Young Talent Dazzles at Aurora Fashion Week
Published: April 16, 2014 (Issue # 1806)
The latest incarnation of Aurora Fashion Week Russia, or AFWR, not only celebrated some of Russia’s most talented designers but also gave shoppers the chance to update their wardrobe with the newest styles during the White Nights sales and the Aurora Market, as well as the opportunity to refine their pallet at the Aurora Plate food festival.
The runway program, the heart and soul of AFWR, featured designs from 15 fashion brands, including Walk of Shame (Moscow), Esme Vie (Milan), Bevza (Kiev), Liza Odinokikh (St. Petersburg), Lilia Kisselenko (St. Petersburg), Artem Shumov (St. Petersburg), Osome 2some (St. Petersburg) as well as presentations of theatrical costumes from local productions of “Hamlet” and “The Flying Dutchman.”
Each collection presented by the assembled designers reflected not only the latest trends in the fashion industry but the designer’s uniqueness, their own definition of fashion and style, and their vision of the world.
The favorite of the first day of AFWR was Esme Vie, an Italian brand with Russian roots created in 2013 by Julia Voitenko. Despite her young age, she has become popular not only among fashion fans but important people in the fashion industry as well. Since winning Who is on Next?, a scouting project organized by Altaroma in collaboration with Vogue Italia, Voitenko’s work has received praise from Franca Sozzani, the editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia, and legendary fashion critic Suzy Menkes. Her work has been compared to Dior and Givenchy. Esme Vie is a young brand centered on themes of elegance, structure and femininity.
At AFWR, Esme Vie unveiled its latest Autumn-Winter collection, using purple and scarlet colors as its inspiration alongside pale pinks and whites. Minimalism, clarity of forms, and purity of color were the defining themes of the Esme Vie show. Special attention was paid to the hairstyles and makeup of the models too. Done without forsaking the designer’s minimalist style, they were an example of natural beauty — sweet, slightly pale skin, sensual red lips and straight hair.
Grazia fashion magazine’s show for the finalists of their young designer competition took place on the second day of the runway program. Ten young designers, selected by a jury chaired by Alyona Akhmadullina, Kira Plastinina, Natalya Walewska and Anastasia Romantsova, presented work based on two themes, The Great Gatsby and Black and White, to the St. Petersburg public. While the Black and White clothes represented minimalism and concision, coupled with graphic forms, The Gatsby clothes failed to create the sense of joyous chaos that could reasonably have been expected. The models strode briskly down the catwalk to the soundtrack of the Baz Luhrmann film of the same name to create the impression of a large party. A full range of colors, from rich emerald to pale pink, and a diversity of styles and countless accessories helped the young designers reflect the era of the lost generation.
Public reaction was positive to the well-known local brands — Liza Odinokikh, Osome2some and Artem Shumov. Moscow-based Walk of Shame also received favorable reviews and their show drew fashionistas from Moscow such as Natalya Goldenberg, Maria Fedorova, Vitaly Kozak and Oksana On.
AFWR’s attraction for young designers was reflected both by the fashion industry stalwarts that attended as well as the positive reaction of attendees to the newest available styles. The biannual event is helping establish St. Petersburg as another city on the fashion circuit. It’s still early days, but if the presentations at the Academy of Arts are anything to go by, Petersburg may soon be hosting more and more similar events.