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Bold Colours, Fresh Prints: Kazakhstan Fashion Week 2012

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By: Hina P. Ansari

At Kazakhstan Fashion Week, tradition, modernity and global essence are combined to create a visually stunning Fall/Winter 2012 season.

Held in Almaty, Kazakhstan we have honed on key designers who we feel really made a unique fashion statement.

SLIDESHOW: LOOKS OF THE RUNWAY

SWEET DREAM Svetlana Kushnerova presents a collection that's full of whimsy. With an array of eye-catching colour combinations -- most notably gray and sharp yellow and eye-popping red with deep blue -- Sweet Dream is a dreamy fashionable journey which possesses an interesting play on colour, texture and cool cuts which are strategically placed. An interesting mix of fabrics, from cool cottons to seductive silks, buoys the slightly sporty-esque silhouette.

INSIDEOUT

Alexey Chzhen, who is a noted designer and stylist, brings forth his collection, which includes hard-to-miss blasts of orange, yellow with sharp angles and alluring fabrics. The modernity of this collection is punctuated by noteworthy combinations of leather-esque kimono belted tops and flowy skirts. With interesting detailed touches throughout, including exposed zippers which creates another fabulous angle, Insideout gives the fashion runways of Almaty the much-needed edge that it deserves.

KETI CHHKIKVADZE

This Georgian designer who also shows in Paris presents a cool flirty style. With a cool gold maple leaf motif glittering on a unique black canvas, this collection shows that there is no limit to prints on prints on prints. Embracing a leopard/cheetah motif doubled with various fur pieces, the Keti Chhkikvadze collection mixes heritage with contemporary and adds a sense of mystery in various ways on the runway. The eye-catching yellow and black houndstooth inspired maxi-dress needs to be part of my own wardrobe!

YERLAN ZHOLDASBEK

This designer took us on a voyage with a "Bombay-Paris 1930s" inspired collection. With a backdrop of oriental music and motifs from Uzbekistan, Zholdasbek proudly displayed an array of gold and silver sequined treatments of tank dresses and cute bomber jackets. It's fun and flirty combined with an unexpected mix of fabric and silhouettes, which unreservedly brings forth a touch of glam and shine, gently and forcefully alluding to a hint of a rock n' roll aura.

AIDA KAUMENOVA

This local designer, hailing from Almaty itself, has been designing for the past five years and represents the new guard of Kazakhstan's fashion scene. Also inspired by the east, this collection has an incredible array of prints coupled with billowing silhouettes both calling to the Maharaja days of royalty. The combination of flowy fabrics and printed overlays both mixed with unique neckpieces and jeweled head pieces clearly evoke a majestic feel, a look that would be heartily embraced by the regal players of India's palatial grounds. Of course, not missing the urban-beat, Kaumenova also presents a playful print palette, which can be coupled with a sharp blazer as seen in the gorgeous purple number satisfying the cosmopolitan chic in today's urban fashion dweller.

ALEXANDER GUSAROV

Only 22 years of age, this London-based ex-pat returned home to showcase his Fall/Winter 2012 collection. Gusarov whose main design expertise is firmly grounded with his menswear collection which is often hailed by international power players and politicos who revere him to be one of the best. His take on the female form gives off an aristocratic vibe, something that can easily be pictured at country club soirees across Europe and beyond. In varying degrees of soft pink and beige, this collection shows off a chic posh flavour which can easily be seen on the racks of the savvy fashionista of Kazakhstan or on fifth Avenue in New York for that matter.

AYA BAPANI

She debuted her first collection six months ago and now is back and relishing in the theatre of the runway. Combining Kazakhstan motifs including the riveting horned masks with intricate collection of amazing embroidered work she gently balances between the worlds of heritage and haute couture. Also similar to those found in India, another east meets east mindset takes hold. Stunners in her technique include the incredible batik approach to her gowns which also carefully utilizes felt, another traditional element to her designs. Coupled with various layering of chiffon and tulle, finessed by the elbow length fingerless leather gloves, Bapani clearly can give any global red carpet a touch of Kazakhstan glory.

KRAVETS

For designer Mikhail Kravets who was schooled in Almaty, designing was in his destiny. With his last name being Polish for "tailor" it's no wonder that Mikhail's collection showcases impressive talent for the cut and drape. Inspired by the opera "Madama Butterfly," his collection paraded down the runway with various arias, including a live performance from Russian opera singer Renata Talypovoy, creating the unmistakable ambience of operatic proportions. Various traditional Japanese motifs graced one piece after another. One can't even help but notice the incredible silhouettes which came to fruition from under multiple voluminous layers which proved to be showstoppers in their own right. This is definitely not for the fashionably faint of heart. Only the fearless can truly appreciate this work which includes origami treatment of the fabrics all in all proving that Mikhail could easily be spotted on the runways of Paris.

LA RIYA

Equestrian-chic takes hold in this fun and playful collection. With liberal use of shots of shades of red and yellow, designer Sherniyazov brings forth an urban cool collection which gives a polo-esque prim and proper shout out. With interesting jumper silhouettes, the use of prints in this collection can easily be seen as a day into night transition. Once the equestrian in all of us leaves the polo match, the evening can be seen in a glimmering array of fabulous off the shoulder cuts and sexy draping.

SALTA

From model and designer Saltanat Baymukhamedova, this collection to me, harkens to the thickest of vintage James Bond plots, or even a very chic "Lara" from Dr. Zhivago. This presentation could easily give any Bond Girl a run for her money, with this super-cool avant-garde approach to the 1960s silhouette. Fantastical treatment of puffy vests, solid colours, super cool shades, makes me yearn for multiple pieces for my wardrobe. Of course, I must mention the heritage hauteness of the "babushka" style headscarves which adorned the fabulous wigs, adding just another Zhivago-esque level of fabulousness. And the shoes? Why, Salta of course!

Photography by Tolegen Bekmuhamedov courtesy of TheLook.ru

SLIDESHOW: LOOKS OF THE RUNWAY

A Runway to Remember
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