For ten days, fashion ruled Russia’s capital of Moscow. Two fashion weeks took place almost simultaneously — the first, Russian Fashion Week, Oct. 17-23, and the second, Volvo Fashion Week, Oct. 21-26.

Until recently, the two events had coexisted independently and without direct competition, for in the past their schedules made it possible for buyers, media and fashionistas to attend both events. This time, however, it was different. Nobody know why the organizers decided to expose the fashion-oriented community to the stress of attending the opening of Volvo Fashion Week, celebrating its 15th anniversary with a grand Yudashkin show, and, at the same time, the catwalks of Russian Fashion Week with compelling designers such as Yegor Zaitsev and the show of six N.U.DE (new upcoming designers) — Gilda Giambra, Andres Caballero, Leitmotiv, BeeQueen, Mauro Gasperi, and Cristiano Burani. Italy’s Gattinoni and C’N’C’ Costume National also showed simultaneously with Kira Plastinina and the designer-winners of the “Russian Silhouette” contest at Volvo Fashion Week.

On the whole, the collections of Russian and foreign designers were interesting, sometimes really good, and if it were not for the organizers’ disagreements, both events would have comprised a great fashion event.

Russian Fashion Week, in the Congress Hall of the Moscow World Trade Center, traditionally invites a number of foreign designers. This year, in addition to the already mentioned Italian guests, were Agatha Ruiz de la Prada (Spain) with her signature explosion of bright colors, Sonny Sun (Malaysia) with a delicate study of weightless draping, Erin Wasson (USA) with a series of casual outfits, and Vinicio Pajaro (Italy) with fur garments. The young Latvian designer Alise Trautmane of the brand Narciss, presenting for the first time at RFW, showed an elegant collection inspired by Grace Kelly. Among the Russian participants were Masha Kravtsova and Lena Karnaukhova who recently showed in Milan (as part of the agreement between Russian Fashion Week and Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana). Interesting collections were shown by Biryukov, Parfionova (her models were classic dancers who tip-toed down the runway, Tegin, Lidmila Norsoyan, Olga Samoschenko, Alexander Arngoldt, and Jana Gataullina (the debutante of the event).

Meanwhile, Volvo Fashion Week in Moscow, located in Gostinny Dvor close to Red Square, showed mostly Russian designers, including (besides the already mentioned Kira Plastinina and Valentin Yudashkin) such interesting names as 2 Gun Towers, Max Chernitsov, Viktoria Andriyanova, Cyrille Gassiline, Ilya Sh’yan.

Also part of the week’s program was the designer contest “F5 JeansMaster” where some designers reinterpreted a denim theme (won by Ivan Aiplatov). Their creations were shown on the Fashion Week catwalk. The program concluded with the collection of Therry Mugler created by Rosemary Rodriguez.

Both events were a huge attraction not only for the fashion community but for high society. Celebrities of various stature equally attended the shows and catwalks, so that sometimes it was difficult to distinguish applause for a designer’s creativity from that of his “celeb” model. And despite the general atmosphere in Russia, which is still suffering form the financial crisis, fashion in Moscow proved to be a great catalyst of the economy and the livelihood of Russia’s people.—Oxana Senchenko