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Spring has finally roused the fashion industry: all of a sudden numerous Moscow galleries and podiums were engulfed with most interesting shows and exhibitions. Due to such frenzied activity and the frenetic pace of events (e.g. countless theme parties) it was virtually impossible to see everything at once: one had to face a hard choice and limit himself to the most exquisite treats.

The “Fashion observer day” opened with a joint Dutch art designers’ show in the Marriott Hotel. A florist, a shoemaker and a dress designer set up a colorful 2-hour spectacle that could be defined only as ‘healthy eclecticism’. The finale apogee was marked by a special feast where all food was made of live flowers. The atmosphere of both artificial and abundant Eighties, mixed with a faint residue of punk and former heroin chic, infused the conservative banquet hall.

Now to the 2nd International Festival “Fashion and style in photography” that has just ended in Moscow. This densely packed, tight scheduled project covered a considerable number of the capital’s finest galleries. The stylistic spectrum of art-photo works was quite impressive: from some retro relicts to the true supernovas in the field.

I managed to visit the opening of the exhibition that took place in the Museum of Contemporary Russian History and encompassed different art projects presented by various illustrated magazines: Entourage/ Artchronika/ Afisha/ Bourgeoisia/ Domovoy/ Dorogoy/ Kak Potratit/ Kult Lichnostey/ Mezzanine/ Ptyuch/ Taburet/ Bikini/ Cosmopolitan/ Design Illustrated/ Elle/ Fashion Look/ Fashion Guide/ GQ/ Harper’s Bazaar/ l’Officiel/ Marie Claire/ NRG/ Playboy/ Premier/ Vogue. A fashion magazine is one of the quickest and most effective tools for fixating modern aesthetics. The hottest photographers showed their most recent works, made for these editions.

The opening… the exposition was in a half-assembled state, many exhibits had not yet been hung or installed and the work went on amid curious visitors helping themselves to free cognac. The liveliness of the whole process and the ever-changing surroundings added some conceptual aspect to the action. Yet, despite the overall superprofessionalism of the artists, one could spot a number of quite typical and “obsolete” themes, technologies and forms involved. Still there were truly original series.

a) The “White” series reflected the variations of color in different forms that bear the concept of “whiteness” in their very essence. A mix of medical instruments, various accessories and odd-shaped objects created a full-scale illusion of the albino world.

b) A construction, imitating virtual reality or a cabin for viewing erotic images, attracted a multitude of visitors, involving them into a game. The cube-shaped frame, covered with cloth having some nude photos on it, contained a special seat within. Once inside, the curious viewer gradually merged with the installation that was lightly shaken by the torrents of air.

c) The “Transparence” series depicted jelly photographed against intense light. The jelly-models made on a special request from a renowned stylist by one of the best chefs in Moscow had been inserted into elaborate crystal jars. Such nonstandard approach to presenting an object and a totally unusual angle of photographing converted the gastronomic masterpieces into some sci-fi alien symbols.

d) “The Moon Sonata” – elegiac installations. Small crystal trinkets, cigarette paper and the cold piercing light of the neon lamps were moving beauty on a new – postreal – level…

This is but the least part of all that I saw: the exhibition was absolutely fascinating and extremely impressive.

The last stop for that evening was the James boutique: a place combining exhibition hall, library, bar and, of course, the store itself. The Spoon magazine presentation was accompanied by a fashion-photo exhibition that once again confirmed the tendency of returning to the Eighties, yet with some extensive use of modern technologies.

Text: Sergey Safonoff from Neomega

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