Camera bulbs flashing, photographers yelling in semi-unpronounceable Czech ‘turn left, turn right, GREAT’! This was the scene last Friday night as the pretty people of the Czech Republic made their way into the main building of Galerie Manes for the 8thannual Shooting Fashion Stars show.
As we all patiently filed in and waited in the drinks line- many spoke about the upcoming show, what would be different this year, who expected which designer to do well/to fail. There was palpable excitement in the room as the lights dimmed and the first sound of music started pumping through the surround-sound as the show- very well choreographed started with Ivana Kaňovská, Petra Pluháčková, La Formela, Hana Frišonsová, and special guest Jakub Polanka.
After the lights and make-up faded the ‘Showroom’ concept began. Saturday and Sunday offered the public a chance to discover the emerging, young talent that resides in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. If you were ever curious to know who is The Next Big Thing– there would be no need to book a flight to Paris or London- you only needed to come here. Our usual favorites, ones that I have discussed in depth were there- Zuzana Veselá, Zuzana Kubíčková, Mirka Talavašková, 7dub, Sistersconspiracy, Zdenka Imreczeová– offered beautifully constructed collections with focus on organic materials, classic shapes and lines with designs that were not only wearable but also reasonable.
A beautiful , cotton tunic with leather belt from Zuzana Vesela was 1900CZK, 7dub had organic skirts for CZK, Sistersconspiracy brought their men’s collection with a casual toggled jacked for 3400CZK, Zuzana Kubickova’s silk peony colored dress is at an affordable 5,000CZK.
There were also new and notable talent that, should it not be discussed would be a mistake- with burgeoning talent coming out of Liberec, Bratislava, and the Usti design school rivals that of any fashion obsessed country-credit should be given where credit is due:
La Formela– the design team trio do everything together- work together, live together, create together and even studied together. Their Spring/Summer 2012 was quite a departure from what they are known for- bright colors are patterns. Some designers, going so far from their comfort zones, would have stumbled- it’s not easy to change a formula that has worked in the past- but the execution of the La Formela team was that of seasoned pro’s. The collection focused on basic elements-feathers- each individual sewn into leather, dresses which were made of a combination of a spandex base with silk overlay (raw seams included) and silk trousers that were full of movement. The creation would have been wonderful by itself- but as an added touch to their ‘Raven’s Flight’ theme, the trio added silk material in an accordion pleat to the sleeves which created a cape. Edgar Allen Poe could not have picked better colors- the palette dark- offered up sedated colors of black, blue-grey, white – and yet- there was a sense of awakening- the idea of flying to some far off land (capes, feathers, fluid movement of the fabric chosen) all created constraints that seemed could be broken if you only had enough room to fly away.
Theirs was a collection that was not only wearable for everyday but also trend setting for the Czech Republic. And yes, their showroom appointment has already been booked.
Muset– the husband and wife design team who were a stand out at Designblok Dreft fashion week brought their candy colored dreams collection (to read about the review click here) to the masses for the showroom event. Speaking to Pavel, he explained that fashion will be getting back to the original ideas of fabric design and technology. Archives are important to Muset- reincarnating a technique called “Modrotisk”- a traditional indigo dying technique that was famously used in Southern Moravaian folklore dress and subsequently was sent to Paris to be used as designs at the turn of the 20th Century. The beautiful blue that is created with this 1923 archived pattern seems to only get better with time, a little love, and a spark for bringing back “true heritage”.
Petra Ptáčková– Petra is still a bit of a new comer on the scene though I don’t think she will be able to hide for much longer. The designer, who is currently studying at the Couture school in Paris, has been busy building her fashion resume to include fashion shows both in the Czech Republic and France. Her cuts are girly and feminine and yet- have a masculine touch that is barely identifiable. Beautiful clothes!
Natalie Steklova– colors smash and collide at this reworked collection. Vibrant, in your face patterns break through ‘fashion’s barriers’ to show liberation of fresh ideas and designs. This designer’s duds are not for the fashion shy- wearing a beautifully constructed silk maxi dresses in outlandish colors will mean that you will definitely be seen.
Kateřina Geislerová– ‘Parisian design’ is certainly what one thinks of when they look at Katerina’s collections. Her styles and silhouettes are simple- but don’t assume that this means without craft, transformation, or skill. It’s easy, really, to design a crazy pair of pants, it is, something else to design clothing that has the perfect inseam, length and waist combination. Don’t believe me- ask any department store buyer. The colors of Ms. Geislerova’s collection are that of the subdued- navy, red, tan, ochre- all colors which are classic maintaining the idea that her collection is one to stand the test of time.
The open lighting that Gallerie Manes bestows to those who use the space well was only a benefit to the designer showroom. The white walls only served as a canvas with the clothing creating the picture- classic, refined, and museum quality- could not be kept on the racks as shopper after eager shopper ran to the fitting rooms for a taste of luxury. Each collection was truly extraordinary- the execution – from print, material, to silhouette- showed a dedication to an art form that many people believe is used to only cover ourselves from prying eyes. There are talks that this design showroom will open in September and I desperately hope that this is true. Of course, if you can’t wait until September you can always give the showroom a call and head there yourself- it’s open to the public should you make an appointment.