Moscow Is Anti-Binary: #MBFWRussia ’21

News from Russia these days are sh*t. Nothing seems to be going well or right over there. Demoralized by daily laments of my Russian diaspora, I decided to play a part in cultural diplomacy and bring you good news from Moscow! Some Russian fashion designers are doing really great things. They reject the us-vs-them, right-vs-bad, da-vs-nyet binary status quo codes in favor of engaging with the world fully and wholly. Here are my favorites from the latest edition of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia:

I see your Yamamoto and raise you a Kawakubo. Still, fell in love with Abzaeva vision: monochrome like a Dostoyevsky dream. One can never have enough black! Then SaiJamin took over the runway with pastel mountain warrior looks inspired by Cherkessk heritage and I was wowed right back into color.

Designer brothers Roman and Alexander Kim crushed a few frost-bitten male egos with Innominate. And then RigRaiser nailed some toxic masculinity coffins shut with their upcycled collection. Boom, do svidania! The cover image for this post comes from N Legenda and their moody non-binary angsty SS’21 lookbook.

In fact, there was a ton of top quality upcycling this season, including stellar shirt-work by VINA and cool denim by BLCV. For more on Russia’s “eco-fashion” micro-climate check out my colleague’s report “From Moscow With Eco-Leadership: How One Fashion Week Is Setting The Green Agenda” by Stephan Rabimov for Forbes.

Recently a fashion media student of mine wrote an ode to normcore, and I couldn’t help but agree. No all clothes have to make a statement. Now K Titova proved “boring” fashion can be captivating and expressive. This was terrifically unremarkable and I mean that as an utmost compliment. Meanwhile, ZA ZA kept fashion’s whimsy abloom.

I do want to leave you with these militant babushkas from designer Sasha Gapanovich. It’s time to update your stereotypes to the 21st century! From Russia with Kitsch…

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