Thirst for recognition
Belarus has already produced several designers able to lecture at the largest fashion industry centres. Among them are Alexandra Budnik (lecturing at Barcelona’s European Institute of Design), Tatiana Plaks (Parisian Berso Studio) and Sergey Nester (Rome).
Over the past year, more promising designers have made names for themselves: Olga Borodey, Maria Boyarovskaya, Yekaterina Burak, Leor Gofman, Anna Dragotsennaya, Yulia Latushkina, Natalia Lyakhovets, Yavazhina Miklashevich, Yekaterina Safonova and Apti Eziev. All desire recognition, with some already earning fame. Leor Gofman has been invited to the National History Museum to show his works — a true honour for a young designer. Some are showing at Berlin’s Lafayette Gallery, giving a joint demonstration of French and Belarusian fashion at this authoritative centre of beauty; it’s a real breakthrough.
In early May, masters from London, Berlin, Milan, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Vilnius, Riga and Moscow demonstrated their collections at Minsk’s Palace of Sports. In reply to Belarusian hospitality, Berlin’s Lette-Verein Fashion Design School invited designers Darya Kucheiko and Tatiana Tur for internships, while Irina Tereshchuk was invited to co-operate with the University of Wales and Vilnius Academy of Arts.
For the second time, Belorussian Fashion Week (BFW) has made an attempt to bring some designers out of the shadows; until recently, they were known exclusively to a narrow range of clients domestically. Yanina Goncharova, who heads the BFW project, is convinced that she has managed to organise ‘a fully-fledged fashion week, including educational seminars, show rooms, catwalks and parties’. “At the BFW, Lena Tsokalenko and Olga Samoschenko asserted themselves as Belarusian specialists, having already presented their collections in Moscow,” she notes.
Lyudmila Labkova, Lyudmila Tarakanova and duo Tamara Goridovets and Tatiana Yefremova also impressed the audience at the event, which was also attended by Russian actor Alexey Panin, presenter Uncle Vanya, and TV hosts Nina Bogdanova and Irina Khanunik-Rombalskaya. These celebrities lent the fashion week an ‘official’ status for sceptical members of the public.
Minsk can hardly be called a fashion capital but it’s important to follow trends. Such forums as Belorussian Fashion Week help designers outline Belarusian designs and find their own place in the profession.
By Victor Andreev