This week I was lucky enough to receive press accreditation for the best gig in town- fashion week. A biannual event in St Petersburg, The Aurora Company put on a long-weekend event to showcase the newest international design talent for the coming season. Although the main focus is on emerging Russian designers, collections from France, Tallinn, Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands have all made the list this year. You can read more about the event itself in my article for The St Petersburg Times.
As this was to be my first ever fashion week (shock horror!) I had very little insight into what to expect. Having followed fashion weeks for years, I was practically spilling over with excitement at seeing the newest collections first- and from unknown designers too! Although SS isn’t my favourite season, I was happy to see Autumn/Winter’s influnce still strong in the new collections. In the shows I saw, leather, PVC, animal prints, fur, lace and dark florals all featured again- that’s me sorted for another year!
First, I saw a presentation by Lidia Demidova- a rather surreal experience, the models were all standing in cut-out boxes where they paraded around, twisting and turning to show off their outfits. Check out my vines for more looks!
Demidova is a relativley new designer on the scene whose work comprises of carefully balanced geometrics and complex design solutions, based around the famous architect Le Corbusier’s designs.
For SS14, Demidova showed delicatley tailored block pastels with high shine coating, metallic coloured textiles and structured leathers. All tipped to be big for next summer.
I also got to watch highly recommended Liza Obinokikh of St Petersburg whose designs are reflective of the modern age Russian woman. Guests were given masks to wear along with their invitations to the show and all models paraded down the catwalk in them too. The looks consisted off a clash between animal print, leather, metallics, red & pink and peplum waists. Tailoring was key to all the looks as well, as although the midi still conquers all, pencil skirts, A-lines and peplums were all used in the new collection. A favourite piece of mine was a bow tie, with a ken-doll head as the center piece (wacky, but innovative!). The Ken doll head kept reappearing throughout the collection, printed on sweaters, T shirts and bags.
So far, so much in keeping with trends for SS14! Take a look at this video for a total run through.
I was also lucky enough to be invited to one of the main events of fashion week in St Petes- the ‘Fashionomica’ conference, which offers presentations on contemporary issues affecting the industry from well-known professionals. Previous topics have addressed the international market and how the Russian fashion industry can grow from understanding how other countries promote fashion. This year, the line-up of speakers included fashion director of Russian Cosmopolitan Olga Bohan and Alessandra Spessa of Istituto Marangoni. Aside from this, it also offers the chance to make contacts, talk to designers and mingle with the stars of Fashion Week… which I most certainly did! Anthony Songbandit of Nanthalat, France was speaking on Marketing in the world of fashion design and (as both my Year Abroad project and Marketing course comprise global branding) I plucked up the courage to have a chat with him afterwards. I even managed to get an email address (but I reckon it was my ‘cute’ British accent that got me in there!) to send some interview questions… #UnleashingMyInnerFashionJourno #Fierce
Today I not only found a tram that goes straight from my front door to fashion week (convenient or WHAT?) I made it in mid- afternoon to catch the Summer School graduates’ collection. This is a project aimed at discovering new, young talent and showcasing it, letting new designers get a foot on the ladder. The variety in the collections was fantastic, ranging in style from block leather cut-out pieces to laser cut skirts and digital printing to clever contouring.
I then met up with my talented friend Anna who had come to see the Ianis Chamalidy show, but as only both had accreditation (and they were being dicks about letting press in), we went to see Olia Marcovich’s presentation instead. Marcovich is one of St Petersburg’s finest, producing natural-fabric clothing in innovative style. Her collection showed a huge range of pieces including panelling, pleating and digital prints adorning individual pieces.
We then moved on to the LUBLU Kira Plastinina show- Anna informed me that Plastinina is actually the daughter to a very rich businessman and that at the age of 16 decided to become a fashion designer and start her own label. Now having been dubbed as ‘the youngest fashion designer in the world’, she has opened several stores worldwide and has shown at the likes of Milan and Moscow fashion weeks. The show was innovative, professional and breathtaking for someone of Plastinina’s age. The collection showed predominantly green, purple and whites in an array of styles, including florals as is typical of SS14 trends.
All in a weekends work, I was truly knackered by it all, but what a weekend it was! A huge thanks to The St Petersburg Times for letting me cover the event for them (and without whom I wouldn’t have had accreditation!). Thanks to The Aurora Company for putting on a fantastic weekend and The Russian Museum of Fine Arts for their gorgeous venue.
Anna also kindly got a picture of me strutting my stuff at fashion week (thanks Anna!). See below for more pictures from the FROW….