In just two seasons Mercedes-Benz Prague Fashion Weekend has been reborn. The smart team of organizers led by local mover and shaker Lukás Loskot, who is the chief executive officer of MBPFW, transformed the event. They created a curated bite-sized offering that, in just two days, gave both local and international press and buyers a well-rounded look at what Czech fashion designers have to offer the world of fashion.
“I refused two or three times the job,” said Loskot about taking on the top post at MBPFW. “But finally I decided that I would take it on because I really want to support the local fashion scene to become more international.” The only way Loskot would sign on is if he had carte blanche to re-envision every aspect of the event.
Once the owner agreed, Loskot dropped the more commercial labels, which had in the past filled up the calendar, in favor of designers with distinctive sartorial points of view such as Petra Ptackova, Martina Apetlova, Pravel Berky and the brand Chatty. He also eighty-sixed the nondescript white tent that previously was used as the show venue and instead incorporated some of Prague’s beautiful architecture, in the form of the ZIBA Glass Experience Museum. After parties held in ambiance-imbued abandoned bank vaults or at off-site retro chic bars also helped to give this fashion weekend that indefinable cool factor often lacking at other off-the-beaten-path fashion weeks.
“Everything is better now,” said Radka Sirková, who, along with Anna Tušková, designs the Chatty brand. “We showed at Berlin fashion week and we came back and we could really see the development. The makeup, the hair, the people helping us — this time it was perfect. We were really in a rush this season, and they made it easy.”
The Chatty spring/summer 2015 collection, inspired by board games the designers played together, found a nice balance between real world wearability and designer innovation. They wove their gaming idea into the construction of, say, a fur coat with a playing card red heart cut into the pelt, or more substantially into the pattern fabrication of a coat that quietly stitched the outline of a spade across the front. Also nice was the incorporation of safety pins, both as a two-dimensional print and also as a painstaking three-dimensional edging.
One of the smartest moves made by this new and improved MBPFW was how the fashion shows were organized. Back-to-back collections of three or four designers showing 10 to 15 looks made it easier to get a fuller understanding of the talents The Czech Repubic has to offer the world.
Špetlová, who studied under Louise Wilson and graduated from Central Saint Martins in London, has now been brought into the fold at Dover Street Market. Her fall/winter 2015 collection will grace the racks at the cutting-edge multi-brand store.
Her impressive talents at weaving leather and in-house textile fabrication were on fine display in Prague. Her collection showed an important continuity in design aesthetic that buyers are always on the lookout for. But the concept evolved this season with the startling introduction of stronger color combinations. A choice that helped to accent all the labor-intensive work Špetlová produces each season.
At just 27 years old, Petra Ptáčková, a former stunt woman who studied fashion at the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne in Paris, is a bright light for the future of Czech fashion. Her infectious joie de vivre can be felt even in her most cerebral of creations.
This season her designs came from a more personal place than anything she had done before. “In September in Paris I was riding a bike and crashed into a car and I hurt my eye really badly and for a while I had double vision,” said Ptáčková. This resulted in a powerful show of layered three-dimensional designs that saw jackets being worn with other fully functioning jackets being carried on the back, double-deckered hemlines and moody prints disrupted by lines of black. To date, this talented designer has her collection carried at the highly regarded brick-and-mortar store Doshaburi in Barcelona and online retailer Notjustalabel.com.
What a number of these brands need now are guiding hands to help them learn more about the business side of this creative industry.
The talents of Pavel Brejcha were as bracing and clear as the empty snow white fields that inspired the collection. “I wanted to make you feel with this collection that you are alone, but free in space,” said the designer backstage after his promising show. Brejcha admitted that the exploration of form is what interests him, but turning that passion into a business is where he feels he is struggling and in need of a mentor.
Helping fledgling fashion brands with their business plans would be a great place for Loskot and his staff could focus some of their energy in coming seasons. Also presenting some local fashion accessories brands such as the promising Antipearle jewelry line and Local Icons — which teams traditional manufacturing companies with designers to create capsule collections — at the show venues would be another wise move. But considering that this Mercedes-Benz Prague Fashion Weekend is just two seasons old, the results are already impressive. This event is well on its way to making its fashion weekend worth a full-blown fashion week.