Following suit after Milan and Paris, Moscow held its own two fashion weeks, one after another: the Russian Fashion Week, which ran October 14 to 21, and Fashion Week in Moscow, which ran October 24 to 29. These two competing events have coexisted in Moscow for years and both claim to be the most important, the more widely attended and THE trendsetting one. Without attempting to judge the validity of such statements, we can report that both succeeded in drawing the attention of the international fashion world.

Russian Fashion Week had such participants as Nicky Hilton and Catherine Malandrino (USA), Luis Buchinho (Portugal) and no less then France’s Paco Rabanne. Rabanne declared at a press conference that had acted only as a “technical consultant” for the young Ukrainian designer Veronika Jeanvie who presented her collection (already shown in Paris). But the “master’s touch” in this collection (pictured above) was evident: the precision of cuts and forms, the use of metal and the choice of three main colors - white, black and red.

The Fashion Week in Moscow, on the other hand, showed two foreign collections: the one by Doris Hartwich (Germany) and the other by Emanuel Ungaro, both for men. The renowned French fashion house presented its collection in Moscow for the first time. The new chief designer of Ungaro Homme, Franche Boclet, explained at a press conference that he considered it very important to show in Moscow because the city is now one of the main consumer markets for luxury and high-profile fashion brands.

But obviously the presence of renowned foreign guests is not the main purpose of Moscow shows. The real protagonists are Russian designers, from the most famous such as Valentine Yudashkin and Slava Zaitsev to the youngest such as newcomer Kira Plastinina.

Yudashkin, as usual, opened Fashion Week in Moscow with a great show featuring his creations in all styles, from skinny blue-black jeans to flowing evening gowns in pastel tones or bright red. Slava Zaitsev, who also showed at FWM, presented a very classical collection in tones of gray-beige, lilac, blue-and-white and black-and-white stripes. On the contrary, his son Egor, who showed at Russian Fashion Week, brought to the catwalk a series of strange “squid” forms, and patterns from flowery to leopard and military in all imaginable colors.

The young but promising duo Two Gun Towers showed a hilarious bright-colored kaleidoscope of young outfits with tees that transformed into skirts and vice versa at FWM. And at RFW, Olga Deffi was inspired by Japanese minimalism in her kimono-like blouses and netsuke-like prints while NB&Karavay found inspiration in Ancient Greece with pleated details both on tops and skirts. Sudaryanto, another RFW participant, went even farther with her alien-looking blue-haired models wearing futuristic silvery or transparent plastic garments.

In the whole, however, both fashion weeks showed a common “bon-ton” trend for s/s 2008, without many challenging or extravagant ideas. The most popular garment was, certainly, “the mini dress” in its infinite versions, the shorter – the better. Some high-waist skinny or Marlene-style pants, micro-shorts and balloon skirts completed the picture.

The color palette was also soft: white, light gray, beige, water-green, lilac, peach, silver with some red, green black and brown, and flowers and polka dots didn’t disturb the whole ensemble of respectability.

To animate the atmosphere there were “special guests” at some shows. Among numerous Russian celebrities, the famous figure skating champion Evgeniy Pliushenko took part of the Ilya Shiyan show (FWM), and Paris Hilton caused a buzz with her (apparently mega-money) appearence at the presentation of the Kira Plastinina collection (FWM).

— Oxana Senchenko, Moscow Correspondent