This international fame is due to, in large part, the deal with Mercedes-Benz, which became the fashion week’s main sponsor in 2011. “It definitely helped, not only in terms of money”, explains Shumsky, “but there was a shift, and I felt it immediately in the first season.” More media applied and other professionals in the industry started taking it more seriously. “When we signed the agreement, there was a shift in international exposure. There were a lot of people – international media, mostly – who understood that this is not a freaky local event but something internationally renowned”, he concludes proudly.
Indeed, he can be proud of the work done at MBFW Russia. “Moscow became a member of the Mercedes-Benz fashion family, and now, we’re the biggest”, he affirms. That’s also in part thanks to their great online coverage. Shumsky knew right away that the digital world was something he had to focus on, and that’s why he’s partnered with several websites during these past years and every runway show is broadcasted. “We started internet broadcasting in 2012 or 2013 approximately, but we do it differently than other fashion weeks”, the event’s founder explains. “That’s why we generate five million views in five days”, he continues. That explains one of the most shocking facts as an attendant of the event: every show is on time. “Have you seen any fashion week that does that?”, he laughs. “I don’t know any other event that can make fifty shows in five days all on time.”
We weren’t late to any, of course. And if you were busy with your own stuff, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. As usual, there was a bit of everything, so we’re gonna highlight some of the most interesting stuff. For example, the debut of Expats Collective, a brand founded by a Russian-American collective led by Stephan Rabimov (who’s also a journalist and editor). The collection, styled by Farnaz Dadashi, was inspired by three great figures/moments in Russian history: the ‘polenitsa’ (mythical women-warriors), the House of Romanovs, and the October Revolution. Also imbued with historical references was the collection of Atelier Odor
. A few months back, we interviewed its founder, Nikita Kalmykov, and he explained us some of the intricate details in his clothes, like some teardrop baroque pearls on the tips of collar and trousers, which “were made as a metaphor of frozen tears, a romantic reference”.
History was also an inspiration in Daniil Kostyshin’s collection; this time though, it was his own. The Russian designer turned 21 this year, and to pay himself and his family an homage as a coming-of-age, he reinterpreted some looks he wore as a child – the collection wasn’t that remarkable, but the sweet, humourous and fun presentation (with pictures of a 5 and 6-year-old Daniil projected onto the screens in the background) was a nice way to end the second day. Other highlights of this MBFW Russia’s edition were the presentations of Not Today, which was very performative and frantic, and Futureisnown, which despite being entirely in Russian (the founder was explaining the brand’s and collection’s ideas through a video), was understandable enough to know that it’s fighting against the technologic control imposed by big corporations and governments. But however remarkable these shows were, here’s a list of the best collections we saw down the runway.