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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.


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

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

My shoe closet favourites

In Personal, Shoes on December 8, 2010 at 5:09 PM

My boyfriend says I have way too many shoes. I think I don’t have enough pairs. I can’t say that I am obsessed with shoes because I know girls why simply can’t resist a new pair. Actually, scratch that. I love shoes, and I love them more than clothes, accessories or anything else in my closet! Today I am going to show two of my favourite pairs of winter shoes that I currently own.

1) I bought these Aldo booties about a month and a half ago. They are leather with a shearling inside and out. The heel is not too high, so they are very comfortable AND warm because of the shearling. I am not a huge fan of Aldo usually, just because their shoes (especially pumps) can be a little uncomfortable. So this pair was a pleasant surprise!
2)  These Roberto Venuti  suede fringe boots are my absolute favourites!  Despite the high heel, they are quite comfortable. Unfortunately, I cant wear them as much in Toronto because I get weird stares from people and let’s face it, its not the best feeling in the world!:) So i prefer to wear them in Minsk, where  people are used to seeing girls in high heels.

LG Toronto Fashion Week – I wore red lipstick and I liked it!

In Clothes, Designers, Personal on October 27, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Going into the Toronto Fashion Week, I kind of knew what to expect and I kind of didn’t. I knew there were going to be a lot of gorgeous people dressed in even more gorgeous clothes, but what I didn’t except is the impact those few days I spent at the Fashion Week would have on me.

First of all, I confirmed what my gut was telling me all along: that fashion journalism is something that I am definitely interested in pursuing in the future.

Secondly, that Toronto I have  known for the past 5 years is NOT the Toronto I have seen at the Fashion Week. Wearing heels in the area where I live can be dangerous – truck drivers might get into an accident just because heels for them – is something so beautiful and something they don’t see very often – that it is out of the ordinary. At the fashion week, however, people give you weird looks if you are NOT wearing heels! I was so pleasantly shocked and surprised that I couldn’t keep a smile off my face.

Also, I made it my goal to socialize with people – and was lucky to find out that 99 percent of the fashion industry people are not as shallow as everybody think they are. Of course, there are always exceptions, however, again, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that as long as you dress appropriately, the fashion industry is ready to take you under its arm.

AND I wore a bright red lipstick and about 388,677 people complemented  how good it looked on me. Believe me, Fashion Week does wonders to self-esteem!

Enough of me talking, here are some picture from LGFW



In Personal on October 23, 2010 at 1:45 PM

Men’s shirt- Tommy Hilfiger (shamelessly stole from my bf- a bit big for me but who cares 🙂

Blazer – Zara

Orange vest – Joe

Boots – Sam Edelman

Liquid leggings – Stitches

Belt – H&M

Jewellery – borrowed from grandma’s jewellery box


In Clothes, Personal on October 18, 2010 at 1:07 PM

Jacket- Zara Woman

Pants- Zara Woman

Boots- Sam Edelman

Scarf- H&M

Bracelets – ASOS

Watch – Mango

LG Toronto Fashion Week

In Designers, Personal on October 14, 2010 at 2:43 PM

LG Toronto Week is Oct. 18-22 and since I got the media pass, I am going to cover it for York University’s newspaper, Excalibur, as well as – where I am going to blog about the Fashion Week for the Excalibur. I am also going to tweet live from the shows, follow me @AlexBirukova. And of course I am going to do blog posts here! So check back next week for major Fashion Week coverage:)

Some of the shows I am going to attend next week:

Rachel Mara, Joe Fresh Style, Chloecommeparis, House of Groves – Wednesday, Oct. 20

Laura Bagliore, Evan Bidell, THOMAS, Romona Keveza, Sarah Stevenson – Thursday, Oct. 21

Rita Liefhebber, Amanda Lew Kee, Denis Gagnon – Friday, Oct. 22

I am especially excited about Amanda Lew Kee, she is a recent Ryerson fashion grad and has already been recognized by Holt Renfrew, where her work was showcased in line with other promising recent grads from fashion programs. Her work is edgy, unusual and leather-dominated.

Stay tuned:)



In Personal on October 14, 2010 at 10:00 AM

Hat- Nine West

Bag- KGB

Liquid leggings- Stitches

Coat- H&M

Sweater dress – Zara

Boots – Sam Edelman

Flats or heels, Dresses or skirts?

In Personal on October 13, 2010 at 11:22 PM


Blush or bronzer – Bronzer

Lipgloss or lipstick – lipgloss

Eye liner or mascara – mascara

Foundation or concealer – both

Brushes or spunges – brushes

Neutral or color eye shadow – neutral


Long or short – short

Acrylic or natural – natural

Brights or darks – usually brights, but depends on the mood


Lotion or body butter- lotion

Body wash or soap – both

Perfume or body spritz – perfume


Jeans or sweat pants – Jeans

Dresses or skirts – skirts

Stripes or plaid – stripes

Scarves or hats – both

Heels or flats – heels

Cowboy or riding boots – neither, but if I absolutely had to choose – riding

Jackets or hoodies – jackets

Pants or jeans – pants


Curvy or straight – straight

Bun or ponytail – bun

Sleek bun or messy bun – messy bun

Light or dark – light

Side bangs or full bangs – side bangs

Up or down – down

Straight or side part – straight