Dear Shaded Viewers,
I was recently in one of my favorite European cities to attend the 2nd edition of the yearly MQ (MuseumsQuartier) Vienna Fashion Week. (No BRUNO jokes, I promise!) I can't say I've seen many Austrian collections at the international fashion weeks I attend, so it was a nice opportunity to check out the work of local designers as well as collections from Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Turkey and Thailand–either on the catwalk or in the MQVFW showroom. The shows took place in Vienna's famed museum district so there was plenty of time to check out the work at MUMOK (Museum of Modern Art) and the Leopold Museum. The contemporary art connection seemed to figure strongly at MQVFW as many of the clothes veered toward the experimental, but there were still plenty of retail-ready pieces for buyers to consider.
What do you get when you combine references from Bettie Page/'50s pinup posters, Bunny Yeager photos and Russ Meyer films set to a raucous punkabilly soundtrack? Quite simply, you get a collection that Glenn Belverio is bound to love. Lena Hoschek learned her craft from none other than Vivienne Westwood when the punk grande dame was an appointed Professor of Fashion at the Vienna Academy of Applied Arts. Hoschek's buxom babes whipped the audience into fits of erotic frenzy. I really loved the World War II-era stockings updated with a lacquer-like finish.
While Bettie Page and other pinups were the obvious references, this look reminded me of Joan Crawford in the 1964 William Castle horror classic "Strait-Jacket." (If you haven't seen the film, be advised this clip has a spoiler.)
Everyone, including me, was mad for Tiberius's leather and latex menswear–it was very Christopher Street meets Savile Row. The newspaper-print pieces, a male take on John Galliano's infamous "homeless" collection for Dior ten years ago, were a standout.
Tiberius designer Marcos Valenzuela and one of his hot models at the after party at Aux Gazelles.
And the meat goes on: The culinary-cum-couture trend (Gaga, Jeremy Scott) surfaces in Vienna. This Croatian man shows off his plastic steak purse at the Tiberius after party.
View of MUMOK from the Leopold Museum. MUMOK's imposing structure is made from basalt lava.
Me amidst a mirrored-and-neon installation at MUMOK.
The Leopold had a show of depraved paintings by the notorious Austrian artist Otto Muehl. This is one of the tamer works. (The title was something like "Death is Such a Dirty Boy.") According to the dates of the paintings, many of the works seem to have been done while Muehl was in prison during the mid-'90s after being convicted for sexual crimes involving adolescents.
A trip to Vienna is not complete without a visit to one of the city's marvelous late-19th/early-20th century cafes, replete with crystal chandeliers, gossipy hausfraus, superior coffee and tuxedoed waiters.
Zigi Mueller, one of the chief organizers of MQVFW, dressed head-to-toe in Konsanszky, a Hungarian brand that showed on the last day of the shows.
ANDREEA TINCU & SENSE
The spring collection of Romanian brand Andreea Tincu & Sense was inspired by the architecture of Kenzo Tange and Frank Gehry and had a decidedly Japanese feel. I thought it was very elegant. I also think Romania has surprisingly high standards of tailoring and sewing techniques–I have a Raf Simons suit that was made in Romania and the quality is superb.
Spaghetti Gangbang sounds like something that's supposed to happen in the Smoosh Room on JERSEY SHORE but it's actually an eccentric collective from Berlin that is part of Vienna's Quartier21 Artists-in-Residence program. Spaghetti's kooky knitwear nomads put the fun back in post-apocalyptic fashion.
Berlin's DARKSHOW served up sexy, minimalist goth menswear that ripped a few pages from Rick Owens's book.
Is that a jawbone around your neck or are you just happy to see me? Vienna's EP_ANOUI accessorized their mostly sheer, diaphanous pieces with animal bones.
Guests who arrived at this show were greeted by the sight of what looked like the demolished Wicked Witch of the East–except this one was done in by a pile of rags instead of a house.
This is what emerged from the pile of rags: Presumably he's one of the designers or maybe just the Austrian brand's high-heeled mascot. After he spray-painted (it must have been Boudicca's PAINT scent with disappearing color) and dressed two male models (see below), he disappeared only to reappear moments later when he minced down the runway with a shopping bag and rudely hurled a banana peel at the flummoxed audience. If he ever makes it to the Paris shows he better not try that maneuver there–I don't even want to imagine the repercussions caused by a banana peel landing on Suzy Menkes.
Dutch designer Anouk Wipprecht tested the audience's patience for conceptual-art hijinks with a neck-brace contraption that looked like something from a hospital in a Philip K. Dick novel. It squirted ink onto the model's dress, transforming its appearance before our eyes as sinister electric beats throbbed from the sound system. Adding to the soundtrack was the sweet and amusing London buyer and blogger seated next to me who emitted agonized screams and yelps during this long and scary sequence.
Thanks for reading.