riga fashion week: katya shehurina

(images via style pages)

although i still don’t full understand the logic of katya shehurina’s label name (which you can read about with my analysis of her s/s 2011 range, and the background of it with the f/w 2010 collection), for the f/w 2011 season homegirl has continued along the path as one of riga’s most fanciful and feminine designers. 

in typical fairy tale-like fashion, the present collection is titled “the city nymph in the forest” and seemingly relates a story of a young girl whisked away from her comfortable urban environment and deposited within a dark wood.  however, instead of succumbing to her fears (or a chainsaw, as most movies about such topics suggest), she begins to befriend the environment, allowing vines, flowers, and twigs to grow along her clothes in (typical for ms, shehurina) bewitching fashion.

using predominantly silks and laces, the designer cast her palette in true forest-y fashion, with hints of colourful flowers popping up now and again, with shades like black, burgundy, rose, deep purple, beige, and cream.  as ever, it was indeed girlish, but one of ms. shehurina’s singular skills seems to be in retaining youthful qualities without making her collections appear particularly juvenile. 

indeed, it doesn’t mean there weren’t missteps, such as the too-dramatic red riding hood (on her signature garment’s day at the laundry)-style white lace dress complete with a bow at the neck (second from top).  that, with the sound of birds tweeting on the girl’s shoulder, fireflies sparkling in the sky, and faeries peeping up to lead the way through the dark night, might just be too saccharine-y for the moment unless you work at disney. 

but other numbers, such as the layered/sheer pieces (at top and bottom) without an overabundance of lace and bright pops of colour, smart basic black jackets interspersed throughout, or simpler (for ms. shehurina) dark draped dresses accentuated with rosettes (such as as the one fourth from top) felt just the right blend of romance and modernity. 

on another interesting note, though just last season i was bemoaning the fact that the designer’s clothes were carried mainly in far-off lands most of us will never see (dubai, kuwait, riga, petersburg), she has recently remedied this by opening up shop in london.  as her acclaim and reputation grows, one can’t help but wonder if she won’t be showing her collections there soon, as well.  then we can feel smug at having heard of her first, but in the meantime, isn’t it a pleasure to have somewhere new to shop besides another burberry?  just saying…

updated: with new images

japan fashion week: yab-yum

(images via jfw)

in contrast to some of the other breathtaking japanese collections to be seen this season, the yab-yum (from the tibetan; literally meaning “father-mother”) a/w 2011 range wasn’t one to make burn their entire closet as a sacrificial offering, then rush to the bank, withdrawing a substantial portion of savings in order to buy the entire lot…but it did offer up some pretty, traditional garments with an emphasis on tailored outerwear. 

titled “honest: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”, the show (in lookbook format) consisted mainly of models sporting little rolled trousers (as at top) and simple flat loafers paired with ankle socks teamed up with varying sorts of tops—cardigans, jackets, anoraks, and the like—to classically-if-stylishly ward away cold weather. 

the colour palette was largely dark hues—olive, black, brown, taupe, gray—although there were a couple of bright bursts in the form of some of the collection’s better pieces, such as the buttery yellow-and-white belted dress (below) that spoke somewhat of a country schoolgirl, but felt versatile enough to be transformed (with the right additional pieces) into a variety of interesting situations. 

in the end, though, the show was largely about basics, an idea which lately we’ve interestingly seen quite a lot of.  is it weariness with the long-suffering economy?  we’ve been conditioned quite a few seasons now that if we are going to shop, it ought be for something really special, as we don’t have enough money to spend on tiresome classic pieces like peacoats, black trousers, and tailored white shirts.  but after several years, as panty-flashing dresses and ripped, sequined balmain items begin to feel a little tedious, like strongholds themselves, are we finally back to where we started?  i don’t know, but in many ways it feels more than a few designers are tiring of so much excess. 

(see the collection video here)

safw: elme bekker

(images via hfa)

as i paged through the images from south african fashion week’s elme bekker s/s 2011 show, there were times i frankly wished the designer had left off scrounging through the black swan costume department’s garbage bins and gave us more original vision. 

those overly-syrupy balletic looks aside, when the designer opted to go for something more urban and egdy (as above), the show was a true delight.  the ideas were sharp and fresh as some of the decaying ballerina ensembles were a little tired and oft-seen.  however, perhaps we ought give the designer a bit of a break, as this season represents her debut collection. 

i wasn’t able to find many details out, but MIMI magazine did report that the 29-year-old ms. bekker is a graduate of stellenbosch’s elizabeth galloway academy of fashion design.  they also mention an interest in environmentally-friendly design, but whether she actually engages in those practices is as yet unknown.  i will say that she does show promise, but i’m not convinced one way or another at present. 

moscow fashion week: uliana sergienko

(images via intermoda)

first off, i’d like to acknowledge that as translating from foreign languages (not to mention deciphering the verbiage of blogs) can be rather tricky, the designer at hand’s name is something of a mystery.  i’ve seen it spelled in a variety of ways, but it seems that the one at the top of this post is most common.  if that is the case, the designer is likely one in the same with a woman-about-town sort (seen here and in many other similar articles), who is also a russian photographer.  (as always, if you know the answer to this riddle, please let me know.)

that said, the fall 2011 season marked uliana sergienko’s debut fashion collection, one that, according to the blog intermoda, was well-attended by famous russian fashionies, such as former vogue eic, aliona doletskaya.  cynic though i tend to be when viewing these launches from fabulous types, i must confess, the range was beautiful and impressively clever, with a thoughtful, well-connected theme which carefully united the pieces.

that theme was, as intermoda cleverly put it, like what one might have seen gracing the pages of soviet vogue in the 1950s—were there such a thing.  thus, there were all the hallmarks of the charming, happy housewife—full skirted, new look-esque dresses; pretty, fitted aprons; peter pan collars; sweet little gloves. 

however, unlike the all-too-frequently american takes we generally see on this story, the designer gave us a captivating little edge: a russian twist. thick winter boots, fur trim and muffs, knitted mittens, and headscarves were among the pieces giving the range a decided soviet flare.  even the floral prints had a slavic nature rather than the dainty little american lady with all her new appliances dreaming of a consumerist future that these motifs have long oft-represented in fashion.

of course, the show wasn’t perfect.  indeed, there were quite a number of rather short or revealing garments that didn’t particularly fit with either the season or the theme, instead seeming more like a chance for that good looking, moneyed girl to show off her legs and damn the season (they always seem to need that, you know). 

but besides these moments that frequently crop up in shows (perhaps they’re just catering to the celebrities that threaten to ruin them if they don’t get the required ‘touch my body’ garb sent to the studios each season), the tale was an engaging one, with a pitch i at least haven’t yet heard. 

i’ve said it before, but it’s interesting that we often associate particular decades with a certain nationality and forget what the rest of the world was doing at that time.  but who is to say the most-remembered is the best?  thus, with just a little change, these memories are worth having again & again.