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Moscow Fashion Week

In Clothes, Designers, Personal on May 5, 2011 at 12:18 PM

What does a girl do when she gets a chance to attend not one but two fashion weeks in Moscow? She thinks about how she’s going to miss two final exams and countless hours of sleep, not to mention her fellow Flare interns. But in the end, 12 hours of packing later, she hops on that plane!

Even though I was raised a few hundred kilometres from Moscow, I had never visited the Russian capital. I was excited and apprehensive, expecting oceans of fur, red lips and of course, no shortage of vodka. As I soon discovered, Moscow offers all that and plenty more. I did wonder from time to time why two fashion weeks were being hosted in Moscow at the very same time. Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and Volvo Fashion Week were going head to head. If anyone knew why, they weren’t telling – it is the best-kept secret in Eastern Europe.

The first thing I noticed on my arrival at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is that the hottest accessory of this Spring season is your 4 year-old child seated in the front row next to you, in Dolce and Gabbana loafers and a kid’s camel cape. Intimidating much? No surprise, the child’s parents were dressed even better: luxurious furs and $50,000 watches. That’s Moscow for you. You can understand that at times the oh-so fashionable Muscovites made it hard to concentrate on the runway action.

While attending the shows, I noticed some patterns in the way people dress. First of all, the notion of “trendy” is outweighed by the notion of “expensive luxury.” The notes I took during people-watching included: “10 percent trendy, 90 percent dressed without putting much thought into it”. Yep – Moscow is not Milan or Paris, where Tommy Ton could snap a random person and chances are she would be wearing opaque tights with hot pink heels or a midi-skirt. The only people whose style conjures up Flare’s Liz Cabral or Mosha Lundstrom-Halbert are the fashion editors of Russian Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, L’Officiel, Tatler. They can be seen a mile away, standing out from the crowd. Most notable appearance? One of the junior fashion editors at Harper’s Bazaar Russia, who was wearing a draped blue maxi dress, a shearling Burberry bomber and a neon fuchsia lip. She was the single most fashion-forward person I saw during my stay.

Right now, the fashion industry in Moscow, and Russia as a whole, is certainly not at its peak. Designers get no support from the government and rarely have representation. Russia, like Canada, lacks world-class fashion education institutions and renowned design and art schools like Central St. Martins College of Art and Design in London. Yet despite the obstacles, some designers have broken through. Industry veterans Slava Zaitsev and Valentin Yudashkin are known internationally. Vika Gazinskaya is a young and already accomplished designer whose pictures are often featured on street-style blogs, like Citizen Couture, Jak and Jil, and The Sartorialist. And Alexander Terekhov has become a favourite of the biggest names in Russia’s celebrity culture.

It’s unfortunate, but Russian designers still have very little influence over what becomes a trend the following season. And Moscow fashion weeks just don’t have the same chic as the Paris, Milan, London and New York shows. After Paris and Milan, we know what the majority of the fashion crowd will be wearing next September. Not in Moscow. Many Russian-based designers create fashion statements that are best viewed as art. You can be sure most of the industry attendees at Moscow’s fashion weeks had that classic question in mind: Who the hell is going to wear that?!

Of all that I saw, Slava Zaitsev’s work was my favourite collection, for many reasons. This fashion heavyweight is not afraid to show the world what Russian fashion is made of. You won’t see ultra-trendy items in his collections. What you will see is an exaggerated representation of what Russia is all about: furs on girls who look like a Babushka doll, with dark red lips and high cheekbones. Overall, Zaitzev’s Fall/Winter 2012 collection was the epitome of luxury, with a slight reprise of the 90s: wide shoulders.

One show in particular – Guli – gathered a large number of Russian celebrities, politicians and influential figures and when I googled the brand after the show, I understood why. Gulnara Karimova, a woman behind the brand, is one of the most accomplished political figures in Uzbekistan, a country with strong political and cultural ties to Russia. Harvard-educated Karimova, presently the Permanent Representative of Uzbekistan to the United Nations, is a prominent figure in Moscow’s social scene. Her collection was safe and pretty, with flowy blouses, great harem pants, mermaid dresses and exquisite embellishments. Her work is a perfect example of Eastern and Western cultures coming together and creating a collection that could be worn in everyday life.

Newcomer Alyona Serebrova’s collection was also a hit. She used bright, lightweight fabrics to make her trousers and blouses, and put bright blue tights on the models – a big trend on the runways of Paris and Milan this season. My personal favourite was a pair of electric-blue silk trousers paired with a cape-like jacket. Her collection is wearable – an attribute that’s crucial for those ever-practical Russians.

Some collections were not exactly wearable, but fascinating to see nonetheless. Russian Silhouette is a collective fashion show by up-and-coming young designers who are mostly still fashion and design students. The eccentric looks shown at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week would impress even Lady Gaga. I could easily picture her wearing one designs in particular: a grey bomber jacket with a hood, pointy shoulders and an attached cat mask.

After a week of non-stop fashion, I can say I loved Moscow. It’s hectic, it never sleeps and it’s filled with Russian who enjoy life to the fullest. But I was happy to come back to Toronto, where people are friendly and the environment is not quite so fast-paced. And more importantly, back here to Flare, where we know all the trends.

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Zara’s Spring/Summer shoe collection

In Personal, Shoes on February 26, 2011 at 4:57 PM

I am a big fan of Zara: an embarrassing amount of my skirts, jackets, trousers and tees are from there. One thing I have never done was buy shoes there because I haven’t seen anything especially appealing.

I was passing a Zara store on Yonge and Bloor in Toronto after work a couple of days ago and noticed amazing shoes on display and, naturally, I decided to go inside. Guess what? Most of the shoes there are something I would wear either to work or out. Here are some pairs I have my eye on:

All images via zara.com

Love at first sight

In Designers, Shoes on February 26, 2011 at 12:25 PM

I have never fell in love with a man at first sight. And until Thursday, Feb. 17 at 11 am, I have never fell in love with a shoe.

It was a regular Thursday at Flare’s fashion closet. I unpacking incoming merchandise that has just arrived from New York and I saw THEM.

Have you ever seen such a divine creation? I haven’t! I am not alone – all the girls who work at the fashion closet with me are just as infatuated with this Gucci shoe.

The last thing I’d say is if these shoes proposed, I would scream ‘YES’ in a heartbeat!

Images via Gucci.com

Incredible Gucci Fall/Winter looks from Milan Fashion Week

In Designers, London Fashion Week on February 26, 2011 at 12:04 PM

Gucci has done it yet again: produced a collection that took my breath away. What else is new? If I was asked to wear one designer for the rest of my life, I would take Gucci without any doubt.

Milan’s show has already been named one of the best of the fashion weeks season and for a good reason. It captured all of the trends for the upcoming fall and winter season but with it’s own “Gucci” twist. The brand knows how to make the runway look into the whole package: hair and make-up, accessories and shoes.

“Gucci, one of the top three shows of the season so far! (including New York and London)”, said Scott Schuman, a genius behind The Sartorialist (www.thesartorialist.blogspot.com) on his blog.

Some of the most obvious trends:

– Skinny, colourful belts over a jacket

– Bright fedora hats

– Fur, whether real or faux- it’s up to you

– Wide pant that barely shows the shoe

– Fur/faux-fur vest under a jacket (two different colours)

– Big sunglasses – even in winter

– Colour blocking – purple jacket, yellow vest, lavender trousers, camel purse – anything goes

– Long, sleek ponytails with a side part

– Deep red, burgundy lips on pale or slightly tanned skin

Beauty trend I am trying right now

In Personal on February 18, 2011 at 12:49 PM

Fuchsia lips! I am absolutely in love with this colour and actually wore it to Flare yesterday. Got a lot of compliments- although noticed some people on the street giving me a weird look!

There is one thing I had to consider: I am a blonde with blue eyes and wearing pink lipstick could make me look like a Barbie. SO, instead of wearing girly clothes or even a skirt, I decided to go a little grunge and wore black leather jacket, white jeans and black biker boots.

Photos above from Diane von Furnstenberg’s Spring/Summer11 runway

Images via style.com

Must-haves for your spring closet

In Clothes, Designers on February 18, 2011 at 12:20 PM

Spring is almost here (thank God)! I cannot wait to stop wearing bulky jackets, although I must say that I have enjoyed wearing chunky knit sweaters that were keeping me warm during the cold Toronto winter.

It’s time to think about the Spring wardrobe and here are some things that are sure to become staples in my Spring/Summer wardrobe.

First of all, a denim shirt. Don’t be afraid to put on a denim shirt and jeans, just make sure you add colour with either your shoes or bold accessories.

This shirt is H&M.

 

This blouse is Marc Jacobs. This spring season is going to be all about sheer and light weight bold colour blouses. I have seen button-down blouses in American Apparel for 60$ and H&M for &40.

Flat wedges! They are EXTREMELY comfortable and a nice change from thin-heeled stilettos.  Your feet are going to thank you. These ones below are Fendi; I have seen a cheaper version in Michael Kors and I am sure most of retail stores are going to carry those by Spring time.

In the past two weeks, I have seen multiple bright colour jeans coming in for shoots at Flare’s fashion closet: hot pink, coral, blue, green, yellow,red. I am thinking of purchasing a red pair. These ones below are from ASOS and they are around $50.

VERY chunky cuffs, bracelets, rings, necklaces.

The two rings are by ASOS, the gold cuff is by Philippe Audibert, the multicolour chunky bracelet is by Disaya.

And finally, a clutch. Times, when clutch was to be worn only during night time, are gone. I see more and more girls wearing clutches during the day and even to work (no kidding!).

Here is a smaller clutch:

This one, by Jimmy Choo, is a little bigger and more formal.

Images via net-a-porter and ASOS

Street Style – New York

In New York Fashion Week on February 16, 2011 at 8:22 PM

I think I love street style during fashion weeks more than the actual fashion weeks. Is that normal? I get so inspired by stylish women who are not afraid to think and dress outside-of-the-box and not care what others will think of them. I am slowly learning how to do it since Toronto is a bit more conservative than New York. Wait till I go to NYC..!!

Images via vogue.com

Favourite looks from New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2011

In Designers, New York Fashion Week on February 16, 2011 at 7:52 PM

The one and only NWFW is almost over and after looking through dozens and dozens of images from the runways, I have picked two of my favourite shows: Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors. I prefer designers who create wearable clothes that I could picture women around, including myself, wearing.

The fashion world lives a year ahead of us: Fall/Winter 2010 season is not over yet, and designers are already showing us what we are going to wear next winter. For those of you who say that runway shows don’t concern because you are ‘not interested’ in fashion, I have a reminder.

Even if you don’t buy high end clothes and shop in Old Navy, H&M, Winners or Gap, those stores stock clothes in accordance to the latest runway trends. So since the ‘It’ colour of this season was camel, you probably saw a lot of beige and camel trousers, sweaters and coats.

Key trends for Fall/Winter 2011:

– sheer fabrics -yes ladies, showing your bra is OK – depending on where you are going, of course

– socks with boots and sandals – something I cant wait to try once it gets a little warmer and also, in September

– Fur, faux-fur, vintage fur – whether you are pro-fur or anti-fur, having a vest or a jacket is an absolute must

– All-grey outfits – don’t be afraid to wear same-colour outfits

– Red pants – something I have been noticing during the NYFW is that a LOT of fashion editors and bloggers are wearing red trousers and jeans and of course, designers like Michael Kors is featuring the pant in his latest collection

– Midi skirt – midi means ‘medium-length’- I have heard girls complaining that it looks dreadful and too old-school. If styled CORRECTLY, midi skirt can be very flattering

Here are some of my favourite looks from the lovely all-American designer Michael Kors, who never disappoints:

Marc by Marc Jacobs:

all images via style.com

One spring/summer trend you have to know NOW!

In Clothes, Designers on February 9, 2011 at 9:52 PM

It’s not exactly spring in Toronto just yet. However, in the fashion closet of Flare magazine, where I am currently interning, summer is in full force. In the past couple of weeks, I have seen everything from bikinis and skirts to flip flops and summer accessories.

People have been asking me which trend is going to dominate the streets starting from April and through the summer.

My answer: COLOUR BLOCKING, which basically means crazy, bold, in-your-face colour. Doesn’t really matter which colour, whether it’s blue, hot pink, orange, green or yellow. It just has to be really BRIGHT.

Here are a couple of examples from the runways:

If you are not on a budget, you will find bold colours in almost all SS11 collections of the famous fashion houses. If you are on a budget, I would suggest Zara; I have seen some nice pants and shirts! Or, if you like to shop online, visit asos.com. Happy hunting!

 

Pictures courtesy of style.com