BEGINNER’S *UCK: SORRY, I’M NOT

Unapologetically all over the place, irresistibly hard to pinpoint, impossible not to stare, trainwreck revelry. Let’s reenact the scene blow-by-blow and sort through the aftermath. I’m afraid I liked it.

Sorry, I’m not. The brand name turned hashtag reverberated through the stampede of people trying to get into designer Nikita Moiseenko’s debut presentation at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia. This was positioned as the do-or-die show to check-in at for the younger fashion set. Front row included an Anna Wintour lookalike and a gentleman in bright red tracksuit with a giant fur hat. When it comes to style, no one ever accused Muscovites of being highbrow. Brace for faux pas bravado.

First look out: the burka adorned with open midriff shark jaws. Wow, reset expectations to shock-and-awe. While you’re scurrying around for a critical lens – Halloween, Islamophobia, political martyrdom, wtf??? – the show must and does go on. Here come a few bona fide gowns, legitimately any red carpet ready. There go a couple super cute hipster-proof dresses with poodles, giraffes and medusas. Enter a men’s fur coat with an epic collar worthy of a supporting role credit in any Russophile film starring Ralph Fiennes who’s already adapted Pushkin and Turgenev, and working on a Rudolf Nurieff biopic next. I digress, but so does the collection.

The luxury silk boudoir pieces come with transparent plastic raingear. The vinyl is covered in graffiti. The ballet leotards are hand-painted. Some psychedelic fleece is followed by a look with exquisite lacework. This is a generous smorgasbord. Those who were led to expect a Russian “Jeremy Scott” likely walked away kinda let down. Which is great news for Moiseenko. Sorry he ain’t nor should be. This sure was fun and, above all else, he showed great promise.

However, those familiar with Russian fashion circuit have developed a certain immunity to runway love at first sight. Moscow has seen its share of discovery launches for young designers with sizable talent backed by don’t-ask-don’t-tell investors with seize-able assets. This is by no means a jab at Sorry, I’m Not. It’s about owning the challenging industry context it decided to brave. Now that the well-deserved riotous afterparty is over, all eyes on next season. Moiseenko’s team clearly knows all about viral marketing and trends watch. Here’s hoping it knows about business survival, too.

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