March 21, 2012

ukrainian fashion week: anouki bicholla

(images via ufw)

if the wild hairstyles of anouki bicholla's f/w 2011 range drew me in, and the brightly-hued classic clothing made me stay (and the performance of a sparkly-fabulous band as part of the exhibition drew in an entirely different sort of audience), i’m pleased to report that for the label’s f/w 2012 effort presented at ukrainian fashion week in kiev, they opted to leave off most of the lavish posturing, and focus more on the clothes.  and really, that’s a good thing, considering the talent they have.  i always find it a pity when designers feel they’ve got to produce a spectacle to grab our attention.  but i shouldn’t imply they didn’t have some extraneous distraction on stage—they did, though frankly, i don’t feel the need to discuss it here, and you can read about that noise at jetsetter.

anyway, for fall, the designers eschewed all the bright colours we saw a year ago, and for this round, they worked entirely in black, camel, cream, and white. the blog be in trend explained that the range was titled ‘georgian winter’ and (trans.) “ the main story line was a tribute to their own roots - the Georgian national costume, with a good mix of the flora and fauna trends and modern silhouettes.”  they then went on to note that belts in the collection were derived from “leather belts of Georgian men, which were once worn to carry weapons,” the coats with wide collars came from the national costume and the “woman’s headdress on the models…was an essential accessory for the lady of the secular Renaissance in Georgia,” among other historically-referential ideas.

with regards to the anouki bicholla’s materials, the site ivona noted that the designers, anouk areshidze, kakha kaladze, and bicholla tetradze, like to work with natural fabrics, including jersey, leather, suede, wool, fur, chiffon, llama hair, and silk, while pieces were heavily embellished with swarovski crystals, beading, appliques, pearls, and embroidery.  this sounds like a lot of bling, and on paper looks like the designers might have gone too far the ethnic route, but i was impressed with how beautiful and wearable the range turned out.  to be sure, there was the occasional piece that came out a bit costume-y, particularly those done up with ruffles (and the closing wedding dress might be a harder sell to those unfamiliar with the culture, lovely as it was).

but overall, i was thoroughly charmed by the details and prettiness of those bird-accentuated gowns (as the gorgeous number second from above).  the designers also included some simpler, more everyday-style exits, such as the smartly-tailored, high-necked midi-length khaki frock with the full, swinging skirt (second from below), which could be variously dressed up or down, and which would feel just fine in an office environment.  the site lux lux also remarked that collection trends included slit sleeves, flared skirts, ruffles, and juxtaposed textures of sheer and heavier materials.  i’d like to add emphasis on the natural waistline to this list, as well as tailoring and midi-length skirts and dresses.

at present, my biggest concern for the label is that i don’t really know what crowd they’re going for.  on the one hand (with performances and kooky theatrics), they seem to be courting the kids and fabulous fashion-types that might go in for a kicky house like blumarine, but coming at it from the design perspective, they seem to be seeking serious customers looking to build their serious, and sometimes almost conservative wardrobes with quality and classic pieces.  i think they’ve got the skill to go far in that direction, so they ought stop trying to pretend to be what they’re not, and give up on their almost obnoxious presenting and styling efforts (like the teetering chain-laced platform shoes).  they’re their own obstacle at the moment in not taking themselves seriously—and when they do, i predict they could go far.

(watch the full fashion show video here)

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