20 Aug Fashion talent, Straight Outta Russia
Article by Caroline Langdon.
The evolution of Russian fashion spans as wide as the country itself. Recalled in fine jewels and Imperial garb of past centuries, and despite the economic challenges presented by the transition to a post-Soviet era, Russian designers continue to move full steam ahead, taking pride in the modern manifestations of a rapidly growing industry. From the variety of contemporary styles fleshed out on runway and Instagram, there is no question that Russia has a large stake in the fashion game. Moscow has long since been established as a key influencer, recently hosting its 37th Mercedes-Benz fashion week in March. And Gosha Rubchinskiy has made himself a household name in the fashion world, partnering with Adidas and Burberry for collaborations. However, the gems of the showcase resided in the Russian Fashion Council’s decision to promote the underground talent during fashion week, not necessarily the bigger names, and that has set the stage for deserving unknowns to become discovered. Here are some of the most talented emerging Russian designers of which to take note this season.
Dokuchaeva is a relative newcomer with a flair for blending futuristic, flirty, and youthful aesthetics. She creatively explores the limits of androgyny with her fabric usage, mixing sportswear accessories with more classically feminine elements, or funky patterns with overall softer palates and bright pops of accessory colors. Her shiny suit pieces are reminiscent of Zenon: Girl of the 21st century in all their metallic glory. The brand offer three different lines for men, women, and streetwear.
Artem Shumov, menswear designer, hails from St. Petersburg and currently resides in Shanghai. Drawing inspiration from cultural elements of China, Shumov has already made waves with his unique collections, as the winner of several international design contests. American designer Thom Browne even encouraged Shumov to pursue the establishment of his own label after seeing his drafts in 2012. Shumov’s eye for design seems to extend beyond fashion; there was a likeness to Basquiat designs in the runway models’ facepaint during the release of the Fall 2018 collection. His unique style embodies dichotomy, integrating clean-cut looks with playful shapes and undoubtedly expanding the repertoire of menswear.
Established in 2010 by sisters Alisa and Julia Ruban, their brand of the same name features an array of demi-coutour pieces with a graceful sense of style. Straying less towards color experimentation and more towards a fresh take on classic ideas, their work is flowy, fluid, and heavy on knitwear. Accessories include sunglasses elegantly shaped like leaves. The Ruban sisters worked for years as high-fashion stylists before starting their own line, and Stella McCartney even referenced one of their designs as an inspiration behind one of her fashion shoots.
Kondakova is a up-and-coming designer who grew up crafting dresses for her dolls, knowing it was only a matter of time before she would begin designing women’s wear. Her parents convinced her to study economics at university, but she gravitated towards making art and design in later years and launched her own brand, Kondakova, in 2015. Elements of her collection include sleek looks and playful patterns on classic cuts, with most of the products being made from crochet. As stated on her site, “At the heart of each collection is the story of a woman who does not change herself, but changes only the space around.”
Alexandr Rogov has been a popular icon as a celebrity stylist and reality TV star, but has just recently started to dip his toes in the fashion world. Mostly sticking with womens’ wear, characteristics of his spring line are nothing subtle – flowy, billowy, packed with rich hues and slitted skirts. Runway models were adorned in wide-brimmed hats and one glove. His style evokes an edgy Stevie Nicks or Florence and the Machine vibe as he, too, doesn’t shy away from contradiction with pieces such as off the shoulder knitted sweaters, business suit jackets sewn with sweatshirt hoodies, and mesh detail galore.