Sentimentality and nostalgia increasingly fashionable in our modern days

What will Belarusian designers be encouraging us to wear next spring?

By Viktar Korbut

All in white
The 2012 spring-summer collections were planned in May, confirmed in September, and sewn by October, ready for the show. Every year, specialists from across the country (from state enterprises and private firms) come to Minsk to see the inspiration of Elvira Zhvikova and her team.

“I adjust European fashion trends to our Belarusian mentality,” notes Elvira. “We discuss the latest colours, textiles and styling.” Giving tips for next year, she advises, “It’s common knowledge that modern fashion trends are stylistically diverse but there are some common themes. Minimalism arrived some time ago, giving us simple silhouettes and bright combinations of colour. An explosive palette can be softened by adding neutral white and grey, or black. The global traveller theme is also popular: mixing ethnic accents from around the world. We’re using flower prints, as we usually do, for the 2012 spring-summer season — including sundresses and tea dresses covered with roses and apple blossom. They should bring inner harmony to the soul of their wearer and instil some rural peace on our urban environments.”

What would you advise for wearing to shop at the market?

My ‘City Stories’ collection of checked skirts, nostalgic sundresses and ‘baby-doll’ shorts would be perfect.

They say that fashion is cyclical, so which of last years’ trends are to continue?

The 1970s theme will remain with us: maxi skirts and dresses with floating skirts; semi-transparent tunics in pale, neutral tones; and blocks of white (great for creating structural, minimalistic silhouettes with voluminous sleeves).

How have you embodied these trends in your collection?

My ‘Bright Side’ collection uses vivid accents and contrasting colours, with floating maxi dresses in natural silk and lace evening dresses. It will surprise even the most sophisticated audience. We’ve managed to create some very sexy evening dresses in semi-transparent net, lace and chiffon.

The middle path
Ms. Zhvikova has been guiding the Fashion Centre for a long time but is helped by a wonderful team: Maria Nitsevich (the same age as Elvira) and young Vadim Korobkov and Victoria Kolb. Vika has been working in fashion for three years now, presenting her works at the History Museum to great acclaim.

However, she isn’t yet ready to launch her own brand.

I like to create something unique, adding my contribution to the Belarusian Fashion Centre’s collections. It doesn’t bother me at all to stay in the background, without recognition for my designs. Before I launch my own brand, I need to do a lot of work.

What embarrasses you?

I take risks only after great consideration.

Do you wear your own designs?

I make myself something slightly different. In fact, I can’t always afford to buy from the new collections made by the Fashion Centre, as our clothes are not cheap. They’re carefully made, with attention to detail.

How would you define Belarusian fashion?

We tend to use natural materials; linen is our major fabric, used every year.

The collection is due to hit the shops any day now, allowing us to see the designs by Mr. Kolb, Mr. Zhvikova, Mr. Nitsevich and the rest of the team. Victoria tells us that the theme of travelling inspired her this time, “I’m enchanted by the romance of safari, so have created clothes for travelling — both for Belarus and abroad. Everything is made from cool linen: waistcoats, wide trousers and shirt dresses with plenty of pockets and buttons. These are perfect for holidaying, as they don’t need ironing.

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