ALMATY: A fashion designer, Ms. Azikhan has showcased her spring 2007 collection of extravagant mink-trimmed velour jackets and Swarovski-encrusted dresses at the Kazakhstan Fashion Week started here on November 22.
In the last decade, Almaty, has become a designer mecca with multi-brand stores selling Prada, Chloé and Giorgio Armani, while the designer has opened her first boutique last year, hoping her line will inspire the wives of local oil barons and metals magnates to give up imports like Chanel and Versace.
Ms. Azikhan also pointed out that any rich woman can buy a Dior dress, and then she goes to a party and her friend is wearing exactly the same gown as when a woman buys a dress at my boutique, we can make it exclusive for her by tailoring the length, the sleeves or the neckline.
Recently she was in New York last week to show her extravagant mink-trimmed velour jackets and Swarovski-encrusted dresses, part of a cultural effort sponsored by her government to demonstrate that Kazakhstan is not the primitive backwater now synonymous with Borat.
The event, which originated in 1999 to showcase European designers, rebranded itself in 2004 to highlight local talent. This year there are 40 shows, among them 28 Kazakh designers.
Anna Kuzembayeva, a producer of the Kazakh collections said that our own designers are making stylish high-quality clothes.
Zhanna Safina, who owns Bureau 1985, the Almaty equivalent of Colette in Paris, said that among the Kazakh elite, taste is shifting.
Still, labels that say “Made in Kazakhstan” are reserved for special occasions, even among designers who make them.