Kazakhstan Fashion Week, traditionally organised by the Four Seasons Group, continues to bring fresh and bold fashion ideas to otherwise reserved Astana. “We are excited and thrilled to be back in Astana. It is very important that our efforts and the designers’ work are appreciated and well received,” said KFW Public Relations Manager Botagoz Aldongarova at a press conference on April 24. “I believe that in the past 10 years, Kazakhstan Fashion Week has proven its credibility. It is truly a major cultural event. Fashion represents the cultural development of a people. Thus, this event is important not only for those in the industry, but for everyone,” Aldongarova said, urging media representatives, fashion and art connoisseurs and the business community to support young designers.
The 11th Kazakhstan Fashion Week featured collections from some of the most acclaimed domestic designers and a few brand new names. Clear lines, monochrome colours and androgynous styles will still be cutting edge this coming fall; however, soft femininity and traditional Asian motives will remain present in the fashion choices of many Kazakh women. Leather outerwear is typically prominent. However, at this show, leather was complimented by velvet, chiffon and silk dresses in neutral and natural colours. These common features unified the collections of the twelve designers who showcased their clothing lines in Astana last week.
One of, if not the most well-known Kazakh designer, Kuralai Nurkadilova, opened the first day of the Astana shows with a collection titled, Through the Thorns to the Stars. Unlike the usual flamboyant styles and rampant colours associated with her designs, this year’s collection consisted of flowy chiffon dresses in pastel colours, such as soft grey, beige and white. Dresses were contrasted by well-fitted beige leather vests with cut-out Kazakh ethnic designs. Bare-footed models walked on their tip-toes and covered their faces with their hands to shield themselves against the faux wind; subtle and serene indie music amplified the effect of the eclectic collection, setting a dramatic tone for the rest of the evening.
“My collection often expresses my feelings and manifests my thoughts. There have been times in my life when I was drawn to brighter colours and convivial images. This year’s collection is different, yet it still reflects what I’m personally going through,” Nurkadilova said before the show, confessing that she feels nervous every time she presents a new collection.
Kamila Kurbani is another increasingly famous young couturier, whose dynamic yet concise collection earned the unequivocal sympathy of the audience. The collection featured a core print of colourful natural landscapes augmented by puffy white clouds. For her new apparel, the young designer used atlas fabrics with paintings of the Kazakh steppes. Simple elegant dresses, voluminous coats and down jackets served as canvasses depicting the clear blue sky, fields of yellow rye, green meadows, reddish-brown hills and snowy mountain tops.
Designer Alex Chzhen remained true to his edgy, cool and slightly offbeat style. His signature shirt dresses practically floated down the runway and came in fresh sunny prints and natural light fabrics. The collection also featured a structured women’s caftans of neutral colours with enlarged pockets and beaded ribbon-like ensigns. The designer’s loose garments paired with white sneakers, aviator sunglasses and white beanies were the epitome of urban chic.
This season, Kazakhstan Fashion Week allowed for new talent to rise. Above all, the Samidel Fashion House got a pleasant surprise and was a discovery for many fashion lovers of the Kazakh capital. Promising designer Dinara Abdullina presented her new fall-winter collection Ethno Hypnosis and left the audience wanting more.
Abdullina seems to know what every woman wants to be: refined, modestly chic, unique and comfortable in her skin without looking like she has just stepped off the runway. A mix of textures brought some edge to the designs; authenticity was achieved through attention to detail; muted colours saved the garments from being too glamorous and cloying.
The designer seemed to have met all cultural expectations as to how a progressive Kazakh woman should be dressed in the cool September weather. The lineup was in black, oxblood, terracotta, cream and white. The striking point of departure was the contrast of defined lines and romantic fluidity. Leather leggings, cashmere wrap tops and jackets and dreamy organza sheer dresses topped with woolen vests in geometric designs offered an array of daytime looks. Ornamented organza was used to create simple A-style nightgowns adorned by statement pieces, such as structured ornamented vests, belts and shoulder accessories. The central piece, a beautiful creme-coloured wedding dress, closed the showcase in a rather theatrical manner with a reenactment of betashar, a Kazakh traditional ceremony for the opening the bride’s face.
Besides the ethnic motives, military themes were dominant among the up-and-coming designers. Coats, men’s leather jumpsuits and pleated loose pants in khaki and black represented a rigorous masculine precision that persisted throughout Ainur Turysbek’s collection. The designer’s quest for uniformity felt straightforward and was loaded with military boots, zippers, and cargo pockets but did not sacrifice femininity.