Saint-Tokyo Shines At Fashion Week Russia

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The Spring/Summer 2018 Saint-Tokyo runway show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia
The Spring/Summer 2018 Saint-Tokyo runway show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia

Photo Credit: Golovina Kseniya @kgophotos

One of the most significant aspects of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia (MBFWR) is cultivating emerging talent. Russia’s fashion council, the group who puts on the event and its fearless leader, the president of MBFWR Alexander Shumsky, is actively promoting new and local talent. “For me it’s very important to have at least 10 new names [at the shows] every year. This is what we’re focusing on. My team is constantly searching for new designers,” Shumsky told Haute Living from the VIP lounge at Manege, the event center where fashion week is headquartered in Moscow. Each season somewhere between 250 and 300 young designers apply for 10 grants to appear at fashion week. Shumsky looks for talent that incorporates traditional elements of Russian design, have an understanding of the business side of the fashion industry, and a strong sense of brand. He hopes that the exposure of MBFWR will not only help grow the new fashion houses, but the Russian fashion industry as a whole.

Designer Yury Pitenin
Designer Yury Pitenin

Photo Credit: Oleg Nikishin/Artefact

The Spring/Summer 2018 shows is MBFWR’s 35th season, so a lot of new talent has moved up through the ranks. One creative that Shumsky sites as a case study of the emerging designer program is Saint-Tokyo, a St. Petersburg-based brand from Yury Pitenin. “We found him, he did a show, he did it here maybe five seasons ago and now he still comes.” Shumsky spotted his raw talent and popularity with the scene, so he tapped Pitenin to design the MBFWR logo for the Spring/Summer 2018 season. Pitenin created a Marie Antoinette lookalike with colorful graffiti covering her large ball skirt. With his lively and energetic presentation, Saint-Tokyo proved to be one of the most thrilling shows of the seven-day extravaganza.

Model Sasha in a look that supports a campaign to fight AIDS in Russia
Model Sasha in a look that supports a campaign to fight AIDS in Russia

Photo Credit: Oleg Nikishin/Artefact

Pitenin’s Saint-Tokyo (he was born in St. Petersburg, but grew up in Tokyo) debuted early this week to a packed crowd—people were fighting to get into the space—at Manege. With a collection called Explore Mars, he looked toward outer space for inspiration and imagined what life would be like for a fashionable female who inhabited this uncharted territory. The show opened with a popular model, Sasha, wearing a look meant to support the project Russian Designers Against Aids and consisted of a sexy red skirt that showed a portion of Sasha’s well-shaped rump while she walked the catwalk.

Haute Living's favorite look of the collection
Haute Living’s favorite look of the collection

Photo Credit: Oleg Nikishin/Artefact

Flirty dresses in pretty prints with trendy details like cold shoulders, tassels, and a circular cutout to expose cleavage, abounded. Lace, florals, stripes, and assemetrical cuts were also featured throughout the collection. It’s clear that Pitenin embraces being unique. Instead of having models walk straight down the runway, they criss-crossed the stage stomping in time to the music. Sleeves were exaggerated in length and there were plenty of see-through skirts. Our favorite look came late in the show and was a blue, silver, and black sleeveless high/low cocktail dress. Paired with a baseball cap and thigh high boots, it was the epitome of youthful chicness with subtle Russian influences.

An up close view of the makeup for the Saint-Tokyo show
An up close view of the makeup for the Saint-Tokyo show

Photo Credit: Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia

Makeup was minimal expect for black shadow that surrounded the eyes on some of the models. It can only be described as similar to the black lines a baseball player draws on his face to avoid the glare of the sun. Perhaps the women of Mars do the same to protect themselves from Venus’s brightness? Hair was sleek or undulated and parted strongly down the middle.

Another look we love from the presentation
Another look we love from the presentation

Photo Credit: Oleg Nikishin/Artefact

After the show, the crowd cheered wildly for the hot young designer and rushed backstage to congratulate him. Once an unknown talent, with his Spring/Summer 2018 show, Saint-Tokyo proved that Pitenin has found his place as a powerful player in the Russian fashion industry. Pitenin and his frisky fashions are one to watch.

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