ukrainian fashion week: victoria gres

(images via ufw)

i think we all of us know just how dearly esteemed designer victoria gres (Виктория Гресь) is to opt (see a/w 2010, s/s 2011, a/w 2011, s/s 2012, a/w 2012, s/s 2013), so i don’t mind admitting that i wasn’t, like, totally blown away by her a/w 2013 exhibition at kiev’s ukrainian fashion week. i mean, i found it decent, with some solid pieces, but i rather thought it fell into ‘holding pattern’ more than ‘innovate’ when we’re ready to put the labels on the file folders, yannow?

but maybe some (or more) of that had to do with the designer’s chosen theme for the season, as i usually prefer it when she goes with a more straightforward vintage-type inspiration in lieu of italy, which was her stated inspiration for her last lackluster collection for s/s 2012 (at least, as i saw it), feeling a little more basic and uninspired than her usually colourful and sometimes outright challenging (or edgy) work.

right, then. so for the upcoming fall, the ufw site explained that the range was titled ‘gradisca,’ an italian word, which translates to something like ‘help yourself.’ the collection, they prattled on, “called to reflect true femininity, sexuality and romanticism. A key trend of the season is a tandem of a dress and a coat, the volume and texture of no importance. The priority is comfort and natural look.”

basically agreeing with this assessment, but adding to it just a bit was the russian website fashiony, which reported that ms. gres largely drew on the work of italian director federico fellini to inspire her pieces, which i think explains a lot. anyway, they carried on (trans.), “(t)he main trend of the upcoming season, according to the designer, is a comfortable dress and coat ensemble, different in length, volume and texture. The collection includes wool coats, bulky cardigans, knitted dresses, wallets, sheer blouses and tops, skirts, and lightweight tunics. As an accessory, the designer used knitted scarves, necklaces and bracelets with stones.”

the colour palette, for the most part, was balanced in earthy browns and taupes, ocher, rust, and beige, but there were a few splashes of vivid hues, like cornflower blue and cherry red, as well as some prints, like muted autumnal florals, polka dots, plaids, and lacy motifs, and on the whole i’d say all of this felt very seasonal and appropriate (and i liked that), if a little more matronly than it did the sprightly and sexay times appeal of which the stated inspiration seemed to be going for. i’m jus’ sayin’.

anyway, plenty of texture was at play here, and that also seemed to be a main story for the day, with the ukrainian website hochu relating that range materials included satin, tweed, jersey, wool, silk, lace, and velvet. and, as the site ukrainian fashion realized, there seemed to be a lot of interest in juxtaposing the lighter materials with the heavier, as in covering up a semi-transparent blouse with a rather thick coat, perhaps.

then, finally, we were treated to the analysis of the ukranian blog be in trend, which stated, similarly to that above, that (trans.) “(r)omance, and ‘rock’ femininity [stood] in contrast to the volume and texture: chiffon layered dresses were thrown over bulky coats, cardigans and large knit sweaters, transparent blouses and skirts with the huge scarves.” but it was interesting that they chose not to go too much into depth, leaving me to wonder if perhaps they, too, were a bit disgruntled.

in the end, what can i say? surely if you’re a fan of ms. gres you’ll be able to find something delightful here, as i particularly liked, for example, the slouchy, wide-lapeled collarless brilliant sky-blue plaid wrap coat, but even if i did like a look now and again, i kind of felt like the designer was phoning things in, and that there wasn’t the verve and cohesion of seasons past. ah, well. she seems to love italy, but creatively i’m afraid it doesn’t do much for her. but! the comfort is that she’s going to have to change up her theme next season, and i’ll take solace in that fact, and know that we’ll likely be getting her back. and! she can’t draw on the italian theme for a least a couple more seasons, so we’ve got that, then, too! and in the meantime we can just amuse ourselves with some of her archives, non? (see additional runway images at vogue & creative workshop)

(watch the full fashion show video here)


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