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British design talent, Osman Yousefzada Wows Russian Fashion Week
Heather Whyley

Russian Fashion Week, the highlight of Moscow’s fashion calendar, took place in the Congress Hall of the World Trade Centre last month. All the sparkle and glamour of this biannual event is a welcome finale to the long winter we’ve just endured. Russian Fashion Week is the biggest fashion event in Eastern Europe and it’s hectic schedule started on the 1st of April and closed on the 6th. It was a dazzling showcase of designers from Russia, the former Soviet Union, Italy, Croatia and the United Kingdom.

In conjunction with the British Council, on the 2nd of April we were treated to an exceptional line up of young British design talent. Kicking off with Clare Lopman, Osman, Eley Kishimoto and closing with PPQ, the day lived up to the UK’s reputation for innovative and cutting edge fashion.

Osman Yousefzada, is a rising star of British fashion. Son of Afghan immigrants, he grew up in Birmingham, England and moved to London to study at Central Saint Martins. Today, his celebrity fans include actress Thandie Newton, supermodel Kate Moss and Australian pop star turned TV presenter, Danni Minogue. When given the opportunity to show his collection in Moscow he said he “grabbed the opportunity with open arms” as he really feels his style fits into the Russian market.

His autumn 2010 collection stayed with you long after the models had left the catwalk. Navy blue is clearly the new black. Judging by the swathes of draped midnight jersey dresses that opened his show, I believe him when he says “navy is coming back big time” and it “is such an easy colour for anybody to wear”. The muted tones of winter were injected with pops of hot pink in beautifully made suede envelope clutch bags. Uplifting sparkles shone from the runway as chunky crystals adorned shoes and tops. The long toga style Grecian dress is set to be a hit with the ‘red carpet mafia’ but it was the floor length mink coat that stole the show, setting off a cacophony of camera flash bulbs and delighted gasps from the front row. Painterly stripes and checks were printed onto silks and his trademark funnel necks completed sculptural tops and coats. Softly tailored trousers created a fresh silhouette teamed with the fur swing coat and a shorter length tunic.

Old school glamour clearly set the tone. When asked what the inspiration was behind his collection he admits to a “fascination with dead socialites”. Peggy Guggenheim, the wealthy American art collector was the starting point. For Osman it is not about youth it’s about dressing real, strong women. He feels that you can’t be considered a ‘style icon’ until you’ve hit forty, “had your children, seen the world and savoured everything” and this is how it was for these socialites, they were grown up women. Osman’s clothes are cut in such a way that they form to the body, he fuses different cultural dress to create something wearable and well proportioned for real women to wear.

Gordon Brown’s wife, Sarah recently commissioned four outfits from Osman after watching his Fall 2010 show in London from the front row. She wore one of his dresses to the Elle magazine style awards – the same dress as worn by

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Hollywood starlet Mischa Barton. Despite the age difference the dress worked amazingly well on both women, a sure sign of a successful designer.

In this age of botox obsession and not growing gracefully into old age, Osman Yousefzada’s approach to fashion is refreshingly appealing.

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