kazakhstan fashion week: aida kaumenova

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(images via cosmopolitan)

oh my. dragging my feet as i’ve been to close the books on the spring season of kazakhstan fashion week, i’ve sometimes wondered that you don’t get a little frustrated with all that’s before you, particularly as for some reason in almaty i tend to want to build up to all the best collections, hoarding them until the end to parcel out slowly, while first off showcasing those which maybe aren’t (okay, really aren’t nearly) as compelling. but! even that must come to an inevitable conclusion, and so, i’ve no choice now but to part with those which i’ve held so close to my chest until now, like one of my perpetual favourite designers, aida kaumenova (Аида Кауменова).

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ms. kaumenova’s work (see s/s 2012 & a/w 2012) tends to (for me, at least) evoke what might happen if a faerie was getting really dressed up and a little posh, although for the upcoming s/s 2013 season in almaty, i’d say she went a little more in the minimalist direction than we’re used to out of her, as well as perhaps a shade less bohemian. that, and i felt almost like i was looking at an autumn/winter collection, with a palette that to me spoke of indian summer, and the commencing fall.

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anyway, according to the designer’s own website, she described the spring range as (trans.) “feminine and graceful,” while cosmopolitan declared that the presentation was (trans.) “dedicated to women gentle, romantic, sensual and dreamy. The collection features elegant dresses cut in half, fur vests, and vintage accessories, decorated with fur.” i’d agree that there was a definite retro vibe running through the display, although there was also something regal, which is another element we regularly get chez aida kaumenova; the kind of structure and detailing that makes her girls seem indeed like faerie queens.

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alors. elsewhere, the kazakh site hush hush related that (trans.) “each image display femininity and grace, be it a dress to the floor with a long rear basquiat, a lacy jumpsuit or a multilayered and diversified suit. In addition, the designer again used the ‘weapon of choice’ in the form of accessories: belts with large buckles decorated with a lot of stones, that kind of necklace and bracelet made of pearl-coloured beads. The colour scheme also matches the house style: pastel colours, alternating bright colours – coral or fuchsia. Of course, we can not pay attention to the Ugg boots, which were decorated with fur and pieces of glittering stones.” ugh on the latter. and that’s all i’ll say.

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and like so many have already concurred, the spring range was, declared the turkmen site look, (trans.) “a tribute to femininity and elegance…It is traditionally attended by plain fabrics and fine prints. The colour scheme was fairly low-key, the shades were deep, but not bright, at least including black. Like the designers of the world, Aida added to the floor-length dresses all sorts of Basques. Also present in the collection of handmade items, for example, were fur vests embroidered with sequins.”

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finally, we heard the kazakh site season reflecting that (trans.) “(h)er style is mixed with a touch of femininity and ethnic sexuality – the good, ethnic themes are in this country one of the topics of the gracious. Its original accessory – a massive belt buckles, embroidery and necklaces, have found a place in the new collection of 2013, and the  light-coloured clothes reflect the current trends of the ‘big’ world of fashion – its muted mustard, beige, purple, coral and pastel are the perfect choice for autumn and winter type women, whose bright appearance these outfits highlighted perfectly.” aha!  see!?

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ah, well.  carrying on, they concluded that (again, trans.) “(a)ll in all, it really is a quality product of Kazakhstan, which can not fail to note, moreover, is not a sin to support local producers, who, like all others, is experiencing the same difficulties of the brand in this country – the lack of support for small and medium businesses , the lack of production of fabrics and accessories, and a lack of professionals.”  i’m really very sad to think that the designer isn’t getting enough business, and this is the reason i’m perpetually vexed that more blogs don’t pay attention to these smaller ateliers. after all, does lvmh really need more cash money? and don’t we, as fashion people, want to look different, as some of these designers  could help us do? oh, wait…and ‘round it goes. sigh (see additional runway images at mini kazakhstan blog).

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berlin fashion week: andra clitzan

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(images via mbfwb)

although the berlin fashion week romanian designers segment usually has its regular grouping of participants, for the a/w 2013 season we were lucky to encounter a new (and exciting) designer to add into our vocabulary: andra clitzan (i’ve also seen it written as andra clitan, so i’m going with her website’s spelling, but am open to being incorrect here). according to the blog spyke heels, the cluj-napoca-based designer has studied in several different universities, finally attending central st. martins in london as one of the stops on the road to founding her own label.

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unfortunately, not as much information was circulating on this lovely and promising young designer and her stunning, cultural range, although the blog grateful grapefruit did explain that “her collection is based on Romanian folklore elements, mixing fur with sheep leather, adding fine final touches of handcrafted crocheting and embroidery.” it was one of the more wintery collections we’ve seen out of berlin this season, though i liked the dark and somber feeling, especially given that we’re in perpetual spring according to most fashion houses these days (don’t you find?).

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the only other decent write-up i was able to find on the collection came courtesy of the german site fashion insider, which offered that (trans.) “(t)ransparent dresses and skirts made of black tulle radiate pure magic and are in attractive contrast to the purist over-the-knee boots made of leather. Slavic-inspired hats and caps provided a trendy appearance for Clitan with a personal signature from her home. Besides black, camel brown is the second colour of her creations. Skin-tight dresses with fur trim, leather tube pants  and a gaudy sweater with large white ‘bubbles’, represent expressive ensembles, which is still the harmony in the foreground.”

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although on the whole i think we can agree that the range was more artistic and conceptual than many of these commercial collections we’ve been discussing from berlin, i think ms. clitzan definitely shows promise as a tailor, with some absolutely astonishing structured outerwear (the fur-trimmed wool coats and jackets, say), while there were a few wearable, rather versatile items, such as a stunning bird-embellished black dress with a sheer bodice and a flouncy a-line skirt that was at once ethnic, modern, youthful, and wholly and utterly charming.

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(see the full romanian designers show video here)

couture week: oscar carvallo

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(images via ny mag)

honestly, i don’t think i’ll ever be able to understand how the press works. after virtually ignoring several designers i’ve found both compelling and worthy of some critical attention (to say nothing of acclaim), suddenly with the onset of the caracas-born designer oscar cavallo’s haute couture debut in paris with his s/s 2013 collection, i found myself practically swimming in articles. and to be sure, i’m glad he’s getting the love.  but why specifically this one, and not some of the others?

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well.  maybe it has something to do with the inspiration and backstory of the range, which reminded me quite a bit of that so-successful (and beloved) jean paul gaultier s/s 2008 haute couture show. for mr. carvallo’s spring turn, according to the venezuelan site el nacional (trans.), “silhouettes are based on ‘marine figures: fish, starfish, fish bones, and all that represents the sea,’ said Carvallo, who endowed his garmentswith  fins and smooth motion, as if they were rocked by the waves.”

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carrying on, the site further explained that the collection was titled ‘la femme poisson,’ and quoted the designer as noting that (again, trans.) “I come from Venezuela, the Caribbean coast, and the sea has always been an inspiration.” and the mexican site zocalo added that he showed (trans.) “iridescent dresses in shades of silver, pearl, pearl gray, light blue, and light pink, resembling finely embroidered scales, algae or marine flowers.”

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meanwhile, when queried about whence his inspiration springs by the french site 20 minutes, the designer responded that he loves the (trans.) “Venezuelan beach. When I returned to Caracas and I walk on the shores of my native country, I am always amazed by all the light that exists nowhere else. Its intensity varies each time and always leaves a different perception of the landscape and atmosphere. I love the bright reflections that emerge from this huge mass of water. My favorite beach is the island of los Roques where I can spend hours with thousands of pelicans around me.”

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and when asked to define his collection in three words, he replied (again, trans.) “(o)rganic, surreal warrior.” elsewhere, the venezuelan site el mundo reported that trans.) “‘(t)he textures are very important. We have worked with technique I’ve been working for a long time in this collection, which is laser-cut leather in the form of fish scales,’ said Carvallo.  This solid coats leather-configured bodices, which together with pleated chiffon skirts incarnate the body and fins of a fish. “

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“The Carvallo women is dressed in laser-cut leather shaped like a fish, decorated with pearl jewelry made of sea shells, and sewed a silken skirts became fins and splendid mermaid princesses or iridescent seabed outputs,” (trans.) declared the venezulean site panorama, quoting the designer as stating that “I’ve always loved the ocean theme. Besides, I dive, and I discovered the wonder of the sea floor. So I wanted to develop this in the collection; the reunion between the sea and the woman,” as the peruvian site terra added that the looks were(trans.) “(a)ccompanied by large earrings or bracelets made of sea shells.”

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and finally, the british blog the upcoming offered that “(t)hrough Carvallo’s vision, he showed ‘the sensuality of the female fish’.  Partly embroidered tulles created wave effects on the dresses. We saw an ocean of material, and got carried away by the currents of an insane and hypnotic ballet of silk fins. He mainly used trimmed fish-skin and made amazing lace fabric, inspired by pearls, starfish and corals. We saw crosscut strips with the pieces of square metal and volumes of thicker clothed skirts. White seashells accessories were common for this theme. In the finale, Carvallo made the walk with a model that wore a breathtaking white dress featuring a glorious headpiece.”

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