Attractive clothes for attractive people

[b]Minsk hosts first Belorussian Fashion Week[/b]This autumn, the capital hosted Belarus’ first ever fashion week — a real historical event. Fashion shows are organised all over the globe — from New York and Tokyo to Riga and Moscow. Now, Minsk has claimed its place as a fashion centre (if not a fashion trendsetter). About fifty buyers arrived in Belarus from neighbouring states, all wishing to see the collections of local designers and conclude co-operative contracts. Fashion Week allowed us to show Belarus’ potential in the field of fashion and style, at an international level.
Minsk hosts first Belorussian Fashion Week

This autumn, the capital hosted Belarus’ first ever fashion week — a real historical event. Fashion shows are organised all over the globe — from New York and Tokyo to Riga and Moscow. Now, Minsk has claimed its place as a fashion centre (if not a fashion trendsetter). About fifty buyers arrived in Belarus from neighbouring states, all wishing to see the collections of local designers and conclude co-operative contracts. Fashion Week allowed us to show Belarus’ potential in the field of fashion and style, at an international level.

Moscow’s salute from Zaitsev
Belorussian Fashion Week is now to be organised twice annually, with autumn-winter collections going on show in March and spring-summer collections in October. The first national fashion event opened with a show by Brest’s House of Evening and Wedding Fashion, Papilio, joined by the Fashion House of famous Russian designer Vyacheslav Zaitsev. In total, 40 spring-summer 2011 collections took to the catwalk, representing designers from Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Croatia, Norway and Iran. Of the 200 designers taking part, the Belarusians were largely debutants, with the event enabling them to demonstrate their, as yet, little known talents.
Vyacheslav Zaitsev brought his autumn-winter Metamorphoses collection to Minsk — its global premiere. It much resembled a theatrical play, inspired by classic 1980s trends. “There’s no sense in creating anything new. In the 1980s, I designed a collection which was incomprehensible, being ‘ahead of its time’; now, it’s time has come,” smiles Mr. Zaitsev. “Alongside monochrome colours, my collection has warm tints of gold, terracotta and beige.” He chose Minsk to demonstrate his new collection, wanting to inspire Belarusians to develop their own national fashion industry. Mr. Zaitsev is a founder of Russian Fashion Week, which has been attended by Belarusian designers in the past.

Style is like a puzzle
“According to the organisers’ plans, Belorussian Fashion Week should take its place in the fashion calendar, alongside the most prestigious fashion weeks in Milan, Paris, London and New York,” confidently asserts the organiser and head of the Belarusian event, Yanina Goncharova, who also heads Gomel’s Crystal Nymph Centre of Fashion and Beauty.
For many, Belorussian Fashion Week was a true revelation. I heard people saying, “I now understand what ‘high fashion’ means — it’s when clothes and footwear meet like a puzzle. Tights are of the right thickness and colour and the belt is placed at exactly the right place (not lower or higher). Ordinary details transform clothes into art.”
Many worried about the success of the first Belorussian Fashion Week, since the country had no experience of organising such shows. However, designer Tatiana Marinich notes, “The organisation went well and the models were fine. Ten years ago, when fashion weeks were in their infancy in Russia, some asked why Russia needed its own event. They wondered whether Russia had its ‘own’ fashion. Of course, now, we visit shows in Moscow and are waiting for the Muscovites to come to Minsk. Really, the arrival of Vyacheslav Zaitsev speaks for itself.” Designer Yulia Latushkina adds, “The organisers have done well and I admire them.” She’s grateful for the creation of the catwalk and new cultural centre in Minsk.

From Iran to the Vikings
I was most impressed by Lena Tsokalenko’s collection, which I thought ideal. Her designs, though simple, are enchanting. Models from Sergey Nagorny’s agency (the best in the country) were hired especially to wear Lena’s collection. Meanwhile, Olga Samoshchenko gathered the largest audience for her spring-summer 2011 refined retro collection. Polka dots, small flower prints, rose-like drapery, large collars and low necklines were set off by shades of chocolate. Duo Karina Galstyan and Katerina Golikova gave a romantic collection, irradiated by cosmic emeralds. It seemed to float down the catwalk.
The Iranian designers caused a stir. Mahpare Akbari, who has been designing clothes for only two years and studied folk crafts previously, including carpet weaving and embroidery, had perhaps the most impressive collection among the foreign guests. Meanwhile, Anna Sosnovskaya, a fashionable Ukrainian designer, arrived in Minsk to show her men’s collection. Her clothes are for strong men, who have their own sense of style, taste and charisma. Ms. Sosnovskaya always uses natural fabrics and a restrained colour palette but loves novelties and experimentation. In Belarus, her show was strange but attractive, with her models resembling heroes. They walked with firm steps, their faces whitened and their eyes frowning, like true Vikings. Some sat on the sides of the catwalk, while others walked past in spectacular style!

By Victor Korbut
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