A racy 10 min taxi ride takes us from Moscow’s main Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia venue near the Red Square past a series of grand old hotels, government buildings and department stores down to the Moskva. Somewhere across from Gorky Park our driver pulls into the driveway of a residential estate. We jump out to walk the last bit by foot until we arrive at Yasya Minochkina’s showroom through an unassuming courtyard.
Minochkina, probably in her late thirties, is originally from Ukraine and moved to Moscow to set up her own fashion label here. She has followed courses at London’s Central Saint Martins and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. Her now established womenswear brand combines feminine elegance with a casually playful attitude. ‘I actually had to become a bit more formal, more sexy with this collection’, she insists, ‘that’s what my clients want. But I’m still including some practical pieces that can be worn both day and night.’ She looks up to strong female figures. Portraits of Frida Kahlo and Marlene Dietrich are pinned to a board next to the clothes rails. ‘I’ve also been inspired by the colour palettes of a trip to Spain,’ she describes, holding up a long red cocktail dress, ‘and Flamenco.’
In her Autumn/Winter 2016 collection Minochkina combines natural materials like wool with synthetics such as gold foil in a strong, warm colour palette. The largely ready-to-wear collection is complemented by a few handmade couture pieces. A lot of the fabrics are original designs and she’s given a lot of attention to high quality in fabrication. The embroidery is done in Italy, the final garments produced in Ukraine. Having a network of friends who were able to afford her garments has helped her establish a profitable brand from he first collection onwards. By now she’s well rooted in the Eastern European Market with 17 shops in Russia and Ukraine. So what’s next? ‘I want to break into the French market before anything else, before Dubai even, although they keep inviting me there.’ Yasya a businesswoman and a creative to equal degrees.