Fashion on the Fontanka: the hottest Russian designer trends of 2017 from St Petersburg Fashion Week

(Photo credit: Till Rimmele)

St Petersburg is no stranger to arts and culture, with iconic buildings such as the Hermitage and a vast collection of elegant theatres. It should come as no surprise then that the globe-trotting Fashion Week festival made its way back to the Neva for the third year running

With support from St Petersburg’s Committee on Culture and the Ministry of Industry and Trade, St Petersburg Fashion Week describes itself as an opportunity to burst into the international fashion market. Events ran from Thursday 6 April to Sunday 9, and the organisers welcomed a combined in-house crowd and media audience of 600,000, including talented guests such as designer Nikita Kondrushenko.

Fashion Week kicked off with the screening of several films by French fashion film-maker Loic Prigent, hosted at the New Stage of the Alexandrinsky Theatre – a state-of-the-art addition to Russia’s oldest national theatre. The documentaries on show, titled The Day Before, provided the audience of St Petersburg Fashion Week with an intensive look into the final 36 hours before the runway shows of high-end designers such as Alexander Wang, Fendi, and Nina Ricci.

Soft vanilla for women and bold prints for men are the two trends to watch.

Amongst the international, established names, St Petersburg Fashion Week was also sure to include its very own designers and brands, most notably Fabric Fancy. Local designer Sergey Khromchenkov debuted Fabric Fancy’s 2017/18 Autumn-Winter collection on the catwalk on Friday evening. Khromchenkov’s collection focused on modest, loose-fitting dresses, with simple, floral details to complement the designer’s use of pastel colours.

Fashion Week also provided St Petersburg State University with the chance to display designs by its current students and graduates, which were met with encouraging applause from the runway audience of fashion enthusiasts and local designers. The University’s show opened with a theatrical piece, in which a dozen models wore hand-made national costumes, tying together the idea of bringing Russia into the international fashion industry. A traditional runway set followed, displaying an array of classy black designs.

Speaking to Prospekt Magazine after the show, student designer Anastasia Mavnina revealed the volcanic inspiration behind her designs. “I really love the idea that burning can forge new creations, new life,” she affirmed, and this concept was certainly evident in the combination of bold red and charcoal black in her designs. When asked what fashion week means for students at St Petersburg State University, she expressed that it means the beginning of a new life for student designers, signifying the importance of the event for the city and its people.

French Institute Mod’Art St Petersburg also showcased their collection on the catwalk, bringing a Parisian twist to the event. The team of young Mod’Art designers emphasised pale denim in their pieces for the female models, exploiting it to create bold shapes and prominent angles over loose-fitting, white blouses. Print is in for men, and this was made clear through Mod’Art’s striking camouflage designs.

Sunday, the closing day of the event, saw showcases from Russian brands New Name and Caboclo Bad, each producing two visually stunning runway performances. New Name’s Russian designers focused heavily on classic tones such as black and vanilla. The use of various materials, including metal chains, mesh, and lace, was explained by the designers’ motivations and inspirations – new gothic and fairy tales, as well as myths and legends of the middle ages. Print made a reappearance on the male models, with tones concentrating on red, blue, and black. The energetic performance of the live runway DJ reaffirmed the notion that Russia is more than ready to become a key player in the international fashion industry.

Caboclo Bad’s runway opened with a black and white film, featuring a model wearing a dark maxi-chiffon dress moving cryptically across a beach. This sense of mystery was echoed by the first model to enter the runway, crawling before walking. It certainly appears that vanilla is a tone to wear in the new season, which several of Caboclo Bad’s garments confirmed. Models with back-combed hair typically wore distressed fabrics, with rips and holes decorating the straight-cut, black dresses.

In perhaps the most anticipated show, and the final event of the week, French designer Christophe Giulliarme dazzled the audience with his collection of bold, floral evening gowns. Giulliarme’s choice of satin fabric was strongly complimented by a vibrant palette of colours, but heavily contrasted to the previous dark-toned showcases from other designers. The use of electric blue, hot pink, and poppy red produced exceptionally elegant dresses, falling both above and below the knees.

Taking inspiration from its Autumn/Winter weather, St Petersburg’s Fashion Week has impeccably demonstrated that the city has what it takes to snowball into the international fashion industry, through its various autumn/winter showcases. Soft vanilla for women and bold prints for men are the two trends to watch.


Photo credit: Till Rimmele

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