Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Showcases Influential Trends And Global Designers
The recent Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia March10-15, 2018 in Moscow was an exciting week of fashion buzz and runway theatrics. Staged at the magnificent Manege Center, it was a fantastic showcase for the best and brightest creative minds in Russia and surrounding areas. With the addition of the African Explosion, a group of rising young designers from Africa, it was a truly a global event equal to the preceding Fashion Weeks in London, Paris, Milan and New York.
Thanks to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia, celebrating its 36th season, Russia is getting the international recognition and the positive news it deserves. Covered by editors from Vogue to Forbes, the message is clear, Russia is producing talent poised for global success. The energy and excitement, and the appreciation of the followers and fans lent the week a high energy, exciting vibe.
Russian fashion offers a wide spectrum. On one side there are established houses such as Slava Zaitsev, a legend, who celebrated his 80th birthday, a tribute to his years of fashion success. These designers showed classic designs of sumptuous fabrics and furs, reminiscent of Hollywood glamour and glitz. On the other side are the young designers, supported by the government to bring Russia into the creative economy, who are not bound by tradition and freely experiment with shapes, colors and fabrics seen through radical notions of age, gender and culture.
Now that the buzz of the runway shows has subsided, it is time for some reflection on what was shown and its impact on the industry. The collections spanned the traditional glamour and romance of the past to minimalism the avant-garde. There was plenty of the 90’s inspired rave and sportswear fashion. But we also saw also elegant ensembles inspired by ethnic designs and traditional garments.
Looking from outside, Russian fashion may seem exotic and out of reach to understand and buy, but that is not the case. Fortunately, Russia has invested in digital technology in the fashion arena. During Fashion Week, all the runway shows were streamed live for anywhere in the world viewing. Innovative use of augmented reality and virtual reality, (AR/VR), was introduced last season that was the basis for the first Russian Digital Lookbook where models could be viewed in 3D visualization from Smart phones in your living room, making Russian designer collections very accessible.
Further, to make Russian fashion easily accessible on-line, a new Strategic Partnership was announced between Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia and Aizel.ru that will be the main platform for sales of local designers presenting at Fashion Week. The Aizel.ru retail store has been online for 17 years, primarily bringing global fashion to Russia. Now with the new partnership and Aizel.ru Internet Store, hundreds of Russian designer fashions will be readily available for purchase to global audience.
The four designers that I have rounded up here today deserve fashion recognition on a global scale. These brands gained most center stage attention during the week, gathering famous fans and selling out seats along the way. What makes these four talents so compelling is their unique use of fabric and pattern, with attention to flawless construction. Each designer and collection has a distinctive style, but it’s their attention to design detail and material choice that sets them apart. They are producing global ready to wear and couture collections that mix easily in the boutiques and department stores of the world.
From retaining their roots in tradition reimagined to the international minimalist and avant-garde looks, these designers combined silk and plastic, checks and stripes, appliquesés and sumptuous felts, furs and feathers to create a sophisticated world style that deeply resonated with the attendees.
One of the most anticipated collections of the week was the menswear line by Artem Shumov. Shumov showed his 8th collection and is based in Shanghai. Shumov’s collection is very creative yet wearable. He easily mixes patterns and textures with flawless tailoring. In addition to his tailored jackets and pants, this collection he added jumpsuits in flowing fabrics. In an interview, Shumov commented that much of his inspiration comes from the architecture and art, and street style of China. Abstract all over face paint lent pops of color. Let’s see if this innovation becomes everyday menswear. Numerous Russian celebrities wearing Artem’s designs were visible at the show, and his signature look is often seen in the streets on the most fashionable men in Moscow. He has appeared at London Fashion Week and other global fashion venues.
Anastasia Dokuchaeva was the highlight of the week. She made her fashion debut last March. Her futuristic and eye-catching designs attracted rows and rows of wowing fans. Oversized puffer jackets and random pairing of corsets over blazers set Dokuchaeva’s vision far apart from others. She showed some of the best styling of the week, with vibrant accessories that were so spot on. Oversized plastic totes, duffle bags, platform shoes and futuristic rainbow-colored glasses told a compelling story for the adventurous with a nod to the traditional. When asked about her collection and individuality, Anastasia praised her business partner for pushing her to appeal to a wide audience with both modern and classic cut items. Dokuchaeva is firmly in the youth culture that defies societal restraint and makes a bold statement.
Hailing from her native Uzbekistan, Nilufar Abduvalieva artfully combined the traditional with the modern in a unique vision. One of the most beautifully presented collections, her passion is creating a modern vision with the traditional woven patterns. Her brand Mursak is named for the Uzbek female dress, the Mursak. It is distinguished with ethnic patterns and motifs, often with embroidery and ornaments. In an interview, Nilfufar revealed that sometimes it takes days for the special material to be produced by local artisans. She showed us a vast collection of pieces. Some are based on the traditional patterns and forms and make for comfortable modern tunics worn with belts and flowing pants, while others stunned us with delicate details appropriate for weddings and cultural events.
The 36th season of MBWF was closed by beloved designer Igor Gulyaev. He started his career in the fashion industry as a fur designer in the Paris fashion houses and has a taste for the glamour of Hollywood. The presentation of the collection resembled a dramatic theatrical performance that was astonishing. Romance and glamour were mixed while Igor impressed with his choices of multicolored patterns and unexpected textures. The whole collection was just stunning. Gulyaev is well known in Russia and is the one to dress some of the most known celebrities. His skill comes through the most when handling fur and his sophistication is felt in every piece he creates. Being an established designer with a unique vision I asked Igor what he advises to the young designers entering the market, he stated,” Stay true to yourself and create pieces with your own creative eye, not someone else’s.”
I am really inspired by these designers and I look forward to seeing their future collections for Spring/Summer Fashion Week coming up in October. I encourage you to follow them and others from the MBFW Russia and put the next Fashion Week Russia on your must attend list. Moscow is a welcoming, international city with many interesting cultural assets to experience such as great museums, designer shopping and wonderful cuisine.
Thank you for reading and keep styling,