In 1958, the young Yves Saint Laurent triumphs in his first season at the head of the maison Dior, thanks to the “trapeze” line whose geometric shape breaks with his mentor’s codes. The phenomenon is global, women are conquered from New York to Paris. The Empress of Iran asks him to design her wedding dress. Even the USSR has its eyes fixed on “The Little Prince of Fashion”…

Only one year after his arrival at Avenue Montaigne, he becomes the first great couturier to present a collection in Moscow. The picture is grandiose, stretching over five nights. Reserved for the elite of Soviet society and the Communist Party, 11,000 invitations are issued. Several hundred dresses are presented; it is said that half a ton of perfume bottles are sprayed.

Three models continue the show in the street, marching before the amazed eyes of the Red Square people. He probably doesn’t know that he will have to wait decades before he too can dress as he sees fit…

(© Howard Sochurek for LIFE Magazine, 1959)

Today, Russia has forged a fashion culture in its own right. It has its share of star-designers, from Valentin Yudashkin(considered the first of the post-Soviet era, editor’s note) to the darling of streetwear, Gosha Rubchinskiy. So who are the other creators shaping the style behind the old Iron Curtain? Do they necessarily come from Russia? Let’s take a look.

Taking advantage of the Situationist

(© Situationist)

Situationist is one of Georgia’s most promising brands, finally in the spotlight after years of existence. With a palette of muted colours, it adopts a rather clean but strict aesthetic, placing particular emphasis on the work of volumes and the precision of cuts. A wardrobe that often ignores the notion of gender, putting its own twist on each piece.

Our little favorites

Bingo, Baginskiy

(© Ruslan Baginskiy)

A favourite of top models like Bella Hadid and Kaia GerberRuslan Baginskiy is famous in a very specific field: hat making, a vocation that comes from the importance of headwear in the Ukrainian tradition. One cannot help but notice the influence of the Red Army in its creations, where he reinterprets the military kepi to infinity.

Leather, wool, leopard patterns or burnt straw, the designer juggles with materials to offer modern accessories with an unmistakable character, which earned him an award at the Elle Style Awards 2018.

Our little favorites

Game, set and Mach & Mach

(© Mach & Mach)

At Mach & Mach, everything is all about celebration and delight. The brand is a perpetual invitation to seduction, relying on an exacerbated femininity with a great use of sequins, pearls and even feathers. Far from being classic, it cleverly plays with bling. On the menu, mini dresses, plunging necklines, and a dash of Paris Hilton circa 2003…

Our little favorites

Bondage Fantasya

(© Asya Malbershtein)

Based in St. Petersburg, Asya Malbershtein‘s line falls into the category of brands that want to create perfect basics — interesting, but nothing new here… On the other hand, it also offers a range of leather goods that is worth a visit. An elegant ode to bondage, where bags, belts and harnesses rub shoulders. Perfect to add a falsely sulphurous touch to a look a little too wise.

Our little favorites

You and me, AZNAURI

(© AZNAURI)

Like Situationist, AZNAURI is one of the great sensations of Georgian fashion — no wonder when you consider that both brands are run by the same designer. Yet, it is about the only thing they have in common.

While Situationist opts for a relatively sober register, his little brother, named after a local nobility title, is the rebellious child of the family — with a deep taste for leather. It seems to be a larger field of exploitation for its mastermind, with more raw influences, giving birth to a violent but refined streetwear that has already convinced us. The e-shop is coming soon….

In any case, if the USSR advocated a standardisation of culture, its fragmentation has allowed a multitude of talents to flourish, with a diversity of styles that has nothing to envy to Western labels. The scale is such that exactly one year ago, Condé Nast even decided to decline VOGUE in a Polish version. Eastern Europe’s face is changing, a transformation in which fashion can only take part… •


Zackary
Hugh Hefner's and Donatella Versace's love child, I am the visible half of the duo behind ZACKARIUM. In love with fashion since I was in short pants, my mission is to guide you smoothly through the jungle of brands and catwalks.