regular and plus sizes, Sawa opted for the Tiffany blue Number 35 “because that color looks good on blondes and I wanted a more cooling effect with the sea.”
According to Volokitina, the most popular dress is still the original red Number 1. “Red always stands out and it contrasts well against the white and blue background of Santorini,” she explains. “Also, because of its design, it looks good on every woman.”
Dress Catalog of dresses to choose from