Ria Keburia: Neonaneon

Ria Keburia’s Spring-Summer 2016 collection was presented not at the main venue of MBFW Russia, but at the gorgeous Tiflissky Dvorik, a courtyard-restaurant that brings part of old Tbilisi to the centre of Moscow, complete with typical balconies and vines. A podium was improvised in the middle of the courtyard, by way of a pointy 8-shape which was drawn on the ground in fluorescent yellow and was surrounded by chairs for the guests, among them the legendary James Goldstein in a dashing glitter jacket.

Genderless aerobic attire

The collection, called Neonaneon, is inspired by the gymnastics culture (fizkultura) from the Soviet era, stadium attire and the Olympic games that were held in Moscow in 1980. For months Ria’s instagram showed the gradual evolution of nostalgic memories of uniform sportswear, supershort shorts and geometric shapes in base colors into a contemporary ready-to-wear collection with accessories done in collaboration with other Russian designers, such as the customised Vans sneakers by Roman Ermakov -who also designed all the prints for the collection- and the caps by Yulia Makarova. Models speed-walked over the runway at an unusually high pace in comparison to the other shows in Moscow, while in the background a remix of New Order’s hit “Blue Monday” was playing, creating that specific 80ies aerobics vibe. Regardless of its nostalgic inspirations, Ria made these memories fit for the future, for example by creating silhouettes broken up by star-shapes, steering away from using base colors exclusively and presenting gender-neutral garments.

Clutches in the form of Olympic throwing discs

We were very much looking forward to this show, as Ria is one of the few designers presenting at MBFW Russia that take a more conceptual and artistic approach to fashion. The Russian blog Buro 24/7 once even went so far as to state that she was one of the few truely innovative designers of Russia Fashion Week. But regardless of her conceptual approach, her work is always beautiful in its own right, and despite the fact that she is less focussed on making popular, wearable things, the accessories created by her in collaboration with other designers are quite succesful. This fashion week we even spotted a pair of sunglasses from her collaboration with the brand Fakoshima, which was released last spring, on the front row. And what about the clutches in the form of Olympic throwing-discs, featured in this season’s collection? We for one, are looking forward to the surprises of next season.

Headerphoto from the lookbook of Ria Keburia.