ukrainian fashion week: svetlana bevza

(images via ufw)

honestly, this one reminded me a little of what might happen if one mixed the s/s 2012 céline show with prada’s s/s 2013, resulting in an aesthetic that fell somewhere between playful anime and a cool, refined minimalism, but after all, this is svetlana bevza (Світлана Бевза), one of the best of the ukrainian fashion week kids at mixing things up and presenting the unexpected in a wholly surprising and strikingly sophisticated manner (see s/s 2011, a/w 2011, s/s 2012, a/w 2012, s/s 2013).

like remember when she was inspired by her cat, but cute kitties or anything resembling them never actually made their way onto the (sorry, but i can’t help it here) catwalk? she’s much more subtle than that in her execution, and so for version: a/w 2013, according to the ufw site, the designer “was inspired by wooden marionette dolls, creativity of choreographer and actress Valerie Maillie,” yet save for the last handful of looks, which came out emblazoned with scores of little doll faces in prints, that could have landed somewhere between kitschy and creepy-ville (and i’m still not sure which), things were, as expected, quite delicate.

in truth, i was also reminded rather a bit of the danish designer stine goya’s marionette display for the a/w 2011 season, as nothing came across in that loud, colourfully flamboyant way, although in terms of the actual theme, the ukrainian blog be in trend carved out the background a little more by adding that the show (trans.) “clings to the idea that all of us may have to be either puppets or puppeteers. Wigs are already familiar to Bevza, and also characteristic for the brand items made in the context of the ‘puppet’ stories in the show.”

they also, like me, got a certain japanese subtext vibe to the whole thing, and they noted that there were several kimonos or kimono-like pieces, while the platform shoes reminded of traditional sandals, and the trousers and belts of samurai costume. i’d argue that several of these were the motifs that evoked the aforementioned céline work, with the wide belts providing a significant parallel, and the mostly monochromatic tones, which in this case included plenty of classic black, white, and navy, alongside london’s ‘it’ shade of merlot.

anyway, “(t)he collection is built around well-defined contours and architectural forms,” (trans.) wrote the ukrainian site buro 24/7, while adding that “straight cut coats with wide belts, midi-length dresses, pants and tops,” were the major clothing stories of the day. there was some texture, thanks to this season’s ubiquitous leather, along with nineties-throwback crushed velvet (which i’m definitely ready to see reemerging), knitwear, and some chiffon action, but the bulk of the pieces looked to me (and i’m not really sure, because apparently no one wanted to address this) made of some sort of wool blend, nice for tailoring all of those lovely overcoats and trousers.

so. elsewhere, the site ukrainian fashion described how (trans.) “(e)ach image was strictly geometric: three-dimensional shoulders, sheer fabric, wide belts with rectangular buckles, band collars, square wooden earrings … All these dresses, long coats, capes, and pant suits are for fearless women, those who have already decided on their own philosophy and lifestyle and are not afraid of anything.” well! and for their part, the less enthused ukrainian fashion blog proclaimed it (trans.) “gloomy and depressing,” whilst arguing that ms. bevza was also inspired by the 2002 film dolls. well okay, but i still liked it. and i can get more behind their assertions that the designer employed origami techniques in sculpting her creations.

for myself, i actually loved the doll-head print, as it felt like just the right amount of commercial to sustain itself in the ‘real’ world without appearing like something out of a angsty teenage goth’s closet in some short-lived prime-time sitcom, but i think falls into the realm of intriguing and a little perplexing–it could probably go a lot of ways, depending upon how it was dressed up. but i was also a little interested with the russian site look at me‘s take, which charged that the print was derived from j-horror, while the shoes came from the classic goth-friendly creeper, and i suppose they have a point, when we add in all the burgundy, black, leather, capes, and crushed velvet. but this is what i lovelovelove about ms. bevza! she plays it so straight, it’s ultimately hard to tell.

and so..yeah, that’s why i find her to be such a badass designer. she takes the passions that are sometimes relegated to the fringe, and translates them into chic, fashion-forward, and of-the-moment socially acceptable creations. or does she? maybe she’s simply channeling a lot of ideas that are relevant right now, capes and all. after all, i think perhaps excepting the print looks, one would be hard–pressed to find a look that doesn’t have its high fashion-ready situation, and there’s a lot here that could easily be termed classic. the only thing that leaves me scratching my head a bit is why she hasn’t been swooped up by the fashionies, as they love this kind of tongue-in-cheek not-so-subtle-ness, but then, she’s ukrainian, and for some reason, the ufw designers never get the attention they deserve. sigh. and this is one of my great quests in life. to help win it for them (see additional show/backstage images at anastasiabasilica).

(catch the complete fashion show video here)


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