Photo by Oleg Nikishin/Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia
Moscow’s Eminent Fashion Moment – Forbes
Dior before the New Look, Yamamoto before Paris, Manolo Blahnik before Carrie Bradshaw. Fashion history is built on grand before-and-after moments that change everything in a designerâs career or global sense of style. The creativity and hard work that lead up to the breakthrough often gets overlooked. Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia featured several designers on the precipice of international success. It is exciting to witness their rising star.
Artem Shumov and Yuri Pitenin are highly recognized names on the Moscow fashion circuit, despite having arrived from St. Petersburg. They craft clothes unaffected by the ubiquitous trends, yet with implied global ambitions. The eponymous Artem Shumov brand and the Saint Tokyo line by Pitenin feel remarkably fresh in capturing the zeitgeist of contemporary Russia (and beyond). Along with the bad boy du jour Gosha Rubchinskyi, they yield collections with strong, memorable narratives that generate cult following.
Video: Saint Tokyo F/W 2017-18
Russia, with its tumulus history and rich cultural heritage, is an unexplored treasure trove of inspiration for any fashion designer. Shumov referenced an extraordinary moment in Russian history, when on the cusp of the October Revolution in 1917 the ordinary workers, service members and youth were caught in the middle of the national conflict.
Video: Artem Shumov F/W 2017-18
Shumov masterfully translates the angst into wearable, modern looks in a daring choice of fabrics, shapes, and colors. Some silhouettes might appear somewhat familiar to an eye trained on Russian cultural symbols: overcoats, sport suits, and factory protective wear. Every detail was re-envisioned with a global audience in mind. Despite being young, Shumov, over the past several seasons, has single-handedly pushed the Russian menswear industry forward, hopefully paving the way for others.
According to Euromonitor Intertnational, menswear in Russia accounted for 25% of total apparel value sales in 2016, with significant growth in the forecast. Made in Russia menswear would nicely fit the Kremlinâs directive for import substitution; it appears that a few Russian designers are starting to recognize immense market opportunity for domestic menswear consumption. Founded just two years ago, Lumier Garson by designer Jean Rudoff is already making quality strides on the runway. Rudoff’s latest collection carried a certain raw energy that attracted the eye to the craftsmanship as well as proportions. Fit is something that many Russian designers continue to struggle with and they would benefit from paying closer attention to how Rudoff excels in that department. The infusion of smart sportswear elements ensures that Lumier Garson is strongly positioned to find international buyers.