By Asma and Reem

Vyshyvanka by Vita Kin: The Story Behind The Ukrainian-Inspired Folk Dress

Fading traditions inspire Ukrainian designer Vita Kin when it comes to creating her well-known vyshyvankas, Ukraine's traditional dress. The much in-demand folk dress is perfect for summer holidays, just as her newly debuted capes (zhupan, which is a Ukrainian jacket) are ideal for winter. Kin's dresses made an impact during last summer's season, seen on famous figures such as Buro 24/7's Miroslava Duma, Man Repller's Leandra Medine, and editor-at-large of Vogue Japan Anna Dello Russo. We have to say, Kin had a great start: first selling her products on Instagram, then only to be picked up by online retailers such as Net-a-Porter and  

What mainly got our attention though was the story behind the vyshyvanka: it was told that the embroidery on the folk dress was deciphered as a talisman, according to Slavic mythology. The embroidery is stitched into places around the body that were seen as vulnerable to evil spirits: along the neckline, shoulders, wrists, hem, and the back. It's fascinating how a garment with an ancient myth can be modernised and blended into high fashion, and that just goes to show what a mastermind Kin is. 

Ukrainians have a unique method of decorating clothing with embroidery, and that’s always impressed me. I adapted this ancient heritage into a modern context, adding a seventies vibe, when clothing was more relaxed and friendly. It’s a bohemian eccentricity in a very luxe execution.
— Vita Kin in an interview with Vogue

Why Salvatore Ferragamo's Bold Geometrics Are This Season's Must-Have's

Art deco and geometry was Massimiliano Giornetti's designated theme for Salvatore Ferragamo's Fall/Winter 2015 collection. The first indication of the collection's theme was the rectangular carpet laid out in yellow, grey, white, and beige, serving as the perfect backdrop for the show. Giornetti has steered the legendary Italian brand for a good 5 years now; abruptly reviving the grandeur of its previous aesthetic brought about by the late founder. Ribbed turtlenecks that were cropped had to be our favourite piece of the collection - definitely a wardrobe staple for the winter season if not the fall. Colour-blocking was the centre of the collection though, highlighting the theme with lines and kaleidoscopic patterns that also pointed out a colour contrast in the garments. Pleated skirts also made a comeback: in leather, tweed, and velvet.

Putting that aside, what had us going to and fro with frenzy were the geometric heels. Obviously Salvatore Ferragamo always produced the best of the best when it comes to shoes(it was the core of the brand after all), but this time we were absolutely blown out of proportion. The structured heels have got be on everybody's wish-list, and no doubt the brand probably has a waiting list itself. Giornetti and his team deserve a round of applause; a standing ovation even. It astounds us that the brand isn't getting the publicity and hype that it deserves, for staying true to its values and aesthetic. Then again, it is what separates Salvatore Ferragamo from its peers: the thought that not following trends and keeping it simple strengthens the brand image, which is what keeps us minimalists keep coming back for more.

Images via

Is Balmain X H&M Worth the Hype?

It's here. H&M's biggest collaboration yet has just launched at Dubai Mall earlier today to very high demand from impatient buyers willing to get their hands on the pieces at any cost. And what a cost it was. Arriving at Dubai Mall 6 a.m. sharp, we stood as the staff bustled to put the final touches to the launch. Observing from the outside it was clear that this collaboration collection was definitely unlike its predecessors in terms of colour palette, quality, and textures. Olivier Rousteing had done a great job working the Swedish company in presenting an offering that highly resembled the Parisian brand in all aspects.

The amounting enthusiasm from buyers was a good sign: this would be a complete success. An important detail that the management neglected is the lengths people were willing to go to just to get a piece from the collection. A crowd was waiting at the entrance of the mall, which was closed off, and did not allow anyone to enter the mall. Initially staff told us and a few others to go stand where the others were waiting, but it was too much of a risk we were unwilling to take; the reason being our fear of being trampled on, and the fact that our early arrival would be all for nothing if we joined the crowd. Eventually they gave up trying to get us to go there and distributed a blue wrist-band to everyone standing in front of the store, based on the fact that we arrived early. 

In a few minutes the cue was packed with buyers throwing tantrums and complaining that nothing about the launch was fair, topped off with the crowd's push and shove tactics as soon as security was lined up to let the first batch in at 8 am sharp. In the process of us getting inside, we were pulled from every direction and had to exert a great amount of force just to depart the crowd and grab whatever we could get out hands on in 5 minutes. What ensued after that was beyond chaotic and quite uncivilised, as the screams increased and the breakdowns that saw no end were absolutely terrifying.

It seems that Olivier Rousteing's social media tactics have paid off in all its glory. People around the world have compromised social morals and their own well-being just to satisfy needs triggered by supermodels and a clever designer who managed to break the internet. It got us thinking: was it worth standing in line for hours only to get a few pieces? Eventually if H&M does not meet demand for next collections, it'll repel their customers and this "exclusive" strategy they have come up with will backfire for sure. If all the H&M designer collaboration collections are going to go through the same process, we'd not be in my right minds to go stand in the cue as we did so today. 

The New Era of Russian Fashion

"Haute couture consists of secrets whispered from generation to generation. If, in ready-to-wear, a garment is manufactured according to standard sizes, the haute couture garment adapts to any imperfection in order to eliminate it,” said the late Parisian designer Yves Saint Laurent. And of course, it was the secrets of a modern Tsarina decorated in black lace and military coats that had our attention: it was the first time we’ve laid eyes on Ulyana Sergeenko’s debut couture collection that we experienced our first encounter with the work of a Russian fashion designer. The impeccable workmanship and niche style of Sergeenko’s namesake label left us with a good impression. It got us thinking, was there more to Russian fashion than we took care to discover?

Ulyana Sergeenko during Paris Fashion Week

Ulyana Sergeenko during Paris Fashion Week

Although fashion in Russia is limited compared to other countries, several female figures in the industry began to prove the presumed idea of Russian fashion was not as it seemed. But it was the chic quartet that first caught the attention of streetstyle photographers like Tommy Ton and Phil Oh during Paris Fashion Week. Miroslava Duma, Ulyana Sergeenko, Vika Gazinskaya and Elena Perminova were in the forefront of it all, empowering Russian fashion and setting the standards as they should be. Deemed as “The Russian Fashion Pack” or “The Czarinas”, these women have established their presence at Paris as a force to be reckoned with. So given the fact that Miroslava Duma usually adorns her petite physique with pieces by upcoming designers like Vyshyvanka by Vita Kin, it's safe to say that Russian designers are getting the publicity that they need. Thanks to a few streetstyle photos taken at Paris Fashion Week of Miroslava Duma wearing a yellow folk-inspired coat by Vyshyvanka, and that ensued in the Russian label stocking up at several retailers, such as Net-a-Porter. 

Both evolution and innovation form the basis of the fashion process. You can’t go without your native country’s culture and you can’t go without new ideas - the main thing is to combine them in a proper way.

So it brings us to the core of this issue: the change in Russian style amongst fashion figures, and most importantly the change in aesthetic for most Russian designers. The shift marks a modification in design techniques that are conducted by household names like Alexander Terekhov and Vilshenko. In an interview with Alena Akhmadullina about the new Russian aesthetic, the designer said: "Young designers are in love with the Russian culture, and often use Russian costumes, history and literature as references for their collections, and all of this is combined with a passion for luxury, abundance of textures, and colour combinations". Indeed, these past few years have seen an intense increase in embroidered gowns, different fabrics mixed together, graphics; you name it. Collections have become more versatile and diverse, if not impeccable. Not to mention that each designer on the scale of Russian fashion has developed their own style without sacrificing traditional touches: the demure babushka, the oligarch who loves luxury, and the working class girl who prefers to go about her day in practical clothing. Having that said, there's definitely room for growth in the Russian fashion industry, and the potential to be a fashion capital equal to the rest. According to a famous Russian proverb: "With a helper, a thousand things are possible".

Mansur Gavriel Fall/Winter 2015: Floral Shower

It's a cat fight of extreme proportions when it comes to purchasing a Mansur Gavriel bag online when they relaunch, which happens what feels like once in a lifetime. And when it does nearly all of the bags are immediately sold out, leading to a lot of customer dissatisfaction and inevitably repelling them in one way or the other. But it seems that the team behind the New-York based label are working hard to meet the demand for their bags, especially the classic bucket bags. 

Yet again this season Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel present an evermore lovely collection of bags, introducing new colourful models that are sure to garner more attention than previous ones. The campaign is quite the opposite of the season's theme consisting of the usual dark colour palette, but instead decided to channel a garden with a feast of flowers. It's actually a great reflection of their bags, which are casual but also elegant thanks to their clean cuts and Tuscan leather. We're expecting a great expansion from the New-York based duo, and a lot more bucket bags to fawn over!