With hopes of establishing itself in the international fashion calendar and in it own city’s events calendar. Dubrovnik played host to an eclectic mix of some of Europe’s most promising designers and visual artists for its first Fashion Week.
The five day event was set in an open air catwalk; in the old town of Stradun amongst the stunning Baroque architecture,the town showcased the best in emerging and established design talent from Croatia and across Europe.
As the curators of DFW have an aspiration to appear annually, they have selected some of the most inspiring and innovative designers for the occasion. Pulling out all the stops they hoped to capture the attention of the rest of the fashion world and set the precedent for future DFWs.
There were a few things going on as far as trends at Dubrovnik, opposites were certainly attracting. On one hand designers stuck to exploring the body conscious and second skin designs continuing from last season to all out volume a la Gareth Pugh. In terms of colour it was skin tone or monochromatic or else it was every colour imaginable presented together.
Noteworthy designers included Jakub Polanka who presented a futuristic collection of silver grey and black body-con pieces. Jakub’s capacious outerwear was balanced against a lean silhouette that accentuated the natural lines of a woman’s body and he was not the only one to visit this trend.
A premise of reworking and deconstructing was also present; Tomislav Zidar presented his accessories collection made from disassembled daily objects such as telephones, toasters and shaving equipment. Anything that has been rejected or thrown away was recyled by Tomislav to make some intriguing pieces such as necklaces and rings with a brand new, child-like character.
Patrizia Dona presented a visually captivating collection inspired by the mechanics of a clockwork doll entitled ‘Souvenirs d’enfance.’ Consisting mostly of nude and black Patrizia is interested in showing how our bodies have become instrumented due to cosmetics, surgery and celebrity media. Dona uses nostalgic objects that are transformed to function in this modern world, such as a ceramic plate necklace reflecting a traditional dolls porcelain bust plate or clockwork key belts. This was also a subject present for her accessories range ‘Hommage a Remington’ that was inspired by the complex Remington typewriter dating from 1847 and included a bag and necklace made of the old typewriter keys.
Carta e Costura’s principal designer Alessandra Carta brings her costume design expertise to a new kind of simplified luxury and quirky elegance. Now designing with another former costume designer; Stefano Fornari, the Milanese label presented pieces that blended an historical era with futuristic and medieval overtones bringing together a very directional look for next season that was both understated and totally enchanting.
Austrian designer Anna Aichinger has already received success having shown in some of Paris’ renowned showrooms since 2006. Her contemporary collection provides a wardrobe for the woman of today. Aichinger’s garments are completely practical and ooze style; they are capable of transferring your looks from day to evening wear with just a few simple changes. The softly tailored cuts retain fluidity and come in an understated monochromatic palette.
It was a proud moment for Brit designers thanks to Central St Martins graduate Derek Lawlor. His impressive intricate knitwear designs inspired by Japanese body armour wowed the crowds. Derek’s mind blowing weaving techniques were used to create the 3D look for his sculptural wear, and were mesmerising to watch in movement. Another knitwear specialist is the London based Womenswear designer; Emilia Bairamova who presented what looked like genetically modified knitwear interestingly entitled ‘Prozac Nation’. Inspired by the memoirs of the same name by Elizabeth Wurtzel, Emilia’s collection is symbolic of the stages of Wurtzels depression. The nine chunky mohair hand-knitted dresses refer to a different stage of Elizabeth’s state of mind and are expressed through the varying shape, colour and texture or the exaggerated sleeves, necks and shoulders of each dress.
Ana Kujundzic captured a bohemian trend perfectly; her collection featured a fascinating mix of fabrics, textiles and detail that cleverly supported each other piece’s underlying theme and manage to keep the shape and cuts visible enough to appreciate. Bunches of colourful well placed threads and tassels adorned mostly dresses. The shredding detail helped push the last season’s folk trend forward with its use of electrifying colour.
For a complete contrast to Ana’s vibrancy and slash work, Minna Palmqvist would be the answer. The Finnish designer stuck to nude tones for her ‘Intimately Social’ collection, which is an ongoing project for Minna who is exploring the female form within fashion. The dialogue raised from the project is the conflict between the socially accepted body we desire and that which we actually have. Some excellent manipulation techniques represent a true visualisation of her study. Working against smooth lines using thin draping fabrics layered over a slender outline, she uses a composite of nude, blush, tan and white.
Dubrovnik Fashion Week International set out to make its mark in the fashion world and with the designers like these in tow; we’re already looking forward to next time.