Third season of fashionable discoveries

3rd Belarus Fashion Week has shown its opulence while opening new names

By Viktar Korbut

Highlight of 3rd Belarus Fashion Week is attendance by famous designer. Ivan Aiplatov has been working in Minsk for almost a decade but only presented his works to a Belarusian audience recently, tending to prefer Moscow shows. However, BFW’s prestige is growing and, this year, 2012 summer-spring collections were brought to Minsk by designers from Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Turkey and Nigeria.

The BFW’s third season is a truly professional event gathering designers keen to promote their brand names for commercial sales. The programme featured 17 catwalks, including ‘ready to wear’ and ‘haute couture’ pieces. ‘Boitsik’, ‘Efremova&Harydovets’, ‘Ludmila Labkova’, ‘Ulia Latushkina’ and ‘Davidova’ aroused interest with bright collections.
Until recently, Belarus had few famous designers. However, Belarus Fashion Week is helping promote them more widely. This year, the Georgian duo of Tina Magalashvili and Madonna caused a stir with their Lost Paradise collection. “It’s intriguing, so I want to show it at several different fashion weeks. I’ve come to Minsk with this purpose. It’s important for a designer to be understood, appreciated and objectively criticised,” Ms. Magalashvili admits, being keen to gain recognition all over the globe.

For the first time, the New Names contest was organised, enabling young designer from Gomel Yevgeny Ivanchik to win an internship at a Belarusian factory. “We don’t award young designers with diplomas or cups; rather, we offer them the chance to produce a new collection for the next Fashion Week,” explains BFW Head Yanina Goncharova. Yevgeny Ivanchik, 22, admits that he prepared for the contest in a rush, “Just beforehand, I was participating in the Mammoth Festival of Avant-garde Fashion, winning the Grand Prix. I was sewing the collection independently, with nobody assisting me.”

This year, famous designers’ clothes were offered for sale in the showroom. Meanwhile, over the past 18 months, four Internet shops have opened selling designer clothes. “A community of designers and consumers has been formed. Fashion is vital for them. Never before have we had such a group,” admits Ms. Goncharova, adding, “I can state with confidence that Belarus now has a self-sufficient fashion industry.”

The 3rd Fashion Week surpassed previous years, according to critics. In the first year, designers were especially invited. In the second, some were angry not to be invited. This time, some were ready to pay to participate. Many applications were received but designers were chosen only where they had their own team and a collection of at least 32 pieces (showing a certain financial state). Moreover, their clothes had to be viewed as saleable.

BFW finished with Ivan Aiplatov’s show. His collections enjoy worthy success both domestically and abroad. His level of popularity is confirmed by the fact that, long before the show began, the hall was filled to bursting with those keen to see his designs. His collection included clothes for men and women, using diverse silhouettes to suit every taste: from beach shorts and floating skirts to severe suits. The audience greeted Ivan with an ovation and the opening of his Minsk boutique is eagerly awaited.

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