Review: Prague’s weeks of fashion
There’s more to come, and that’s good
For a fortnight, tents across the city have held up for scrutiny the autumn/winter 2012, Resort 2013 and spring/summer 2013 collections at both Prague Fashion Weekend and Dreft Fashion Week, two of three such events vying for the top spot in Prague. With a week’s worth of hindsight to digest and reflect on the parties, catwalk schedules and influential collections, we can now better determine who came out of Prague’s annual fashion top dog (so far).
Czech designers have been known to love futurism and minimalism more than most, sometimes verging on the side of unwearable or just downright bland, but Pavel Brejcha’s autumn/winter 2012 collection turned minimalism on its head with a tonal blue palette that was reminiscent of Calvin Klein. Using fabrics with motion that seemed to sway ever so slightly down the catwalk, “clothes for the modern woman,” as Brejcha has called them, should continue to bolster the career of the designer.
At Dreft Fashion Week, it was Black Card winner Jindra Jansová whose delicate layering of organza created a sophisticated collection that is far beyond her young years as a designer. The autumn/winter cuts went with the oversized coat and jacket trend, but did so in a way that still allowed the wearers to maintain “womanly” shapes. Another minimalist standout was Lenka Štěpánková, who blended silks and leather to create a very tough female persona by using mostly grays and blacks with pops of tangerine orange: The collection certainly set her apart from her other design counterparts.
Finally, Czech minimalism was done right.
The mix-up du jour of bold, bright colors and patterns came from the spring/summer 2013 collection of Dreft Fashion Week darling Alexandre Herchcovitch, which mixed mad-hatter and Boy George in seamless harmony. Checkered suits, blouses and skirts were paired with plaid trousers or oversized jackets, while clutches incorporated smiley faces à la Forrest Gump or safety-pins in a heart design. Quirky? A bit. Facetious and jovial? Absolutely.
Prague Fashion Weekend was not without color or crazy patterns, either: The Berlin-based designer Marcel Ostertag used tangerine orange, bordeaux and cherry red in silks, satins and lace to create a spring/summer 2013 line that was easy and clear. The silhouettes were feminine, allowing a small waist to take precedence over everything else. The designer, who opened up his own show by donning a red, silk chiffon number, was the epitome of grace as he sauntered down the runway.
La Formela, the spectacular design trio, went with “Good News from the Far East Palace” in a nod to Chinese artist Zou Fana for spring/summer 2013. Invoking psychedelic Chinese gardens by mixing lady bugs and koi fish with backdrop colors of bubblegum pink, lime green and marigold yellow seemed so effortless that is was easy to forget just how young the design team is. There were sheer blouses in black mixed with printed high-waist trousers, halter dresses with just a border hem of printed gardens, or a fully printed trench coat which would undoubtedly make for perfect outerwear in spring’s fussy weather. The color harmony, which is so often out of place with Czech designers, was executed by a La Formela team living in a minimalist world that was able to overcome those barriers in one fell swoop.
Of course, the young talent that is emerging on the local fashion scene will determine whether or not the industry is propelled forward or pushed back. In both fashion weeks, the organizers painstakingly picked budding talent whose accolades would eventually be far-reaching.
The Awkward Collection by Lucie Jelínková and Monika Nováková was one such budding talent that debuted two collections of varying tastes at Prague Fashion Weekend and Dreft Fashion Week. At PFW, it was the dinosaur shoes that won the type of recognition normally saved for celebrities. The collection of Velociraptors and T-Rex footwear in various colors were meant to create “memories of childhood, when we discover the world through color, Lego figures and plastic dinosaurs,” explains the design duo behind the collection. At Dreft Fashion Week, it was their collection of sheer silk blouses and dresses with the drizzling of silicone to create a bodice, military details, accessories and shoes that were the scene stealers.
In the end, Prague Fashion Weekend and Dreft Fashion Week will each have to decide whether to show autumn/winter or spring/summer collections for the 2013 edition of these events. Cannibalizing each other in an event to win “September” is silly and won’t necessarily allow the fashion weeks to grow and garner the type of attention each are aiming for, i.e. international press and buyers.
The heavy hitters, like Dreft Fashion Week’s Alexandre Herchcovitch and Prague Fashion Weekend’s Marcel Ostertag, Avtandil and Zofie Angelic set good benchmarks and should certainly help in driving hype for all future fashion week events. One can only speculate that in the coming years Prague will liken itself to Berlin and, perhaps one day, surpass it.
* This article first appeared in the October 3rd edition of the Prague Post*