moscow fashion week: slava zaitsev

(images via vogue)

so as another little programming note before we launch into our discussion, yes! moscow’s fashion weeks are in full swing and fashion shows are thus being poured upon us like so many grains of rice at the end of a wedding! i don’t know why we don’t all quit our jobs and move to moscow to start fashion magazines, as there’s clearly enough for us to merely concentration on this one country, rather than everywhere! and so, yes, we’ll clearly be talking about these shows until well into the summer, unless opt at some point comes up with a better way.

right, then. so with that in mind, i’m going to ask you to now turn your attention to one of russia’s more renowned and beloved designers, slava zaitsev, whose work we’ve seen now and again (see a/w 2010 & s/s 2013), but that we’re not an expert in (much as i can avow i do like his mix of slavic and retro vibes). he’s maybe a little better at sort of drumming up a general aesthetic and a vibe than a specific inspiration for his work, maybe a little as though he’s the sir paul smith of russia.

anyway, as to the designer’s a/w 2013 range, my favourite-named russian site (and this is just yet another reason to be happy we’re once again in moscow!), procapitalist, explained that it was titled ‘nostalgia 2,’ while adding that it was (trans.) “a kind of art retrospective for the designer, with brand new items created specifically for the show, reproducing the style and spirit of previous collections, starting with a truly nostalgic images in the style of the ‘New Look’ and ending with the black and gold baroque theme, current in the fashion world.”

i think they’re referring to the more eighties-cum-punk-cum-versace thing that has been going on of late, though i’ll be frank and say i didn’t see that so much as i saw some traditional russian pieces mixed together with some definite takes on decades from the twenties to the forties, fifties, and sixties in particular. there was also, as the excellent russian site intermoda noted (trans.), “a traditional section of couture evening gowns with a sophisticated mix of fabrics, multi-layered, [with a] rich finish, [and] large accessories.”

elsewhere, the ukrainian website hochu, in their take, opined that we saw (trans.) “a unique insight into the history of costume of the last century,” while stating that the range was portioned into different segments: “wool suits and coats popular in the 90’s, pieces in the style of the New Look 50’s, layered quilted pieces in the folk style of Indian shawls and a collection of the ‘Big House’, consisting of a corset dresses in satin and jacquard with embroidery and feminine silk dresses.”

if you were thinking a lot of it looked awfully russian (and maybe didn’t think the new look portion was, like, screaming your name), then i’m totally with you. but actually, that’s what i liked about the show–the manner in which some of these traditional trends and ideas were funneled through a russian lens, as opposed to the designer trying to vamp it all up french style (which we’ve seen to death, methinks). and indeed, the site fashion socium actually pretty much agreed with me here, noting that we’re fairly familiar with english and french fashion (to name but a couple) already. and actually, this opening up of varying global aesthetics is, in the end, largely what opt is about!

but before i get off on that tangent, let me try to bring myself back to the task at hand. this would be the skill of the designer, which the russian site face 2 face accurately related is considerable, and looking closer at many of the pieces, i think we could see a lot of painstaking detail in embroidery, beading, piping, corsetry, and tailoring, for example, that felt at times on par with couture, and certainly, i don’t believe, would look out of place during that week.

finally, always fashion week, which offered that “the designer tapped into the vision that is winter Moscow–cold, and beautiful. Women’s dresses were topped with loads of baubles and leather gloves, and men were sent down the runway in long puffer coats and even one in a puffer suit. A mix of sporty and classic, some looks were costume-like and over the top. But when dissected, were simply luxurious pieces better worn with pared down basics. The designer incorporated plaids, houndstooth, and bright colors on all shapes–no detail was an oversight. And no traditional Russian-style show is over until opulent fur stoles and glamorous winter whites make an appearance” (see some additional runway images at procapitalist).

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