Russian designers have been making waves on the streetwear scene - think Gosha Rubchinskiy and Black Star Wear - and they are pushing the edge on innovation. During Mercedes-Benz Fashion Russia which took place October 13 to 17 in Moscow at the Manege next to Red Square, it was evident the Russian design scene is thriving. Approximately 175 Russian and foreign designers presented their collections throughout the week’s events which included emerging designers at Futurum Moscow and the pop-up shop, where attendees were able to purchase clothing and accessories direct from Russian designers. There were several interesting collections to take note. We found some cool streetwear, innovative denim and high tech collaborations. In addition, social initiatives were a highlight of the week including the Mercedes-Benz Presents I-Inclusive by Ksenia Bezuglova presentation, which showcased functional clothing for people with special needs.
Here are our top five denim and streetwear labels from MBFW Russia:
Black Star Wear
Russia streetwear label Black Star Wear was one of the most anticipated shows of the week. Founded by Russian rapper Timati in 2010 as an outgrowth of his record label Black Star, the brand is designed by Co-Creative Directors Jeremy Douay and Sofiane Kihoul, formerly behind the defunct streetwear label Defend Paris. Following the ‘runway to retail’ fashion model, Black Star presented its Fall/Winter 18/19 collection, which is now already online and available in limited quantities. For this collection which was created to debut at MBFW Russia, Douay said they wanted to stay faithful to Black Star Wear’s signature look. “We wanted to stay on dark colors, we wanted to stay on everyday clothes and streetwear, but we also wanted to pick up some fashion trends from all around the world,” he explained. The collection hit all the right notes with edgy denim, plaid streetwear, sweatsuits featuring design instructions and an inventive look that was half sweatshirt/half denim jacket. But the main inspiration for this collection Douay said came from space. Visualize astronaut uniforms, bright neon colors, hand painted spacial graphics and some very cool accessories - ie chest-rig bags - which combined elements from astronauts and the military.
Designer Alena Akhmadullina can’t be filed in the denim or streetwear category persay, however, for Spring 2019 the high end label presented some noteworthy denim. Considered the “grand dame of Russian fashion”, Akhmadullina presented her collection at the Museum of Moscow and it was worth the trek from the Menage to see her dreamy, luxurious vision for Spring. Wildly beautiful and fantastical, the collection featured bold combinations of colors including the lavender chiffon dress with gold flames that opened the show. Like a fairy tale or something out of a C.S. Lewis novel with pastel colors, lion and unicorn motifs, cloud prints, jeweled pajamas and oversize fur pillows, the collection held a dream-like quality which has made Akhmadullina a favorite among Russian fashionistas and celebrities alike. The collection featured multiple pieces including luxe trench coats, beautiful furs wraps, sequin evening dresses and tall pearl encrusted boots. Perhaps most striking were the perfectly executed details on each garment including elaborate appliques, beading and embroidery. The detail was not lost on a selection of denim pieces - a dress, jumpsuit and jacket and skirt ensemble - which featured oversize collars, boxy shapes and bold diamond shaped top stitching decorated with pearls.
The highly anticipated Dokuchaeva Spring 2019 collection did not disappoint her fans. Characterized with bold bright colors and modern silhouettes, it was sport meets chic in a clash of colors and patterns. Think ‘80s rave on steroids. Models marched down the runway in bleached white bobbed wigs with blood-red sunglasses and neon yellow feather earrings. Wearing all white trench coats and pant ensembles, metallic jumpsuits, multi-color bombers and sporty layered looks with a mix of wild zebra stripes and fishnet, it’s clear designer Anastasia Dokuchaeva takes a bold approach to design. The designer, who launched her collection in 2014, said that with this collection she attempted to reach her maximum potential. And there was a wide variety of looks for both men and women to illustrate her efforts. Animal prints and ethnic style were some of Dokuchaeva’s key inspiration this season and she utilized her signature mixing of fabrics and materials including silk, brocade, simulated leather and metallics to maximum effect.
Nvidia x Snezhana.NYC
It was fashion meets high tech during the Nvidia x Snezhana.NYC runway show. Designer Snezhana Paderina was the winner of the Fashion Futurum accelerator in 2017 and it’s easy to see why. During her Spring 2019 presentation the designer showed how she is elevating the fashion and wearable tech category by implementing cutting-edge technology with traditional techniques. Her latest collection was presented in collaboration with Nvidia, who are world leaders in visual computing and artificial intelligence. Devoted to the young and tech savvy, the collection titled 'Ray' combined parametric fabrics, 3D-rendered graphic prints and sporty silhouettes in a palette of black, gray and Nvidia green. Think cyber goth as the look for men and women. Models dressed as a cyberpunk hacker crew wore hoodies, sporty raincoats, slick black jumpsuits, metallic dresses, leather pants and zip-up jackets. Edgy details including strapping and buckles on vests and metal clip-studding on pants added to the already high tech look.
Mercedes-Benz Presents I-Inclusive by Ksenia Bezuglova
Perhaps one of the most innovative - if not touching - shows of the week had an important social cause at heart. Mercedes-Benz Presents I-Inclusive by Ksenia Bezuglova featured designers who create functional clothing and accessories for people with special needs as well as some high tech innovations by top research and technical centers in Russia. Models with various disabilities debuted the collections wearing everything from children’s wear to streetwear and haute couture - and received a standing ovation during the show’s finale. It was heartening to see designers creating modern, functional designs as well as the impressive technology for differently-abled people. The show featured streetwear looks by Asceto, Mikhail Labakhua/ Zaporojec, Alexander Yurchenko/Skills and Kian Gerowgan of German label TrueSpin. There were football shirts with retro sports prints, denim overalls, workwear, T-shirts with reflective patches and long, sporty coats. In addition, Russian biathlon, rowing and swimming athletes who won medals in the last paralympics wore reflective capes and jackets with slogans such as 'Will to Win' and 'I Love Live'. Was the show inspirational? Indeed.