Aurora Fashion Week, May 17-23, in St. Petersburg is the latest addition to Russia’s fashion calendar. One might think that with Defilé on the Neva, in St. Petersburg for 10 years, two similar Moscow events and a series of smaller provincial shows, there would be no space left for another one; yet organizers were convinced that the new fashion show could become an important avenue for promoting young, upcoming Russian designers not only in their motherland but also abroad.

Subsequently, the event gained even the patronage of the Russian Ministry of Culture and St. Petersburg’s regional government. The program was mixed, catering to a professional audience as well as fashion followers, with its catwalk shows, showroom and boutique presentations, workshops and conferences, films on the history of fashion, books launches, exhibitions of vintage dresses from the ’60s and of Boucheron jewelry, and plenty of pre- and after-parties.

In all, organizers hoped the show would help attract more attention to St. Petersburg and strengthen its presence on an international scale.

“Now the city is recognized as a cultural capital of Russia, rich with historic and artistic traditions, but it has much unrealized potential, especially in creativity and design,” said Artem Balaev, producer of Aurora Fashion Week. “We want to attract the attention of the international fashion community to the city and to its creative potential. The choice of May is not very conventional in the fashion calendar, but we wanted to invite our international guests to see the best of our city, in the period of white nights. The next show will take place in October and in the future we think to move the spring one earlier, to comply with a usual fashion weeks time table,” he added.

The catwalk show program included such acclaimed international designers as Bernhard Willhelm, Manish Arora, David Koma, Mary Katrantzou, Chari and promising Russian ones including Leonid Alexeev, Viva Vox, Arsenicum, Poustovit and Biryukov. The business program for young designers included a workshop by Ronald Denis of Global Fashion Management entitled “How to develop your brand in Europe and internationally,” while the roundtable organized by the Italian firm of Società Italia together with the fashion industry association Federmoda, “Russian Design and Made in Italy – A Comparison,” discussed the various options available to designers for producing their collections in Italy.