After tackling the fall 2016 shows in New York, London and Milan and Paris, we've kept the fashion train rolling all the way through to Moscow, where the 32nd season of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia (MBFWR) is currently underway in the capital.
Read on for the looks that caught our attention on the first three days of shows, and stay tuned for more until the event wraps up on Tuesday.
Moscow-based Ksenia Seraya made her first appearance at MBFWR after being invited to show for free. The designer has a decade of experience under her belt, with a notable stint working in Ermanno Scervino's knitting department. This look was the highlight of her signature mixed-knit aesthetic: soft yet structured, light yet cozy.
You could feel the excitement in the room for the Saint Tokyo runway show, thanks to the audience filled with local cool kids eager to see designer Yury Pitenin's latest offerings. Based in Saint Petersburg, Yury certainly touches a nerve with the young, party-ready Russian who appreciates a good slip dress and embroidered bomber. This crisscross dress was my favorite incarnation of this season's theme: old-fashioned florals in simple but unexpected constructions.
Ukrainian designer Yasya Minochkina is in the midst of expanding her brand — already popular in her home country and Russia — to the Middle East and Europe, and the different fabrics and silhouettes she used in her last collection cater to each unique market. But it all has an eye for day-to-night versatility and a ladylike sophistication — a break from athletic-inspired pieces she's presented before. My favorite of her embroidered textures was this grid net that particularly stood out in this long, shoulder-baring silhouette.
I picked this look from Georgian designer Tako Mekvabidze because it's a lovely example of two trends I've seen this week: sheer fabrics and tassels. The graphic print on the long tunic is an extra special touch, and a pattern Mekvabidze used throughout her second MBFWR runway show.
Known for winning Russia's "Project Runway" in 2011, Dima Neu always puts on a theatrical performance during his runway presentations. This time, dancers dressed in all black (with their faces painted black as well...) emerged before the models, holding streaming strands of white fabric. Against a digital background of snow, Neu presented a winter-themed collection — he even modeled one of the menswear looks himself. However, this spring-leaning skirt in pink with rose petal-type detailing was a standout for me.
Georgian designer Aka Nanitashvili presented a very wearable collection in rich fabrics that I imagine a quirky, super-girlie librarian would wear. (The excessively teased hair on all of the models might have something to do with that vibe.) The combination of this voluminous, shiny skirt and the velvet vest was a personal favorite. Also, tassels!
At 78 years old, Slava Zaitzev is a king of Russian fashion and has many career accolades under his belt. For his MBFWR show, which he watched from the front row, he took over both runway venues for the longest show so far. (Models walked down one runway, slipped through a connective hallway, walked up the other and looped back.) Based on the audience, Zaitzev's customer is an older socialite who yearns for the glamorous '80s era — and who could use a show-stopping gold gown like the one above for black tie events.
Sorry I'm Not
Backstage after the show, designer Nikita Moiseenko explained that the name of his brand addresses the fact that he is not the next Margiela or Dior — and he doesn't aim to be. The fall collection was his first foray into womenswear, bringing his youthful, statement-making evening aesthetic to the ladies. (Genderless dress is not a thing in Russia.) I love the wit and wearability of this poodle print shirt dress.
Sisters and co-designers Katya and Vera Viper were inspired by poison for their latest collection, but the sense of danger was mostly communicated through the unnaturally colored contact lenses that the models wore, as well as a recurring image of a monster face. Their denim pieces were the strongest, particularly this form-fitting suit.
Georgian designer Goga Nikabadze's mens- and womenswear collection stood out from the other shows I've seen so far in Moscow thanks to the slow-walking pace of the models — something Eliza noted as commonplace last season, but seems to have fallen out of favor — and its wide range of looks. I'm not sure if Russian men are interested in wearing his ensembles head-to-toe, but Nikabadze didn't seem to care. He doubled down on bright florals and solids, but a look topped by this soft, fuzzy cardigan was my favorite.
Designer Yulia Nikolaeva's collection appeals to a similar customer as Aka Nanita — an independent woman interested in wider silhouettes and striking fabrics — but with a sexier sensibility. There were a few completely sheer tops and dresses, as well as this suit which, despite the practical concerns, felt effortless and powerful. Based on the amount of nipples I've seen so far on the runway (many, often pierced), maybe Russian women are a bit less conservative than I previously thought?
Disclosure: Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia paid for my travel and accommodations to attend and cover the event.