Tigran Avetisyan is one of the most prolific new talents in menswear to come out of the new east. He graduated from London’s Central St Martins in 2012 with an LVHM scholarship, and his final collection attracted the attention of international press and buyers. After moving back to Moscow he set up his eponymous label, now on its fourth collection. In a special project shot exclusively for The Calvert Journal by Masha Demianova and styled by Emelie Hultqvist, Avetisyan’s new Best Hits collection is shot at Moscow’s famous sights, evoking an atmosphere that’s somewhere between tourist snaps and old Soviet postcards.
In the past Avetisyan worked with strong textures and voluminous shapes to reinvent the conservative menswear silhouette. The Best Hits collection challenges conventions in menswear but in a different way: through tight silhouettes, strange proportions and the use of bold colours and prints usually reserved for women.
“The main idea behind the collection was based on a well known premise — sex sells. I was looking at brands that communicate their collections by means of erotic imagery,” explains Tigran. The over-the-top sexual message, he found, exists not just in the fashion world but in the day-to-day life of the Russian capital: “The collection was influenced by women I encountered on the metro everyday while travelling to and from work,” he adds.
The abundance of conflicting animal prints and colours like red and fuchsia is a recognisable feature of Moscow ladies. Reworking their outfits for the catwalk, Avetisyan is also toying with the idea of bad taste (the collection even features a Juicy Couture-style bum print). “Bad taste is a natural reaction to physiological or psychological trauma. It is overcompensation, often caused by the deficit of something required or expected. This is maybe why Russian women used to dress in an overtly sexual manner, as fashion was non-existent in the Soviet Union, and talking openly about sex was reprehensible,” he says.
Tigran remains faithful to his ironic take on the fashion industry and his surroundings (remember the negative slogans from his graduation collection and the fake perfume ad). When asked what’s the style of Moscow these days he replies: “There is no style. Anything goes”.