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Walk of Shame Pre-Fall 2016Courtesy of Walk of Shame

The Russian label inspired by hedonism and 90s raves

Fashion editor turned designer Andrey Artyomov lifts the lid on his brand, Walk Of Shame

If the name for fashion-editor-turned-designer Andrey Artyomov’s clothing line, Walk of Shame, stemmed from a dinner party joke, the brand’s aesthetic takes its cue from how he spent his summers as a youth. “We would work and hang out with friends 24/7, dance all night long, then watch the sun rise from Moscow’s rooftops...I’m still inspired by these times,” he recalls. As the name suggests, Walk of Shame’s collections capture the spirit of a wild night out that runs over into the morning. Founded in Moscow in 2011, Artyomov’s references stem from personal experience – from national uniforms, his older sister’s wardrobe and logos synonymous with his childhood, to the period in the 90s in which newly-opened markets saw Russia awash with knock-offs of brands as diverse as United Colours of Benetton and Gucci. “For us, they were equal symbols of the Western world and of luxury that we never had,” Artyomov says.

As far as Artyomov is concerned, fashion’s current infatuation with young designers from Russia and surrounding post-Soviet states lies in the unexpected. “I don’t think traditional fashion references work anymore,” says Artyomov. “Our references are hard to understand – the Perestroika, early 90s Russian movies and music – they’re mysterious for the West, and that’s why they are interesting and charming.” Having presented his AW16 collection on the roof of Rodina Cinema on the outskirts of Moscow – a former “cultural centre” initiated under Soviet government rule – Artyomov is now presenting his first ever Walk of Shame Pre-AW collection. Reinventing the brand’s key pieces, the collection includes spangled dresses worn with oversized logo sweatshirts (that riff off the artwork for Friends), a boyfriend-fit suede and shearling bomber jacket, a quilted black and gold kimono coat and a textured slip dress.

Already sold at Moscow’s KM20, Opening Ceremony and Browns, Walk Of Shame recently launched at London’s Selfridges, with a dedicated window featuring images by Artyomov’s friend and long-time collaborator, Russian photographer Alexey Kiselev. Here, the designer lifts the lid on his label.

Where did the name Walk of Shame originate from?

Andrey Artyomov: I love this story, so I’m glad you asked. It was September 2008 and I was still working as a stylist. My friend Charlotte Phillips introduced me to someone important in the art world as a designer. The person asked what my brand was called and Charlotte said, ‘Walk of Shame’. When I later asked Charlotte why she came up with that name she answered, ‘Because it’s so you!’

What made you transition from fashion editor to designer?

Andrey Artyomov: I graduated as a designer so it was a natural transition for me. I was lucky to have spent a lot of time at magazines and I learned so much about the fashion industry there, that I believe I avoided so many mistakes when starting my own brand in 2011. I always knew I would have my own brand, it was just the matter of time.

How would you describe the Walk of Shame aesthetic?

Andrey Artyomov: It's a brand for girls, inspired by girls. It's always a mix of feminine and masculine, for example lingerie-inspired items worn with oversized coats.

What were the reference points for your AW16 collection?

Andrey Artyomov: I was inspired by the raves and the grunge of the late 80s and early 90s. In this collection, tops made from vinyl fabrics are paired with basic knits, a velvet coat is worn with a nude dress, grungy checked shirts are made from fur using a patchwork technique and crop tops are worn with very high-waisted skirts. There are also overalls in this collection, I like to flirt with uniforms. I use my own references a lot – it’s my older sister’s wardrobe, it’s the first counterfeit fashion goods produced in Turkey. For example, t-shirts embroidered with the Gucci or United Colours of Benetton logo ­– we had no idea they were fake. For us, they were equal symbols of the Western world and of luxury that we never had. I use this embroidery a lot on our t-shirts. 

What was it about the raves that inspired you?

Andrey Artyomov: The raves I went to personally were in the mid-90s in my hometown of Ufa, they mostly took place on boats because the police couldn’t get there. I think we had more freedom then – the 90s and 2000s were the times when the country had just got rid of propaganda, I think we were crazier. I’m probably too young to remember, but it’s about the celebration that they had. 

How did you select the venue for your AW16 show?

Andrey Artyomov: We always choose venues with history. Previously we’ve shown at Tretyakov State Gallery in Moscow and at Count Orlov’s house. This time we chose the roof of Rodina (formerly Motherland) Cinema located on the outskirts of Moscow. The building was built in the late 30s when the Soviet government were building so-called cultural centres all across the city. It’s a post-constructivist building and until the 1960s it had a restaurant on that exact roof. The roof wasn’t open to the public until our show in April. I always look for something different when it comes to the venue. I’m glad I was able to open the roof of Rodina to my guests. Only in Moscow can you still find artefacts of Soviet utopia like this. Behind the catwalk were huge letters spelling out “Rodina”, so we joked a lot about Motherland backstage.

“We would work and hang out with friends 24/7, dance all night long, then watch the sun rise from Moscow’s rooftops. I’m still inspired by these times. I’m fascinated by the city and its energy” – Andrey Artyomov

What do you look for when casting for your shows? 

Andrey Artyomov: Casting is my guilty pleasure, it’s the sacred part of my work. I loved selecting models when I was working at magazines – I did the first cover of Sasha Pivovarova for L’Officiel Russia and Sasha Luss did one of her first ever stories with me. I get help with casting from my friend who’s also a model Yulia Trukhina – we search for new faces everywhere, but I also love my girls who have been with me since my first show, girls like Dasha Malygina. I like to mix weird faces and classic faces, that’s my thing.

How would you say that Moscow has shaped the brand?

Andrey Artyomov: Moscow is a huge influence on the brand’s aesthetic – it’s about the short summer nights and short summers in Moscow where we live literally from summer to summer. It was about 2008 when Moscow’s club scene was roaring. Roman Mazurenko and Idle Conversation crew had parties at Solyanka club and we were working with Roman on a pilot issue of Dazed Russia at the time. I’m still inspired by these times. I’m fascinated by the city and its energy, I work with a lot of young independent creatives, but I also love certain Moscow It girls. They’re bright and smart, yet sometimes over-the-top in their dress.

Why do you think that fashion is so infatuated with Russia right now

Andrey Artyomov: I think Russia is the region that nobody expected to blow-up in the fashion world. But thanks to people like Vika Gazinskaya and Gosha Rubchinskiy, it did. I don’t think traditional fashion references work anymore – all these bell bottoms and flower prints from the 1970s are outdated. Then Russia came along with all of these post-Soviet references. Fashion is the most contemporary of all the arts, so it picks up on new things very quickly.