February 13, 2005
Just when American and Western European designers are turning to Russia for inspiration, who should come in from the cold but a couple of designers from Moscow? Ironically, the Nina Donis pair represents the polar opposite of the babushka and Anna Karenina fantasies of fashion folk. They arrived on the London runway armed with an invigoratingly chic-looking blast of realism that, within a few exits, had the audience sitting at attention. No crushed-velvet dirndls or fur-lined brocades here: Instead these two have taken a look at the streets of modern Moscow and come up with a creative fusion of garments that address the twenty-first century in an imaginatively practical way.http://www.fridakahlo.com/bio.shtml
"I go out on the streets of Moscow and look at how people dress to keep out the cold, layering on all the clothes they have. The less they try to look good, the more interesting they look," said Donis Pouppis, who designs with his partner, Nina Neretina. That explains the thought process behind the surprisingly elegant forms the pair created, say, a raincoat made into a dress, with a fringed scarf embedded in the side, or a puffer coat, with a silky raincoat creating a drapey volume on the back. These kinds of transpositions have been the stock in trade of Martin Margiela and Jean Paul Gaultier for years. But there's something new-generation about the way the Nina Donis duo upgrades the shapes of urban streetwear, like tracksuits and down jackets, with traditional tailoring fabrics, and turns it all to the very Russian point of making a young woman look good. With great items like narrow skirts in menswear fabrics and smart gray tailored denim, this was an accomplished collection from a rare pair of designers who are transmitting a jolt of excitement about contemporary dressing.