After tackling the Fall 2017 shows in New York, London, Milan and Paris, we kept the fashion train rolling all the way through to Moscow, where the 34th season of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia (#MBFWRussia) just wrapped up in the nation's capital. Each season, a steady mix of up-and-coming and established designers showcase their newest collections, and we got the chance to witness it all from the front row. (And, in case you missed it, Russian label Bella Potemkina was especially heavy on the Instagirls.)
Read on to find out about our favorite collections and its designers from the latest season of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia.
Mach & Mach
Sisters Nina and Gvantsa Macharashvili came from Georgia to present their collection for the very first time at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia. "We wanted to show in Moscow because we have a lot of customers here," says Nina. Known for their playful footwear, handbags and sunglasses (think glitter, feathers and pastels), Mach & Mach ready-to-wear is just as fun and bold with monochrome suits, silver sequined party dresses, floral appliques and female-empowering logos. "We call it Girls Democracy," explains Gvantsa. "Free, powerful girls without boundaries." Or, as one of the T-shirts states: "Girls doing whatever they want."
Designer Artem Shumov presented his sixth menswear collection in Moscow, which was by far the quickest show of the week. Models speedily walked down the catwalk, cutting their total distance short by turning around just before the end of the runway. Shumov says his collection's inspiration drew from the common people who lived during the history between Russia's empire, communism and the USSR, which was translated through loose-fitting suits and sporty details. Stirrup pants, a blazer adorned with button pins and jumpsuits, including one made entirely of plastic, caught the audience's attention. (The show's mummified-like grooming look — dusty hair, bandaged heads and faux bloody blotches — was hard to miss, too.) Shumov was most proud of his collection's fabric manipulations, especially the embroidery by tailors from St. Petersburg, where the designer is based. "It's like an artist took a brush to it," he says. At the end of the show, the models gathered together for a group pose, similar to Russian army photos from the early 20th century.
Anatasia Dokuchaeva made a very memorable debut at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia with her namesake label's Fall 2017 collection, which showcased her ability to translate pajama styles into fashion-forward outfits for men and women. Some standout looks include a velvet robe jacket with matching trousers and a bright blue patterned blouse with wide-leg pants. Outerwear packed with color is also Dokuchaeva's specialty, such as two quilted coats in gold and silver, a lime green trench with lined with black-and-white stripes and a hooded parka made from floral-printed jacquard.
Jean Rudoff, who hails from Perm, created the invitation for his Fall 2017 show to look like a clothing tag. "80% your expectations, 20% reality," it said. The audience was easily entertained by the runway setup, which featured individuals sitting at a table with pizza and the full collection hanging on clothing racks as dressers pulled each look for the models to wear. Built on irony, Rudoff's label Lumier Garson aims to disrupt the fashion system, as well as art and politics.
For this season, Rudoff targeted military aggression, juxtaposing utilitarian and uniform details — buckles, zippers and cargo pockets — with pink fabric, black velvet and lace. A tactic backpack that resembled a riot shield was a particularly provocative piece. As for his favorite garments, Rudoff says it's hard to choose because he likes and hates everything. (How ironic.) But he did end up mentioning his reverse take on a trench — the coat features a full-length zip on the back, so it can be worn two different ways.
Yury Pitenin's three-year-old label, Saint-Tokyo, is named after his love for Tokyo, where he grew up, and St. Petersburg, where he studied fashion and is currently based. The designer's shows are a crowd (and Fashionista) favorite at Fashion Week in Moscow. The venue was packed with the city's coolest fans and industry insiders, who witnessed Pitenin's fifth collection, which mixed the wardrobes of royalty, specifically Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia, and lower-class folk. For example, a graphic T-shirt features the name "Marlborough," after the ship that Feodorovna was aboard as she fled Russia, in the signature Marlboro logo, and a bright-red corset is placed outside of a classic trench coat.
"Underwear as outerwear," says the designer. Each season, Pitenin attempts to create something that's new and difficult for his brand, and for Fall 2017, it was an on-trend puffer jacket. "I made puffers first time in my life and I'm really excited by them," he says. "They're big, comfortable and light and cool."
Though Anastasia Gassi could have applied some heavy-handed editing towards Ivka's Fall 2017 runway collection, it still made a lasting impression. Her abstract and conceptual approach toward design resulted in babydoll dresses, flouncy gowns and exaggerated silhouettes with a rebel streak, which was also expressed through the models' runway walks as some swiftly tiptoed along the catwalk with their arms crossed.
It's always exciting to see where Yasya Minochkina takes her womenswear line next. (We've been keeping a close eye on the Central Saint Martins alum since 2014.) And for Fall 2017, Minochkina was inspired by Rihanna and Beyoncé. "Strong personalities, but at the same time feminine and sexual," she says.
The collection included dresses made from lightweight lace, floral patterns and insect motifs, along with coats that sparkled with sequins or metallic fabrics. Minochkina's daughter is also a constant muse for her designs. "We always travel around the world, looking for something new," she says. This time, it was to a zoo in Paris, where her little one found a peacock feather that's intricately embroidered on a few evening-ready dresses.
Disclosure: Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia paid for my travel and accommodations to attend and cover the event.