Dear Shaded Viewers,
It’s been a year since Vetements moved its entire team to Zurich and Swiss designers have gained attention as a result, especially when Demna Gvasalia directly refers to Swiss culture within his work. The 13th edition of Mode Suisse, organized and produced by Yannick Aellen and his hard-working team, evidenced that Swiss talents are ready to take a risk and explore the unknown. Fashion shows paired with individual installations gave us a detailed glimpse into the imaginary world of each designer, how they approach fashion and what truly matters to them. If it is true that Swissness relies on simplicity, craftsmanship and a desire for timelessness, dramatic gestures were also part of this year’s edition, staged at the beautiful Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Zurich.
Showing for the second time on the calendar, WEER -designed by Karin Lorez- convinced the audience with a coherent and focused statement, reworking authentic workwear shapes without renouncing ease and femininity. A sharply tailored shirt dress in glossy black denim had a rigid feel, but shoulder cutouts added a playful edge. Lorez clashed neutral tones with vivid red, warm rust and flashy neons, mixing handknit crochet with manmade fibers. The designer was in fact referencing Swiss landscapes and winter months spent in the mountains, from her use of a printed reflective fabric evoking snowy hills to a sweet paper-cutting print, a deeply rooted Swiss tradition. It was nice to see how she balanced urban pragmatism with a more poetic touch.
HEAD – Genève is a great laboratory for new design ideas and the school also offers an incubator program, which gives young designers the necessary tools -and required knowledge- to start their own brand later. I was impressed with Mikael Vilchez and his label named Forbidden Denimeries which focused on experimental volumes and Swiss-made denim. Vilchez finds inspiration in female TV and cinema icons, such as Glenn Close in Damages, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Carrie Bradshaw in SATC or Almodovar’s deranged and quirky women, which he then translates into unique menswear styles. While his use of color was bold and confident, you could also sense his subtle understanding of cut and proportions, which made his garments cool and desirable.
Working within a much more restrained range, Garnison delivered a fine menswear collection, which relied on precise lines and refined details. The suit has been an ongoing focus for Luka Maurer who continues to dynamize sartorial classics for an educated clientèle. A double-breasted suit with contrasting lapels was sleek and stylish, while a shrunken nappa blazer was worn with a black top and matching pants. Maurer styled his jackets with leggings or tight pants to give them a youthful feel. He also reworked the trench coat in a surprising shade of bottle green, demonstrating he also has a knack for statement outerwear. After the show ended, guests were treated to food and refreshments while viewing the installations and mingling with the crowd. Swiss hospitality is very much alive.