Yes, it's happening again – the NY Fashion Week, or as the Twitter hashtag #NYFW puts it - it's here again and it's bringing us the latest and the best for what to look out for this coming spring and summer as the inspiration for the next fall’s wardrobe upgrade! According to the fashion industry, it’s never too early to start planning your outfits, giving us enough time - two seasons heads-ups, to be exact, to start saving for the shopping.
Surprisingly enough, the time between the Fall and Winter fashion weeks flies by very quickly. Just as we start to recover from the flood of the fashionable crowds to New York City from around the world – causing some fabulous hives in and around the city’s spots so popular with the celebrities and fashion-conscious city dwellers, when the next fashion week is back in town.
I’ve been lucky to be on the scene and see it unveiling up close and personal in the last few years – during my three-year stint as a correspondent for Voice of America, where one of the topics I've covered were both DC and NY fashion scenes. I also happen to be a big fan of the fashion myself.
From front rows runaway shows to meeting some of the most prominent figures in the fashion industry in person – check out my Bill Cunningham and Hal Rubinstein’s face-to-face encounters – I immerse in up and downs of the fashion industry and I’ve been happy to be sharing this exciting and fabulous experience with you.
While the NY Fashion Week, that took place last September, feels like yesterday, the winter time brings us a rather different twist to the fashion – what do you say, when the snow storm comes to town, forcing many fabulous and fashion-friendly places in the city to close up for the after-hours?
You put on a strong face, add an extra layer, put on your snow-proof high heel boots and try to get a taxi way before the snow-escape-seekers would do. You arrive to a runaway show in grace and with a bit of snow wetness on the sleeves of your fabulous coat and with a natural mascara smudge - the effect that usually takes you longer to achieve during a normal day routine.
So, what’s cooking?
Aside from the fact that we are about to see the Fall 2013 collections, minding that it’s only February, we are about to see the vision of the most creative and talented both prominent and new to the runaway scene fashion designers, who always seem to have a better perception of what we should wear in, like, seven months. Would you be able to do it by yourself if it wasn’t for Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs and Celine telling you the height of your fall’s boots and the length of your fall’s skirts? I doubt it, unless you own some timeless pieces, like a Chanel’s purse and Zara’s LBD (aka Little Black Dress) - yes, start learning how to mix and match the high-end fashion with the mass produced fashion items - you can use an expert's advice.
Going back to my question: can you imagine what the Fall 2013 would look like in your wardrobe? Barely… Moreover, do you know why the fashion shows always feature the collections at least two seasons in advance?
The quick answer to it is – watch The September Issue documentary, which features the behind-the-scene look of what it takes to create a September issue at the America's Vogue, the thickest and most important issue of the year.
The longer answer to it: the fashion week’s runaways feature the collections for the season way in advance because – and sorry, my dear fashionistas – these shows are, first and foremost, done for the store buyers, press and fashion magazines’ editors, which come to see and choose the items to feature in their magazines in the next season to come. They choose the content and store assortment months in advance, because it takes quite a bit of time to produce a fashion-forward magazine and/or buy and order the clothes and accessories for the store.
Personally, I love New York City during the fashion weeks because the buzz of everything that involves fashion is in the air - the crowds become more fashion-conscious and they bring a certain 'mood' to the city.
My NY Fashion Week started with attending the Russian Fashion Industry Presentation and Reception, presented by DEPESHA and Consulate General of the Russian Federation in New York, featuring original works from a canon of modern Russian designers: Irina Shaposhnikova, Aleksandr Khrisanfov, Serguei Teplov, Dmitry Loginov ARSENICUM, Tegin, BEssARION, Sergey Polyakov and Viva Vox.
Among the attending guests were Hon. Mr. Igor Leonidovich Golubovsky Consul General of the Russian Federation in New York, Mrs. Irina Churkina spouse of the Permanent Representative of the Russian Fedeation to the United Nations, Mrs. Raushan Yesbulatova Consul General of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Stephan Rabimov DEPESHA's publisher and editor-in-chief, as well as Russian designers Irina Shaposhnikova and Serguei Teplov, stylist Natalia Sych, photographer Natalie Arefieva, American figure skater Johnny Weir, The Real Housewives of New York City's Alex McCord, New York City Ballet principal dancers Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky.
Over 350 guests attended the Russian Fashion Industry Presentation that also featured original and provocative works by the leading Russian photographers Danil Golovkin, Natalie Arefieva, and Dmitry Zhuravlev.
If you haven’t caught up with the fact that in the last few years the NY Fashion Weeks have been slowly, but surely, featuring the works of the Russian and Russian-American fashion designers, you should do it now, because the Russians are coming and they are coming on strong!
Last year I went to see the runaway show from an up-and-coming Russian fashion designer, Alexey Sorokin, brought in to the fashion week by Stephan Rabimov, the creative and business visionary behind the Russian-American fashion magazine, Depesha, one of its kind in USA due to the fact that the magazine comes with the editorial in both English and Russian and features the local, international and Russian fashion. It’s like a ‘window’ into the world of the Russian fashion industry, art and culture – from poets and novelists to fashion designers, filmmakers and artists.
Sorokin’s runaway show was the first of its grand merits ever done in New York City that featured a solo artist, with no shows before and after. It proved that one Russian fashion designer can do it all and hold the stage, all by himself.
While doing the Couture Fashion Week’s coverage for a few years, as well as covering the fashion scene in Washington, DC and NYC, I’ve seen the works of a few Russian-American fashion designers before, but never the fashion shows from a fashion designer from Russia. (Click here for more.)
Hence, it felt pretty natural to me to start the February 2013 NY Fashion Week with seeing and getting to know the works of the new-to-NYC fashion scene and unknown to me Russian designers, the fact that made it even more exciting.
I truly believe that the fashion weeks in NYC and Paris are the most important and the most lavish ones among them all, and for the very obvious reasons – both of the cities are considered to be the most important cities in the fashion industry that set the trends and directions for every other country. They also seem to 'produce' the biggest number of the fashion designers - there are at least 15 fashion schools and colleges in the New York area alone. During the runaways, both NYC and Paris are overflown by the visiting celebrities and important fashion industry players.
Last year, for example, I happened to be visiting Stockholm, Sweden, when the Fashion Week in Stockholm took place - quite an interesting contrast from how the Fashion Weeks look and feel in NYC. It's very small - almost unnoticeable and very little celebrities, if it all, visit it. If it wasn't for Elin Kling's - a famous fashion blogger who is very passionate about the Swedish fashion scene and style - active promotion, we might have never known about the Swedish Fashion Weeks at all.
So, why should you care about the Russian designers?
Because the Russians are coming and they are here to stay! Here are my top three reasons why you should take a note:
1. Historically, there haven't been many Russian fashion designers featured during the Mercedes Benz Fashion Weeks in New York City. They might have been a part of the European and Asian fashion scenes – such as Valentin Yudashkin, one of the most famous Russian fashion designers, who often shows during the fashion weeks in Paris and London – but for the most part, not many Russian fashion designers have been a part of the NY Fashion Weeks. But more and more Russian fashion designers - [or those of the Russian decent] - are entering the worldwide fashion scene and we should keep an eye on them.
2. The Russian fashion market has been the most overlooked market in the world until the early ‘90s, when the ‘borders’ were open and the Russians were able to not only travel abroad and see the world, but also the foreign fashion brands were able to enter the Russian market and open its boutiques in Moscow, first, and then in other major cities of Russia. And since then more and more designers have been realizing the great potential Russia has for them, because the Russian people have a great appreciation for everything artistic and beautiful.
Just go to Moscow and St. Petersburg and see for yourself - there are some serious fashionistas, who have very high fashion standards. This puts a lot of pressure on the local designers to meet the demands of the growing and expanding audience of the Russian fashionistas. Everyone in the fashion industry seems to want to get a piece of that sweet 'pie' - the Russian market.
3. These Russian fashion designers might really, really surprise you on the runaway, because Russians are very inventive and creative. It’s in the Russian people’s DNA. They are always up for some fun and unordinary ideas. As I said before - Alexey Sorokin's execution of his Spring 2013 show was quite interesting.
So, whom should we ‘blame’ for putting the Russian fashion designers on the NY fashion week map?
1. I could name at least one Russian-American fashion designer, who brought the 'Russians' on the fashion week scene - Irina Shabayeva, the winner of the Sixth Season’s Project Runway and who has been showing her collections during the NY fashion weeks since then. I did a story on her last year. (And some more here.)
Another one creative spirit that I could think of - is one of my personal favorites.
2. Based in New York City, this Russian-American designer, Leonid Gurevich, whose last Fall’s show has surprised many of his fans and the industry players. The place alone he chose for his September 2012 fashion show was an interesting decision.
Check out the rest of the fashion designer line up for the Mercedes Benz Fashion Show Fall 2013 here.
So, is the black back? At least that’s what the Russians are saying…
Twit me your thoughts on the NY Fashion Week. I'd love to hear your thoughts!