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A Tucked Away Pleasure: Parazit

Hidden down the busy street of Karlova right off Old Town square sits Czech design shop Parazit. It’s a small, cramped space filled to the brim with both established and emerging design talent. Word to the wise, if you can get past the bric-a-brac look from the outside you’ll find a treasure trove inside.

Parazit is one of the best shops in Prague to buy Czech designed good and also happens to sell them at a reasonable mark up that caters more to the Czech wallet than to the foreign one. What does that mean for you? Well, in short you aren’t going to be ripped off and pay an ungodly amount of money.

So what makes this store so great? For starters, designers sell there; trust me this is a rarity in Prague. This also means that new goods are in a revolving door state. “I have asymmetrical tunics there,” says Czech womenswear designer Zuzana Vesela, “and I am constantly needing to make new ones to sell to the shop. They can’t keep them in stock.” Zuzana Vesela isn’t alone, Eva, the owner of Parazit tells me that besides Zuzana Vesela her books and porcelain pieces are constantly being purchased by tourists; mainly from Asia.

Czech made dresses during a recent trip to the store

A treasure trove of original Czech fashion

There are pieces at the store that are hard to find outside of well-know Etsy-look-a-like, Fler.cz, but Eva does her best to make sure that those great artists are stocked. There are over 100 Czech and Slovak designers and students who are here, many of them are exclusive to Parazit and quite a few that have been with her since the beginning.

With Christmas around the corner we suggest you skip Old Town Square and it’s wash of cheap goods and head straight for Parazit instead.

 

 

 

The Woman Behind the Fashion Truck

 

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Words: Madeline Chestnut

Photos: The Fashion Truck Prague Facebook page

Heather Horton is bringing a new idea and approach to the ever growing world of Czech fashion.

The Fashion Truck, was born and inspired by a recent trip to Miami, Florida where she saw an entire street lined with trucks moonlighting as mobile boutiques.

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Upon moving to Prague, Heather travelled to Switzerland using most of her savings to purchase a vintage Mercedes fire truck and make the mobile boutique a reality. As are most Kafkaesque stories, the truck repeatedly broke down before making it out of the city limits of Geneva and it was then that the truck in question was towed back to Prague.

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After what we can only assume would have been a lot of terse words said to the Mercedes, Heather has managed to create a car that not only works, but is a true boutique on wheels. There are hard wood floors, funky wallpaper, curtains, a fitting room and believe it or not, you can actually stand in the truck and browse the selection of clothing available on hangers.

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The truck opened its back doors for business in June at the Náplavka market and Heather is hoping to find a permanent spot there every week where you can find, “conservative clothing with a quirk.” Price points for her imported and hand-made garments are 500czk for shirts to 1000 czk for jackets and dresses.

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The future goal for The Fashion Truck Prague is to have a home base in Prague, while continuing to travel to neighbouring European cities once a month. Eventually, Heather hopes to open a standing boutique in the city centre while maintain the life of the truck on the side.

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You can catch The Fashion Truck Prague August 18-19 at the Pilsen Fashion Days market in Pilsen, Czech Republic. Follow her on Facebook and check out her online store for more information.

Finally a Teenager: 13 Years of Fashion with Designer Kateřina Geislerová

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WORDS: MADELINE CHESNUT

In celebration of 13 years of fashion, runway shows, and collections, Czech designer Kateřina Geislerová had a little celebration to show off her work, where she has come from and where she is going. I popped down to Showroom V Kotcích to take a look. I was impressed and inspired by some  looks, while others were an instant flip through on the rack. While I enjoyed comparing the collections through the ages, I almost enjoyed the stories behind her journey as a designer a bit more.

Kateřina left home when she was 18 for schooling as an interior designer. Her passion for line, shape, color, and textiles was obvious, but her route was not. Down the line a professor saw the potential in Kateřina’s work and steered her away from interior design and into the world of fashion, thinking that it would be a much better fit. This inspiring professor actually purchased Kateřina’s first collection that she made as a designer (insert “awwww” comment). And the rest is history as they say… sorry for the basic girl phrase, but it was fitting.

So, after 13 years, what can be said about the evolution of Kateřina’s work as a designer? A few thing are for sure; she loves her structure, she loves obscure lines, and most evident: she is consistently inspired by menswear.

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This skirt, while obviously not super wearable was a fun tip into the mind of Kateřina because this was one of her early exploration in flirting the with ideas of recreating menswear. Made from men’s trousers, I’m not sure how this would hit the bum in the most flattering way, but still- supper interesting thought.

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And another one. More men’s wear is shown with this long vest. While asking about the Czech market, Kateřina’s publicist explained to me that this piece was very popular with Czech woman because of their sense to wear modest, not, “look at me” clothing.

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Yay we finally have some pattern, folks! While it was few and far between, I will give your eyes some much needed stimulation with a rare splash of pattern and color, but don’t get used to it. It is sure to say that throughout her 13 years, Kateřina will almost always stick with solids.

When asked what words described Kateřina’s inspiration and style, her kind publicist instantly replied with the words, “femininity and structure.” It is clear that Kateřina’s training and eye for interior design both play a role in the construction of her garments.

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I was a bit confused by the comment about femininity and accentuating the female physique after seeing a few too many less-than-flattering pieces that would give a shapeless, lumpy figure to even the slimmest of toothpicks.

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So, what is on the table for year 14? Maybe pink silk and burnt orange? Who really knows, but lets hope that Kateřina Geislerová continues with feminine, flattering lines, and leaves the bags at home.

How to Wear SS16 By Czech Designers

WORDS: Madeline Chesnut

More often than not, the looks coming down the runway, strapped onto size zero little nothings, can be extremely daunting. I often find myself thinking, “who the hell would actually wear that,” or “how would this look transition from the runway to real-life?” Designer’s experimentation can be out there and hard to imagine, but you have to think of these looks as art and self expression- though most of them probably wouldn’t sell in a store. After weeding out the “interesting” designs, I have pulled a handful of my favourite looks from the SS16 Mercedes-Benz Prague Fashion Week shows in the determination to show you that some looks are a lot more achievable than one may think. With a few accessories, one’s imagination can start to rationalise Czech designers and gain the confidence to add a runway look to their wardrobe. Set aside your plain white T and jeans and try something new!

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The first look that grabbed my attention was this rose coloured Odivi maxi dress. I was inspired by the ease that this look has- the “I’m not trying too hard” look, which in reality, took a few hours of readjusting and getting the hair and the makeup just right. Beside that fact, this look could be easily accomplished and would be perfect for a day running around the city, shopping or grabbing coffee. An Olivia Burton watch (one of my personal favourites) would be perfect paired with a slouchy Chloé bag and stylish Adidas trainers.

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Another casual city look that could transition well into every day life is this long cardigan by Monika Drapalova. Perfect for throwing over a basic outfit on a day where you want to hide a bit. Wear with Ancient Greek Sandals, Mui Mui shades, and a Saint Laurent bucket bag to run errands in a comfortable, yet fashionable manner.

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Jakub Polanka helps you pull off the market perusing weekender look with a funky wrap jacket full of colour,  and a striped pattern; an essence of exploration. Pair with Carvel trainers, and an Aspinal of London cuff to add colour and personality. Don’t forget a Tory Burch back pack to tote around a fresh loaf of bread from the farmer’s market or handmade jewellery from an art festival.

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How adorable is this classic, 50’s housewife dress? Finish off the look with a blush Rebecca Minkoff bag, tan brogues by Dune London and an Olivia Burton watch- I told you she is my favourite.

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Did someone say GNO? For those nights when you want to leave your worries behind and get lost in cocktails, good conversation, and bae-watching, make sure to doll yourself up in something short, something black, and something with sass. This ensemble by Michal Kovacik, along with Aquazzura stilettos,  Kendra Scott earrings, and a Valentino clutch is the recipe for a good night.

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Whether you have a hot date or a date with yourself to some extravagant event, this dress by Zuzana Kubickova is sure to be a jaw dropper. This beautifully detailed tea length dress, paired with classic Mary Jane Jimmy Choo’s, a Brunello Cucinelli statement necklace, and an Alexander McQueen clutch is an achievable run way look.

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It’s summer time in the city, so when you are ready to chill out and relax, make sure to slip into a Jakub Polanka tunic, Miu Miu shades, Funky Espadrilles by Steve Madden, and a fedora by Heidi Klein- because no one likes a burnt hair part.

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And when you are dreaming of pool days and sun tans, Katerina Geislerova gives us the look. Be playful as you lounge by the pool in a a fedora by Sara Designs, bright Linda Farrow sunnies, and a Hawaii inspired tote by Kate Spade New York- too cute to take in.

 

Zdenka Imreczeova: Where Basics Are Anything But Boring

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WORDS: Madeline Chesnut

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the opening for Czech designer Zdenka Imareczeova’s new collection. Within minutes of walking through the door to her showroom, I wanted to buy almost everything on the rack. Tank tops, blouses, dresses, skirts, and other items lined the walls and I didn’t know where to start. After playing dress up for about an hour, here are the looks that I can’t stop thinking about.

The basics

FullSizeRender The collection was comprised of great basics that could be worn every day, dressed up or dressed down. Each blouse had an interesting detail, like a tie in the back or ties on the side, and most were made of a jersey knit blend that felt amazingly soft to the touch (personally I loved the micro modal blend). Zdenka said that inspiration for some of the collection- the blouses in general- came from elements seen in menswear, much of which you could see in the structure of the blouses and dresses.

The dresses, oh the dresses.

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The updated LBD you’ve been waiting for.

We can all agree that a black dress is a necessary component to every wardrobe, and this spin of a classic cut with buttons down the front, tailored sleeves, a tie around the waist, and paneling in the front is a chic number. Wear it with flats while grabbing an afternoon coffee, or pair it with heels to meet friends for cocktails.

The mixture of a soft color with a traditional shirt dress silhouette and full skirt is really working for these two dresses. Contrived of a light cotton blend, both of which have a draw string tie at the waist, these dresses would be comfortable and breathable for walking running around on a hot summer day.

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This great number in linen can be worn untied for a casual, oversized look, or synched at the waist with a matching tie. In addition to the linen dress there were multiple styles of shirts and blouses, as well as a very chic circle skirt with an elastic band an ideal situation on this inevitable “fat” days.

Tickled Pink

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Adding a burst of colour to a monochromatic collection for Spring/Summer 2016

The pink wall; the best wall. It seems very fitting that I am about to rave about the pink wall on National Pink Day. Yes, it is National Pink Day, and yes, it is a real thing.While I love a good basic, the colour pink is probably the highest on my list and this rose shade is really working for me. These garments were a soft, jersey blend and had fabulous pleated detailing. I really enjoyed discovering how Zdenka played with the idea of pleating throughout the collection. The pleats give another level of texture and interest.

I wanted to take this jersey knit cardigan home is ways that I can’t explain. The long ties in the front could be left hanging, for an elongated effect, or tied in different ways. Throwing this over a pair of jeans or slacks is sure to spruce up any outfit and make a colour statement.

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The verdict? After not visiting Imreczeova and her collections for quite sometime it is nice to see her use more colours and more feminine, non oversized silhouettes. Impressed is an understatement! Thank you Zdenka Imreczeova for an impressive new collection and we very much look forward to recommending your garments and your studio to all who ask.

LEM’s “Monochromatic”

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WORDS: Madeline Chesnut

Czech designer by the name of Lucie Erban Mares (fashion label LEM) is presenting a little something different to the fashion world with her 2016 collection called “Monochromatic”. The collection has an assortment of different garments from sleeveless silk blouses to funky polyester coats.

“Characteristic of the new collection is layering of silhouettes on a monochromatic color scale. The garments will be elegant and simple, the choice of color only underpinning the readability and contrast of the overall design.” -LEM

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The inspiration for her collection comes mainly from the reflections and colors that mirrors give off. The monochromatic color waves are derived from photographing the mirror’s surface and picking out shades of white, gray, and black. A mixture of different hues gives off the impression of movement, shape, and dimension. The idea of mimicking mirroring is not a new concept for LEM, as it was seen in her previous collection.

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Once the images of mirrors are taken, Lucia Erban Mares then prints the images onto fabric. The use of snaps was seen repeatedly, and the garments could be worn and morphed in different ways. The jackets above and below are made with a polyester exterior and a cotton blend interior for a comfortable fit.

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LEM’s experimentation with shape and angle was extremely interesting to explore. This jacket lays in such a different way, and the symmetry and color variation is intriguing. That snaps up the front make for an easy fit.

LEM’s silk blouses were my favorite pieces in the collection. They have great line play, a soft texture, and are beautifully tailored. LEM quotes that, “Inspiration came from a mirror interspace in which elementary designs were reflected, multiplied and deformed.”

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The sleeveless silk tops were the highlight of the blouses. This tuxedo inspired blouse has clean lines, a cropped back, and snaps that allow the owner to choose how they want to wear it.

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LEM repeats the idea of mirroring with folds over the center axis and layering of fabric. This blouse is extremely versatile and would be a perfect staple item in any closet.

Alongside the blouses was an array of coats. This grey coat, made from a blend of cotton and spandex is reversible and doubles as a solid black coat (seen below). The labeling down the back is a special touch and reads “LEM”. The matching tie at the waist is the perfect finishing touch to emphasis the waist and pull the look together.

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Overall, “Monochromatic” is a beautiful collection with the perfect balance of simplicity, elegance, and the perfect touch of edginess.

An Afternoon with Orsay

 

WORDS: Madeline Chesnut

I spent a lovely afternoon with Orsay at The Grand Mark Prague Hotel for the launch of their 2016 autumn/winter collection. Thumbing through racks of new merchandise for the upcoming collections started my morning in a vibrant way that no shot of espresso can achieve. All of my fellow fashion addicts can attest to the feeling.

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Orsay does a great job of appealing to young to middle aged women who have an eye for fashion, but who also keep an eye on their wallets. I enjoyed seeing how they staged their outfits with a mixture of traditional and modern styles. While I must admit that they are carrying boho out a season too far, I really appreciated the idea of traditional styles paired with modern aspects.

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The dominant trend that Orsay is suggesting for the upcoming season is faux fur and neutral colors. I saw faux fur repeatedly throughout the collection on collars, vests, handbags, boots, and just about anything else that you can sew it to. I have a love-hate relationship with faux fur because it can be so good, but it can go so bad, so easily. It is a very fine line. I’ve seen the multi-colored faux fur vest come back for its third season now, and I honestly thought we were past that stage.

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Hidden amongst the beige sweaters and ponchos is a fresh floral tunic with a delicate pattern that is refreshing for the eyes.

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Bravo Orsay. They did fur right with this beautiful, periwinkle coat. The soft, cream fur collar adds the perfect amount of class and glamor to a simple, classic coat. This was by far my favorite coat for the upcoming collection.

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Although the fur vests were not my favorite, I must admit that this black and white vest gives the outfit an extra dash of sass. Paired on top of a leather jacket, the vest adds another layer of texture while letting the yellow skirt remain as the star of the show. I really enjoyed the pop of yellow in these looks, and I wish that I saw more of it. I’m glad that they are showing black booties with their collection because black boots are a staple item for autumn and winter.

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Neutrals work really well in their men’s wear inspired collection. This rack was the highlight of my experience with its to-die-for coats in variations of black and white. If there is one thing that Orsay did well with their upcoming collection, it is their coats. You are sure to find one that suits you when the collection hits the stores.