Swathes of Barbie pink fabric, post-Soviet freedom and a penchant for leather-clad motorcycle riders, altogether seem an unlikely list of starting points for a designer, yet it is a list which has culminated in one of the most relevant collections of the season so far. In a matter of years M I S B H V, under the leadership of Polish designer Natalia Maczek has made the jump from exclusive yet small t-shirt company to one of the most talked about showings at New York Fashion Week.
Like many of the most successful designers in history Maczek is bridging the gap between high fashion and so-called “street style”, and elevating the second-hand uniform of ravers to something a little more refined. While it may not have mass appeal – and really, why should it? – M I S B H V is capturing the very essence of current culture. Bulky leather pieces look set to become brand classics and even if PVC cargo pants don’t sound great on paper, the real thing is a whole other story.
The trajectory to international fame can’t be hindered by a collaboration with Instagram mega-star Sita Abellan, who encompasses the no-fucks-given attitude of M I S B H V. The blue haired model/muse/DJ inspired and helped create a number of items in the collection, including a kimono which she wore to the show, cementing a juicy 5000+ Instagram likes for the brand.
Although Maczek’s own skills are undoubted it would be impossible to talk about this collection without at least a nod to the likes of Gosha Rubchinskiy, Lotta Volkova and Demna Gvaslia who have brought Eastern European styles of dress to the mainstream, and we have a lot to thank them for. No longer confined to the memories of the first generation to grow up after the collapse of the Iron Curtain, elements from the Post-Soviet look are being seen all over the place, in puffa jackets, stonewashed denim and exaggerated proportions.
Walk ten paces in any young, artistic neighborhood and you’ll notice the good taste/bad taste, cool/ugly irony of Eastern European dressing. Five years ago diamanté was limited to school discos, now it’s everywhere. Balenciaga under Gvasalia is more exciting than it has been since the Ghesquière days. You’ll certainly recognise some of the Post-Soviet DNA in M I S B H V’s designs, particularly when it comes to proportions. Arms are lengthened with exaggerated sleeves, tops and jackets are cropped the clothes are voluminous and tent-like on the model. It’s a recipe that has worked well for the others, and what with the celebrity attention already garnered is bound to serve M I S B H V equally well in the future. Like it or not, things worn by Rihanna don’t tend to do badly.