kazakhstan fashion week: tamara lamanukaeva

(images via cosmopolitan)

if i’m allowed to be totally blunt, i will admit that while almaty’s kazakhstan fashion week is filled with some impressive and superior designers, we’ve also encountered a few i would describe as still at the beginnings of their craft—those who present collections that are at once filled with charming pieces…that don’t always ‘read’ together as a complete range.  this would be the case with newcomer tamara lamanukaeva’s (Тамары Ламанукаевой) a/w 2012 show at the event. 

to be completely fair, and as cosmopolitan did point out, ms. lamanukaeva was part of the event’s ‘young designers’ segment, in which she was meant to very quickly showcase both evening and day looks, but all the same, it felt a lot more like a listing of some of her favourite pieces than a whole, cohesive collection meant to be read like a story.  but that isn’t to say there wasn’t some allure here in these disparate looks. 

in what seems to have been the young designer’s first ever attempt to showcase her wares on the catwalk, the kazakh site hush hush explained that (trans.) “Tamara felt the subtle taste of Kazakhstan, inspired by street style and has created not just a ‘podium’ collection, but one that fans of fashion havealways liked, and things from her collection certainly will not be gathering dust in closets. The basic colours were blue, orange, black and purple. The collection was presented in dresses of chiffon, jersey and wool. Things in ethnic styles and artificial fur were key in the designer’s collection.”

i did love the above printed dress, and maybe there’s just some cultural discrepancy that’s confusing me a bit.  however, i will say that i’d like to see more of her work in the future, and that i think she shows promise, however much she needs to sync up and lock down her ideas. 

updated: with new images

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safw: liz ogumbo

(images via sdr photo)

as the site zimbo jam explains, in something of an interesting twist, kenyan designer liz ogumbo is also a musician, and her s/s 2012 range, presented at johannesburg’s south african fashion week, reflected a mashup of these talents. 

the spring range was called ‘4 seasons of ken soul’, and the blog maestro’s media quoted the designer as explaining, “(i)n my Africa, the bright colors through the Kitenge fabric, also known as Africa Wax Print are quite bold, expressing a whole lot more than a whole lot less; personality, world view and African women’s approach to that, depending on how you choose to express yourself. When all the colors are exhausted out of every woman’s wardrobe, the Kitenge has finally become the epitome of timeless fashion. Very bold, fun, colorful, many may say, yet very authentic!”

ms. ogumbo also took to her blog to note that “(m)y album KenSoul reflects on my Kenyan soul and everything that inspires this range, hence the application of my album lyrics  onto the range. The Lyrics have been printed on cottons and other fabric blends to be used for Jacket, skirt, dress lining, swimwear, blouses and scarves to balance the textures, colors and fabric while integrating my KenSoul into my fashion.”

“My integration of the bling factor,” she continued, “through the usage of sequin along with the Kitenge fabric and my album lyrics application onto the lining and blouses exudes power, self-actualization, self-expression, self-determination, self-certainty and timeless elegance. To this modern woman, summer is a lifestyle expressed and translated through her mood, colors, cuts, lengths and textures.; She steps out in style no matter what season effortlessly exuding self confidence, elegance & grace.”  i loved the collection, and found it indeed the right mix of carefree summer, metallic evening-y touches, and the kinds of prints that make safw so special. 

(watch the collection video here)

updated: with new images

moscow fashion week: alina assi

(images via intermoda)

so we, like, not only saw an awesome hooded evening dress at alina assi (Алина Асси)’s f/w 2012 show today, but an exposed vagina.  yes, really.  apparently in-between her pretty-if-standard nature prints, lacy finery, and her signature quirks-in-drapery thing, the designer felt the need to (ahem, i’m sorry, but i can’t help this one) snatch a more outrageous moment.  yeah, that was a bad joke.  but geez, i’m not sure i really got the gowns slit up to there, either.  we’re at alina assi, after all, and none of her archives (see f/w 2010, s/s 2012) have ever shown her to be exactly the equivalent of the ‘panting-and-lusting’ peter dundas at emilio pucci or julien macdonald.  but maybe she’s realizing in-between her thirty/forty/fifty-something smart-dressed lady, she too needs a bit of gimmick to keep the kids awake.  or something. 

anyway, i don’t mean to give the designer a hard time.  in fact, there was plenty from her fall range that i liked quite a lot.  it’s just that if during her spring show, i charged her with having a short attention span at times, shuffling in influences that didn’t really fit with the overall picture she was trying to convey, then here maybe there was some of the same.  only this time it wasn’t really prints or colours that were the problem—it was the youthful pops of almost streetwear-inflected looks (the screenprints of faces, short shorts, tight pants with the knee socks, hooded items) that were juxtaposed against stunning, lace-infused ballgowns of supreme glamour and sweet little floral print frocks and separates.  two pretty distinctly different girls, non?

but i suppose we ought give the girl credit for trying (and even succeeding, most of the time).  intermoda contended that ms. assi worked with a (trans.) “harmonious floral inspiration,” but i’d argue that we had something of an affluent suburbanite who must dress smartly most of the time for her various affairs—meetings, dinners, the theatre, evenings on the town—but gets bored with her restrictive wardrobe on occasion, for all that it is lovely, longing for something younger and spicier.  so she goes into the city, check out what the club girls are wearing, and…ta da!  rockin’ (and slightly eerie) sketchy face print and a whole lotta’ leg!  and even though there were some differing aesthetics, i do want to give ms. assi credit for her designs.  for the most part, they were quite solid, and i found her story for fall more intriguing and unique than her pretty, but sometimes a bit mundane spring range. 

anyway, in terms of colour and print, we got a fair amount of both, as we are at alina assi, after all.  in addition to the sketch, we got a few floral and garden-y motifs frolicking through the collection, in hues that the russian site pure trend rather humourously referred to as (trans.) “an aristocratic rich colour palette”: navy, cream, teal, forest green, white, tan, pink, wine, and black, with bright pops of goldfish orange for the california poppies that were liberally sprinkled throughout the prints.  ms. assi’s textiles, reported the blog fashion highlighter, included knitwear, leather, satin, silk, chiffon, and lace, with embellishments in the form of beading, crystals, and embroidery, which trimmed a good number of the opening a-line, fifties/sixties-style trenches and dresses. 

ms. assi’s fall collection, pointed out the russian fashion week site, (trans.) “include(d) the full range of clothing,” and though i’d certainly agree her girl would be set for dresses, eveningwear, jackets, and maybe even tops (and certainly she’s good on the bermuda shorts front), i did notice a rather curious lack of trousers within the assortment trotted out on the catwalk.  to be sure, we did glimpse a pair of leggings or two, as well as the odd look that appeared to be shorts, but when tucked into a pair of boots, might be squeezed into the pants realm, yet considering the designer’s usual tendency to market herself on providing the complete wardrobe (and especially as this was for a winter collection), things felt curiously amiss (also especially because she had more trousers in her spring show). 

but, like, maybe pants are just out.  after all, new york, brazil, and berlin all seemed to be saying so.  and i don’t want to focus so much on the traumas, because there were a lot of positives here (and i keep saying that, but let’s actually get to them).  the tailoring for the range was impressive, and as the russian site mode-art reflected, many of the outerwear items appeared quite enveloping and cozy; they (trans.) “seem specifically designed to warm even the coldest, rainy day,” they argued.  and maybe those flowers were intended to give us a ‘summer in the winter’-style perk, like we’ve recently seen ludmila kislenko claiming to do (though i’d argue the palette and motifs here were a lot more appropriate for the cause).  those slouchy, rounded necks (as below)—not quite a cowl, but not fully structured, either, were an unexpected pop of awesome as well. 

so i think we all need to leave giving ms. assi good marks for this presentation.  to be sure, there were some threads that didn’t quite link up in her narrative, but taken individually, most of the pieces boasted a lot of love and care (and the silky evening gowns, like the draped and twisted one-shouldered prussian blue number, below, were particularly swell), and i’d say we have the added bonus of ‘varied aesthetic?  doesn’t matter!  alina assi’s got something for you!’-style design.  certainly my goal for her as a designer would be to have one thrust to the storyline, and to understand exactly who her customer is from season to season, but as things go, i’d say she’s improving her consistency and quality, grinding her multiple design personalities down fewer with each season.  so this is a good thing.  mostly.  save maybe that one unfortunate flash of skin. 

(watch the full fashion show video here)

lisbon fashion week: dino alves

(images via hiper fashion)

so we’re coming quickly to the close of yet another fashion week (although opt is still in warp-speed mode, thanks to the extensive backlog i’ve built up with those events that showcase more designers than, like, many of the other weeks combined, and i’m looking at you, moscow and sydney), and sad as it is to give some of our new favourites up, as i’ve recently said, it can also be a good thing, as we’ve a chance to look at my top collections (yay, says me, at least)! 

to be completely honest, i had trouble choosing amongst them at lisbon fashion week, but certainly a strong contender for the best a/w 2012 range was designer dino alves, whose collection was titled ‘bright shadows’ and was a nice blend of that marni-style old lady chic the likes of me so appreciates and something a little more sinister. 

anyway, according to the site portugal confidential, “(i)n western societies, Alves believes shadows evoke mystery. Yet in eastern cultures, shadows are a source of creativity, insight and deep emotion. With this, Alves presents a collection with silhouettes and colors representing standards for what we are and what we are not… the duality of our personalities.”

adding to this idea, the l’oreal professional blog described it as (trans.) “a collection that seeks inspiration in the secrets that hide behind the darkness. The shadows allow the personality to show in its purity, without fear of damage or judgments of other people’s eyes. The shadows are both responsible for spontaneity, for liberation necessary for human development. This collection reveals the form of silhouettes and the colour matches what we are and we are not, what is and what appears to be, as happens when there is a shadow.”

they also went on to write that the show (again, trans.) “began with gray dresses under which games of lights and shadows projected up. Dresses with gray-eggplant velvet backs evoke the darkness of night. Printed in black and white, with notes of red seams and cuffs, some pieces wanted to be three dimensional. A gold standard discreetly appeared that was gradually paving its way stealing the scene from gray.” 

range materials, according to the portuguese blog stylo lisboa, included wool, silk,  faux fur, poplin, corduroy, cotton twill, and viscose, and portugal confidential wrote that “(h)is prints project light and shade, creating unbalanced proportions through effects of presence and absence. To further emphasize the duality of reality and shadows, silhouettes in the collection are both long line and lean, as well as oversized.”  yeow.  the collection, then, was wearable as it was technically brilliant. 

(watch the complete collection video here)