By Tony Glenville Montage by Rudy Tan Sanchez
This season at Mercedes Benz Fashion Days Kiev the number of catwalk presentations added up to forty plus, and this in turn offered clear directions from a broad range of designers. The building of a fashion industry in Kiev that covers different customers and moods is a cause for celebration, and clearly different approaches to the season were much in evidence.
The first group is easiest gathered under the title Ladylike, although the actual moods were much more diverse than this description might suggest. Tago took the chic black and slim-lined silhouette approach, softened by tulle and tiny hints of lingerie lace. Anna October used laser-cut flowers in black on black and in color scattered across many of the pieces to create a spring-in-winter feel to the collection. Le Parole opted for graphic black and white in bold stripes and graphic combinations for their collection, whilst La Marque by Anastasiya pared down to strict tailoring and long lean lines. Desserts celebrated print; slim tunic coats, flirty dresses and even printed hose and bags completed the look. Finally, in this group was a standout collection by Andreeva with superb construction and beautiful technical finish featuring graphic lines in both color and brocades.
The next group examined the long lean silhouette as a key element within their collections. Related to ‘70s feeling around but much less cluttered, it actually appears more monastic and pure. Sundari had a definitely monkish quality in an extra long grey kimono shaped coat and narrow strict short cape. Slava had more color — deep prune, khaki, garnet red and grey — but the matt felted wools and clipped external seaming were pure and refined in structure and editing. Flow used fir green and orange but continued the long slim silhouette with high waists elongating the line and sharp, slim tailoring. Theo made a real impression through fabric interplay with high gloss surfaces and fluid versus rigid lines. The mix-and-match gloves and again slightly raised waistlines added to the impact of the show. A wheat-colored sleeveless coat worn with abstract faux animal print extra-long gloves was a particular standout look. Giaterie looked great on the catwalk with its muted tones and long layers, while backstage the super-refined construction, attention to detail and brilliant muted color and fabric revealed a truly fabulous collection.
The ‘70s theme was present, although in Kiev it was more skewed towards ‘60s elements and how the pieces were styled. Vona reflected the decades irreverent style as she threw a fur-sleeved jean jacket over a fluid wild print dress, teamed a Bordeaux lace and acid yellow sweater with soft wool hot pants, and a floral printed boiled wool maxi skirted suit with a cropped jacket, all together into a wonderful eye catching mix. Also mixing things up were Victoria Irbaieva with Biba style dresses, Alisa Kuzembaeva and DMDV both spotlighting op art motifs, whilst Ksenia Schnaider featured maxi lengths in bold abstract prints, and flirty swinging dresses and skirts.
Finally, there are the Individualists, many of whom used quirky narratives. Anna K interpreted the Victorian tale “The Little Match Girl,” literally, in some match embroidery and implied in silver, multiple use of bows and oversize collars. Palson Kifot used “Carnival of the Animals” with her shark and fish-inspired motifs, her silhouettes from wild trapeze to skyscraper-length tunics and trousers, along with stitched details and her zippy menswear-made magic. Anton Belinsky brought a painterly studio feel to the collection of what can only be called “funky” pieces, with scrawled words, rainbow patchwork and even a huge original abstract art backdrop. Vika Frolova went to wonderland with Alice and scattered Tennial-inspired details through a curvaceous collection. Zirochka Ukraine plunged into a world of sportswear as abstract gallery pieces and some truly extraordinary construction in a surrealist collection. Omelya threw leopard into winter sports and conjured up a collection of chic and style but with wit and surprise. The standout presentation of the season was RCR Khomenko at the Orangerie: twelve motionless models placed as in a secret garden wearing special pieces. The inspiration hinted at Jean Cocteau, Provence, and nursery rhymes, with each model wearing a perfectly crafted item to be studied amongst the foliage. Enchantment indeed.