VALENTIN YUDASHKIN AUTUMN/WINTER 2015-16 READY-TO-WEAR PARIS FASHION WEEK
Given the volatility of the ruble, you’d assume Russian designer Valentin Yudashkin might feel compelled to play things safe. And if you were to evaluate this latest offering solely on the first eight looks, you’d be correct. While the vaguely ’70s progression from a red velvet suit to a hunter green leather shirtdress was hardly basic, it gave an early impression that Yudashkin was reining himself in. Surprise! Before even reaching the halfway point, the designer boomeranged back to his usual OTT showmanship, whereby a basic men’s trouser looked gold-plated and zippered sweatshirts became baroque confections.
As it turned out, this was just a lead-up to dresses that interpreted the legendary Amber Room, a chamber composed of amber, gold, and mirrors that dates back to early-18th-century Prussia and was destroyed during World War II. First, Yudashkin showed panels of trompe l’oeil patterning in intensely glowing orange followed by gowns that incorporated holographic tiling, antler-shaped appliqués, double layers of embroidery for dimension impact, and feathers for extra volume. Imagine cabaret costumes for czarinas and you get the idea; they were spectacular even while registering as stubbornly excessive. Yudashkin is akin to a Russian Bill Blass, which is to say, his clients are a rarefied bunch with active social diaries that demand his creations. But even if this never changes, his more-is-more approach feels less and less modern.