By Viktar Korbut
Clothes by Leor Gofman, Kristina Seryakova, Anastasia Sabina, Antonina Yasnitskaya and other young designers are on show, loaned by their owners for the exhibition. These unique dresses and jackets allow their owners to express their individuality, wearing extraordinary and flamboyant garments owned by only a handful of others. Of course, our designers love to create such pieces but, to be a commercial success, garments must be ‘wearable’. In the past, collections presented at Minsk’s Fashion Mill Festival have often remained almost unknown, owned by a select few. These days, the clothes enjoy wider popularity — both domestically and abroad.
Leor Gofman is just 20 but his works are already selling well abroad — especially in Russia. He is yet to conquer Paris or Milan, but is evidently taking his first confident steps in the fashion industry. Leor is keen to pass an internship in the West, to enrich his practical and theoretical knowledge, but is ready to set up his own enterprise in Belarus, if he fails to travel abroad. He has a simple explanation for his passion: he cannot remain indifferent to what we wear. “Sadly, Belarusians are yet to understand how to wear different clothes for different occasions; they confuse formal wear with party wear. Clothes give a first impression. I want to help those wishing to look stylish and eye-catching with my clothes,” he says.
Leor is demonstrating his third collection at the National History Museum, having designed clothes for men and women previously. His present collection is women’s wear, with Eastern-style dresses on show, although he was inspired by the West. “I visited Sweden with a Fashion Mill delegation and saw Turkmen national costumes at a local museum. I wanted to use some of the Asian motifs in my own collection, alongside Indian motifs.” He admits that most of them will probably only appear on the red carpet at celebrity events, so many are likely to remain in his wardrobe for a while, or will be sold abroad.
Kristina Seryakova has no dresses awaiting buyers at home. She works at Alesya JSC, designing knitwear which is bought and worn by thousands of people. She also works with small private companies who are eager to use her designs.
Kristina’s Wax and Amber collections are on show at the museum. Her jackets are decorated with amber, making them difficult to create, but they are exclusive pieces, creating looks which are unrivalled.
It’s not so easy to find clothes by Gofman or Seryakova at local shops. Last year, famous Belarusian designer Sasha Varlamov promised to open a boutique of designer clothes in the centre of Minsk but its launch has been postponed until spring. Designers and customers who prefer exclusive clothes await its opening with impatience.
Clothes made from Chinese silk were presented at the Belarusian Fashion Centre in late January, showing that Eastern trends will reign this spring. Gofman is already experimenting with Eastern patterns while Antonina Yasnitskaya and Anastasia Sabina are turning to southern motifs. They’ve used felt, with leather patterns and African tribal style decorations, harking back to trends seen in previous seasons. As we know, fashion may change but style remains.