The final day of the week brought fresh talent to our shores, Mariana Jungmann, a London-based Brazilian designer widely acclaimed for her contemporary reinterpretations of the illustrious traditions of lace. A regular fixture on the London Fashion Week schedule, her work predicates on the intricate, yet unorthodox, weaving of coded narratives, voicing stories, emotions and abstract states of mind.
This season was no different, inspired by the works of Frida Kahlo and sculptor Monica Piloni. Mimicking the two artists creative practices of ‘breaking’ the body, accentuating its component elements to inspire a novel consideration of the beauty of human form, Jungmann presented garments partitioned by strips of translucent lace, boldly, yet subtly, calling attention to beauty and power o the feminine form. Particularly striking was the application of a corset-like motif onto the bust of a strapless silk cocktail dress, acknowledging and paying due reverence to the traditions of womenswear, yet transforming a symbol of corporeal restriction into an one of vestiary power.
Through the panelling of dresses, traditional silhouettes were simultaneously respected and deconstructed, creating a new standard of sartorial elegance and breathing emboldened life into out-dated symbols and codes. Most indicative of this would be her trademark, the intricate laser cutting of the softest lambskin, applying the abstract floral designs of north-eastern Brazilian lace onto a new medium. While delicate, the richness of the leather, this season presented in royal blues and deep burgundies, yields an almost intimidating power and sensuality. But were anything to attest to Jungmann’s sheer dedication to meticulous handiwork, it would surely be the collection’s closing piece. A shimmering gown in black lace, the pattern of which was drawn by hand, painstakingly hand-embroidered with over 10,000 Swarovski crystals. Far from the tackiness often witnessed in their employment, the crystals served to illuminate and accentuated the intricate webbings of lace, proving that a little elbow grease always pays off.
The last show on our radar was that of Romanian Ioana Ciolacu. A contemporary of Jungmann’s at London College Fashion, Ciolacu’s work adopts a more playful approach, with primary coloured motifs and block prints, affording the collection a carefree nostalgia, rooted in the ether of youth.
Her architectural training was made evident in the looks, with silhouettes sculpted in fitted, off-shoulder tops contrasted by extravagant furs and wide-set lower wear. Amidst a motley crew of textures, colour came to the fore through varied prints. Viewing of the garments under a distinctly architectural lens, the central role of geometric form made itself clear. Primary coloured shapes, layered over one another, decorated stiff culottes, while bold red brushstrokes and blotchy white dots graced other pieces. The evoking of a distinctly late 80s childhood nostalgia was pinned down by one particular look, with sweaters in cream silks and velvets emblazoned with shiny scarlet polymer Tetris shapes. Indeed, the 80s Nintendo serves as a fitting visual metaphor for the collection as a whole; while isolated of one another, the pieces may appear incongruous, an inventive approach to garment combination results in balanced looks one may never have expected.
This fashion week was certainly broad in its offerings, showcasing the ever-ripening fruits of Germany’s young designer’s labours alongside creatives who flocked to the city out of an explicit desire to show here. While certain names may have been conspicuous in their absence from this season’s schedule, Berlin succeeded in proving its relevancy and asserting its validity on the international fashion circuit, offering high profile events with remarkable production value and cosier, intimate presentations. Yet, for as varied an affair as it may have been, proceedings were leveled by a common denominator of well-executed presentations of zeitgeist-shaping, intelligent, meticulously crafted fashion. Paris it is not, but Berlin is certainly one to keep a keen eye on. See you (hopefully in balmier climes) in June!