Backstage, it seemed as if young designer Anton Belinksiy was going to war as he jumped up and down and clasped his hands before unleashing his troop of polished streetwear-wearing and cornrow-coiffed samurai down the runway. The looks took on a geisha-warrior theme: a kimono that was color-blocked in salmon and black, a white knee-length jacket with a tiered collar of squares, high sport socks, and trainers tied at the ankles. Softer looks included short black circle skirts spliced with gold leather, while heads were topped with wide brim hats. One model marched down the runway in a belted, sparkling evening robe as if she was preparing for a black-tie battle — a battle that Belinskiy won, no contest.
Cocktail dresses are a dime (or a kopek) a dozen, but designer Anna October has managed to kick them up a notch with her x-ray precision and slick silhouettes. In a collection that was invested in sharp details like thigh-high slits and peekaboo waist and collarbone cut-outs, dresses shimmered in peaches and yellows. Other standout looks included white collared crop tops paired with empire trousers and a '70s style white tuxedo suit. Wearable, classic styles reigned the runway, proving that this golden child of Ukraine is American market ready.
Diaphanous fabrics and bodysuits were the dollish theme de jour of young designer Anna Kolomoets' collection. Frills were everywhere: sectioning off cool cream trousers or used as sleeve cuffs. Short, transparent dresses revealed a nymphish clash of striped shorts or hugging bodysuits. With a collection that had a lot of frill, there was no fluff: Kolomoets is a designer to watch.
During an age where clothes can be easily transferred from computer to fabric (i.e: digital print), Irina Krasilnikova has the patience to turn back time with intensive handmade techniques. Her investment in old-school processes like "wool felting" was reflected in the theme of her collection: patina, the tarnishing of surfaces like bronze and copper due to oxidation. Krasilnikova translated the image of an "old cracked vase" onto the runway. Wool dresses were splotched with shades of oxidized blues, greens, to grays and beiges — one was even fused with a chiffon skirt. It's hard to find a collection where there are no gimmicks but this designer has made her mark: Krasilnikova strips the lacquer off of design and has unearthed a staying power that will be hard to tarnish.
Inspired by Japanese prints and calligraphy, Kostya Omelya followed the Eastern route — minimalist and monochromatic. There were floor length trapeze dresses, kimono skirt sets with kabuki sleeves, peplums, and obi belts. The most ornate designs were the organza dresses and jackets, which added a touch of dynasty goth. A sure sell? A black and white puffed sweatshirt that many audience members were already wearing.
In a trippy mix of alien heads and fiery neon patterns, Kanevski played with digital prints to create "the cool girl's" space age collection. The cartoonish "little green man" made his appearance on sets of light blue leotards and full length bodysuits, while psychedelic skeletons were printed in fluorescent colors on short dresses and bodysuits. Sure, the clothes were based on "out of this world" creations, but they were close to home with some very wearable pieces.
The designer has claimed and continues to conquer her trademark: the laser cut. Moving from dark forest-themes and scratchy laser cuts from her fall collections, Paskal transitioned into a softer sphere, using white and pink pastels and simple geometric cut-outs. Looks were feminine-breezy: silk pajama pants paired with scalloped white shirts, covered in perforated polka dots, or a ribbon-shredded yellow top and white skirt set. We are waiting to see how Paskal rearranges her unmistakable motif into her next collection — stay tuned.