In recent years, post-Soviet youth have been shaking up the fashion scene in Moscow, most notably the menswear designer, filmmaker and photographer Gosha Rubchinskiy. But when Dazed went behind the scenes at this season's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia, we uncovered a new generation of designers casting their own vision over Russia's evolving fashion scene.
"Working in Russia is rather difficult," explained Leonid Alexeev, whose menswear collection merged classic tailoring with androgynous silhouettes. "You always meet strange people with a strange reaction to what you do." Influenced by the concept of spirituality, Alexeev covered his models in chain body-harnesses and the symbols of both a pentagram and a triangle, adding a new dimension to his dark and broody colour palette. "I hate it when people say it is a growing market. It is not a growing market, it is real people. They are funny, they are stupid and they are individuals." Concerned with the importance of process, each season Alexeev remixes or remakes his own work, inviting a constant state of flux between past and present.
Textile designer Yanina Vekhteva placed a similar emphasis on process for her spring/summer 2013 collection, working without preliminary drawings but directly with fabrics "to understand what they are capable of." Her refined but feminine collection was hung on the branches of a tree in a large-scale installation, curated under the fantastical theme of a "Tea Party in the Garden".
"Pyjamas combined with a woman is very attractive and sexy," explained Julia Nikolaeva, who captured a relaxed elegance with her slouchy and print heavy collection. Models emerged on a catwalk made of grass, walking barefoot and holding their shoes in their hand – quite literally getting back to nature. Hypnotic flower-prints ran alongside bold corals and aquatic blues, taking on the form of organic and oversized silhouettes. Her reference to pyjamas became a motto for freedom, in which she offered a pared-down alternative to the high-octane Russian woman we have come to know.
This article is part of a series on global fashion weeks, supported by Mercedes-Benz. Watch our exclusive video on the Moscow event above, and check out the designers profiled on the Fashion Broadcasting microsite.