Due to some unfortunate twist of things and schedules, I did not attend the Avanpremiere Gala. Lucky me, Perfecte.ro broadcast it live on their website, so I was able to see the fashion show from the comfort of my bed, with a pen and notebook in hand, enjoying the view of the best seats.
There has been too much said on this fest and how it was organized in such a short time, with certain flaws. There have been said even many more things regarding Cluj Fashion Week and the public separation and fights that followed. This doesn't interest me at all. I am sure that the truth is somewhere in between. I am not a supporter of neither parts, I am just a mere spectator who wants to learn something from this experience.
However, I am interested in what Avanpremiere managed to succeed in, what it brought new to the fashion industry. Now that two weeks have passed since the Gala and that everybody has drown his own conclusions, publicly, we can see the ups and downs. The big picture is that this fest has managed to raise the standards, bringing together several young designers that really have something to say through their vision, techniques and overall concepts. With few exceptions, the collections were impressing and creative, in a way that makes me feel optimistic about the future of Romanian fashion.
Enough said, now let me talk to yo about what interests me, the shoes, a subject that nobody focused on so far.
As far as shoes are concerned, the Gala was very poor. Out of 10 collections, only 2 did not feature the same designer's shoes as the others: 8 of them used Musette shoes, while the other 2 can come as an example of DOs - Bianca Popp who used for her clothes Hunter wellington boots - and DONTs - Agnes Toma who featured some very kitschy sandals.
The reason why this has happened is somehow unknown to me. It's not like we lack in (talented) shoe designers. On the contrary, we have a shoe industry with quite a few important names and different concepts and takes on the shoe. Maybe the fact that Cristina Batlan was already involved in the Gala with her Christelen B collection had something to do with this shoe monopol.
My disappointment is that we still do not have brave designers who team up with shoe brands/designers to use their shoes or have some made escpecially for their collection/show. Like Bianca Popp did. But I know for a fact that these Hunter boots were planned for A&S Negulescu, but they decided to swap shoes the day of the show. Apparently, this was only a fortunate last minute decision.
As a general preference, many of them used a lot of nude shoes and a lot of pumps. There were some ankle wraps, some buckles, but let's see them separately, one at a time, in the order of their appearence.
First in line was Bianca Popp who used boots from Hunter for her collection named The Unbearable Lightness of Black which reinterprets the little black dress. Transparencies and elastic shiny fabrics in the form of black dresses were paired with black or white wellington boots with croc texture. The result: a nice contrast between delicate fabrics and rubber massive boots.
Anca Ciataras presented a collection with lots of flower prints named Wonderful Life. The shoes she used, courtesy of Musette, were some nude pumps with contrasting ankle wraps. The shoes are there mostly to serve the practical purpose, not necessarily to complement or say a story.
Rhea Costa showed us a collection inspired by Boticelli's Spring, featuring draping, transparencies and silky dresses. The grey or brown Musette shoes she used were not enough for the potential the dresses offered. She could have been so daring, should she have used the right shoes. On the other hand, at least she played it safe.
Norina Stoica named her collection Atemporal "79". Having as inspiration Pompeius and Herculanes, the two antique roman cities lost under lava, she used assimetry and earhtly colours and Musette shoes, of course. The use of shoes seemed a little chaotic, featuring black strappy shoes and nude pumps, without any obsivous reason than coordination to some pieces of the look.
A&S Negulescu named their collection Wicked and had the most impressive say from all of the 10 presenting designers. They used leather for dresses, corsets and vests and through the intricate technique they used they managed to deliver a bold statement of what fashion should be. The shoes they used were Musette too, but at least they didn't use the same nude pumps! They chose (not really, remember the swap with Bianca Popp) some very urban colour block sandals featuring lace and cone heels. In their case, the shoes helped deliver the message of the collection.
Silvia Serban, featuring Alex Nimurad for the prints, named her collection By Coincidence. This wasn't one of my favourite collections, but I appreciate the prints and the techniques used to render them. From the shoes' point of view, this collection has used so many styles (pumps, strappy sandals, thong sandals, lace ups) and so many colours that nothing good could have come out. As if the designer could not decide what shoes to use, she said yes to all of them and delivered a rather disturbing melange.
Christelen B presented a rather disapponting collection named White. After her success from last season with a bold collection and innovative statement shoes, the designer decided to return to plain clothes. The shoes - some very high wood wedges with multicoloured straps and buckles - were not that bad, but I expected more, since the ones from last season's collection were so revolutionary. I really hope she'll return to the path she took last season.
Iris Serban named her collection Human Condition. It was the second best collection, from my point of view, after A&S Negulescu. In her case, the shoes seemed the right choice: nude pumps mostly, with some red and grey ones. The shoes complemented the message of the clothes and highlighted the frailty of the silk and the drapings.
Agnes Toma's collection named Equilibrium. Andorgynous? wants to be the Romanian version of a Stella McCartney collection: man wardrobe as an inspiration, she used blazers, shiny fabrics, transparency and a lot of unfinished dresses with no purpose or message whatsoever. The shoes were even worse: wedding-like strappy bejewelled sandals that no sane woman would wear.
All in all, the selection of designers was inspired and their sugestions are valid points of view for the following season, as per the international industry.
I would have liked to see more diversity in the shoe department, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for next time.
What do you think? What collection did you like most and why?
photo source: remusn.ro, prestapotester.com, Alex Buruntia