Dear Shaded Viewers,
In fashion terms, Switzerland has always been a bit of an enigma. Luxury is definitely valued there -as evidenced by the number of designer stores one finds in the country- yet very few Swiss designers manage to make it big internationally. This 14th edition of Mode Suisse -which took place in Zurich and was powered by Yannick Aellen and his dynamic team- seemed to offer precious clues regarding the future of Swiss fashion. It was, in fact, interesting to see how some of the strongest statements on the runway came from female designers, a sign that young women are willing to question and challenge the status quo. Jacqueline Loekito’s exploration of gender was refreshing, although the theatrics sometimes got in the way. When it came to her simplest looks -which beautifully played with the notions of elegance and ambiguity- there was a willingness to provoke a dialogue around gender issues, which felt timely and genuine. The same occurred with Julia Seeman who seems to have finally got certain influences out of her system to focus on something more personal: her chilled ravers were spot-on and surprisingly playful, conjuring up Björk and other emblematic figures of the early 1990s. A winner of Hyères Première Vision Grand Prize last year, Vanessa Schindler showed some intriguing garments, where volume and technology worked hand in hand. Schindler loves to use 3D effects and unusual textiles to achieve her vision, but it’s her twisted sense of prettiness that left you craving for more. Her clothes had real presence on the stage and it’ll be good to see how her voice develops in the future, to perhaps include more commercial offerings. On the menswear front, WEER presented sleek silhouettes -in collaboration with eyewear brand SOL SOL ITO- which were inspired by uniforms and utilitarian styles. Even though the designer’s line is also worn by women, it was her menswear that stood out this time, as well as her surprising use of lace and patchwork denim. On the school front, Switzerland is still going strong, and both Head Genève and Doing Fashion Basel delivered exciting presentations, offering a great balance between technical skills and creative flair. If Swiss designers are given more means and support to achieve their creative goals, they will -without a doubt- make their own mark on the international scene.