(First published on http://welovebudapest.com/shops.and.services.1/hungarian.fashion.designers.debut.fall.winter.2014.15.collections, 16 September 2014)
Hungarian fashion design has come a long way in recent years, and now more and more premium designers position themselves in the luxury category by using the very best materials, quality workmanship, and world-class design. Hungarian design is turning heads from Paris to New York, and while there’s a growing international market for Magyar-made attire, many labels retain flagship stores and showrooms right here in Budapest. Now that it’s getting colder, it’s time to look at the fresh Fall-Winter collections of some of Hungary’s finest designers.
Similarly to other creative fields, Budapest serves as a muse for these fashion trendsetters working amid the city’s creative energy to enhance their craft. Naturally the chillier weather brings heavier materials, drapes and layers, warm coats and darker colors, so from daywear to evening wear we take a look at what is new and different about the Fall-Winter collections of some of Hungary’s top fashion labels. What’s certain is that as the sunny days wane and autumnal leaves start to decorate trees, these 2014/15 collections promise to warm and inspire. Enjoy!
Born in Transylvania and raised in Budapest, Dora Abodi showed an early interest infashion. She graduated from the French Mod’art International Art and Fashion Academy and earned her master's of fashion design in Milan. She started her label DORA ABODI in 2009, and she’s been recognized numerous times by the industry, including winning the Hungarian Fashion Awards “Designer of the Year” prize in 2010; this year she’s in the “Future of Fashion program” that supports designers making their way in international markets. Dora Abodi pieces have been featured inVogue and are worn by celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Jena Malone. Dora Abodi’s signature style includes artistic, embellished dresses, embroidery and beading, and unique digital prints. For ethical reasons she does not use real fur or exotic leathers. The handcrafted finish and timeless cuts equal an absolutely high-end result.
The concept behind the Fall-Winter collection is a semi-humanoid robot named ANA: a female superhero inspired by the Transformers and Hajime Sorayama’s erotic robots. Perhaps the collection is reflective of the challenges of a busy, modern woman, fulfilling the roles of both a masculine warrior and an entity of feminine sexuality. In this way, the daywear is more masculine while the evening wear is more feminine “bodycon”. Underpinning all this is a mix of both futuristic and Baroque elements: Swarovski crystal fabrics and metal hardware mixed with luxurious silks, jacquard fabrics and leather. Exhibited in Paris, New York, and soon in Milan.
Je Suis Belle
Je Suis Belle is the label of Dalma Devenyi and Tibor Kiss, founded almost ten years ago. It’s now one of Hungary’s better-known fashion brands, and is gaining international recognition too. It has continued on its mission to collaborate and draw inspiration from varied art forms, especially the visual arts, as well as traditional techniques and folk art. The brand’s muse is creative, talented, witty and cool. Each collection reflects the mood of the time with the constant of quality remaining. The brand’s philosophy is that fashion is a fundamental part of life and a tool for building and communicating one’s own personality and style.
The widespread use of black in this Fall-Winter collection represent both the gloominess of the season as well as the classic elegance of the color. The shades of black are used to communicate perspective, optics, light prisms and the mathematics of breaking light beams. The pieces are diverse – they’re for both the everyday and special events – but the basic theme is that simple (sometimes masculine) lines and materials are decorated with elaborate details and layers.
Dora Konsanszky’s label offers beautiful pieces for the intelligent, independent woman who is looking for classic, well-made, functional pieces with unique details. Dora studied in Paris and has twice won Hungary’s “Designer of the Year”award (2006 and 2008). Konsanszky has hit the runway at both the Paris and New York Fashion Weeks, and last year marked the brand’s foray into Asia with a collection exhibited in Tokyo and an appearance in Vogue China.
Jazz is one of the key inspirations behind the Fall-Winter Konsanszky collection, specifically the genre’s use of improvisation and its pursuit of self-expression. The other inspiration was the '60s model Veruschka von Lehndorff – one of the first androgynous models. This collection tries to refine the edgier grunge and street style, and dove gray, powder beige, black, and white are the basis of the collection. Wool, cotton, silk, elastic leather, and fur are combined to create beautiful solid pieces for the cooler months.
The label Nanushka takes its name from the childhood nickname of designer Sandra Sandor. After studying at the London College of Fashion, Sandra returned toBudapest to establish her brand. Elegance and comfort are the basis for each collection, and the pieces often mix a classic look with an unexpected fabric or design feature. Although Nanushka is expanding to new markets around the world, the flagship store remains on Budapest’s Fashion Street.
Nanushka’s Fall-Winter collection was inspired by the mythological story of the mysterious female figure “Salome” and the Mystery of the Seven Veils story that appears in the Bible and in Middle Eastern mythology. Salome (also known as the Goddess Ishtar) and the snake motif are common in ancient Egyptian illustrations to symbolize renewed feminine strength, and they appear on some of the printed silks and stitching – as do wings, which symbolize rebirth. Two hand-drawn digitally printed silks are included in several pieces of this season’s collection. The geometric patterns associated with ancient Egyptian art are another primary feature. Contrasting materials such as highly detailed pearl fleece, quilt satin, and wool alongside simpler fabrics such as stretch jersey and flannel are used. The Fall color palette is based on earthy tones, while the Winter colors take inspiration from etheric tones.
NUBU was created by Judit Garam in 2007, and she was joined by Adél Kovács in 2011. The brand caters to the sophisticated urban woman who has confidence and charm, and NUBU is associated with comfort, functionality, minimalism, femininity and elegance. As seasons come and go the label remains loyal to the classic inner-city style, with discreet luxury and soft colors. Of course, this doesn’t mean NUBU doesn’t change with the times, but it grows by taking on aspects of current trends instead of slavishly following them. NUBU maintains a strong presence in Hungary, but its foray into overseas markets such as the US, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Beijing continues.
Shapes and lines are the basis for the Fall collection – circles, rectangles, bends, and parallels. Kinetic art, cyclical motion, and the proportions of spherical shapes inspired these new designs. The main fabrics are wools, leather, and fur. Large brushstrokes emblazon some of the materials, while others are decorated by Swarovski Elements. The black, grey and beige colors of previous collections remain in this line, but splashes or bold stretches of dark blue and royal blue make guest appearances. New this year is a fur-coat collection made with lamb fur and additional pieces of rabbit fur.
Three designers started USE Unused in 2004 – Eszter Füzes, Attila Godena-Juhász, and András Tóth – and now it’s one of Hungary’s leading high-end contemporary fashion labels. The goal was to create a brand that is successful globally while maintaining a link to something ethnic and undeniably Hungarian. USE Unused has had success entering the Asian, US, and broader European markets. The brand’s appeal is in its mix of reserved-yet-erotic, and sophisticated-yet-feminine style. Most importantly the brand is the epitome of slow fashion – not driven by fast-changing trends, but instead consistent and focused on high art and quality.
The self-confident woman who wants comfortable, easy-to-wear pieces are at the center of the Fall-Winter collection. The items are meant to transition from day to night with ease. The designers, having spent a lot of time in Paris and New York, give the collection a feeling that is both vibrant and exciting, yet classic and elegant. A strong feature of this collection is its take on the little black dress, pencil pants, and oversize coats. The color palette incorporates fuchsia, black, red, white, and beige, while soft leathers, high-quality wool, and elastic jersey are featured materials.
ANH TUAN is the eponymous brand of Hungarian-Vietnamese fashion designer Luu Anh Tuan, who was named Hungary’s “Young Designer of the Year” in 2008. Anh Tuan spent a year at the London College of Fashion in addition to traveling in Europe and the Far East to gather inspiration. Past collections have appeared at theNew York and London Fashion Weeks. His designs are known for the unique and luxurious use of textures and fabrics, often mixing leather, fabrics, and metal accessories. The designer often uses forgotten crafts mixed with modern techniques. ANH TUAN items are popular with Hungarian buyers, and increasingly popular in overseas markets such as Germany, Japan, and England. Anh Tuan’s pieces have appeared in international magazines such as Marie Claire and Elle.
The current Fall-Winter collection was inspired by the bicycle culture gaining popularity in many of the world’s biggest cities – including Budapest. Whether people are riding for better health or to save time and money, this trend has spurred a renewed interest in backpacks – an items which makes its mark on this new collection too. The color pallet includes black, pastels, beige, and brown – combinations that are easy to wear with other clothes. This collection uses buffalo leather, calf leather and goat fur, among other materials. Everything is made and designed in Hungary, with materials such as leather and metal hardware sourced from Italy.
Kata Szegedi burst onto the fashion scene in 2009 when she both graduated from the KREA Contemporary Arts Institute Budapest and won the "Top Young Fashion Designer" prize at the Fashion Awards Hungary. The self-titled label’s designs are for the cosmopolitan woman who is self-assured, independent, and proud of her individual image and fiercely projects her originality in everyday life. Essentially the brand is about a ladylike modern power woman.
This season’s collection has taken inspiration from hip-hop and R&B music, with the name “crazysexycool”. Specifically it’s inspired by the '90s music of Missy Elliot and TLC among others. The clothes themselves reflect looseness, openness, and pushing boundaries. The collection takes its oversized yet feminine pieces from the '90s. At first glance the items are a mix of textures that don’t seem to match, but this was used to reflect the urban woman that is confident enough to match items in an unexpected way. In this way she stands out from the crowd in her own unique way. This collection’s typical silhouettes are pencil skirts, cigarette pants, oversized coats, and waist-heavy skirts.
Emília Anda’s label ANDA is another high-quality Hungarian label. The Fall-Winter collection was inspired by the “hard edge” painting techniques stemming from the US in the '50s and '60s. The art form’s use of contrast, powerful colors, and movement is what ANDA has reworked in this newest collection, but through this collection ANDA has also introduced a playfulness to this theme.
Artista was founded in Budapest over 20 years ago by six designers: Katalin Imre, Juli Ivan, Abel Köves, Nora Rácz, Edina Schön, and Kati Stampf. The brand produces its own one-off pieces, as well as small runs of other designs. Artista has been particularly successful not only here in Budapest, but in Vienna and London too.
Artista’s philosophy is about clothes for open-minded women who have a good sense of style and this Fall-Winter collection is based on a very metropolitan look. Optic and pixel prints and '60s and '70s silhouettes are the basis. The collection is full of pieces that are for the everyday use, but still make the wearer feel special because – despite the classic cuts –there’s often an extravagant detail.
NAPSUGAR von Bittera
The NAPSUGAR von Bittera name represents the crossroads of technology and luxury. It’s a top Hungarian label that was catapulted to success in 2010 when Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana selected it from 500 artists to feature alongside Dolce&Gabbana in a multi-brand store in Milan. Since then NAPSUGAR has been presented in Hong Kong, Azerbaijan, and Beirut, and numerous times at Paris Fashion Week. The essence of the brand is avant-garde and futuristic femininity; the merging of high-end fashion with wearability; and the combination of elegance with hip style. Premium-quality materials and handcrafted items are another key to this label. The creations are designed to complement one another – not just within the season, but across seasons. In this way the wearer can create a wardrobe over time, and not having to replace clothes constantly.
Laser-cut leather and manual screen-printed materials are the basis for the new season. Partially the laser-cut motif is inspired by the seven sins of the Bible. The laser-cut leather motifs are often blended with vivid colors such as ultramarine blue, gold, and dark turquoise, which takes its inspiration from the pop-art movement of the '50s and '60s. In this way the idea of the “consumer society” is connected to the idea of the seven cardinal sins in a fresh way. The materials used include natural-fiber silk, silk georgette, leather, and wool. The oversized forms of the coats, jumpers, jackets, and trousers contrast the collection’s body-close silhouettes found in the exclusive dresses.