The Relevance of Craft to a New Generation Ottolinger showed a playful and irreverent collection based around the notion of naive craft, underlining its relevance to a new generation of fashion consumers tired with ubiquitous sportswear
There’s something rather intriguing and alluring about Swiss fashion and its new wave of idiosyncratic designers. From Vanessa Schindler’s surprising textile experiments to Kevin Germanier’s sustainable take on Couture traditions, their sense of playful rebellion and cheeky elegance has caught the attention of the fashion. No one in fact illustrates this vibe better than Berlin-based, but Swiss-born, designers Christa Bösch and Cosima Gadient. Their last collection, presented in Paris today, approached craft as a territory for experimentation and innovation, pushing the boundaries of taste to striking effect.
“We love the idea of small productions and items that are in limited numbers. At the same time, we don’t want to be too crafty either and like to contrast such pieces with more technical garments. It’s that mix that appeals to us as designers” explained the duo backstage. Bösch and Gadient made that point clear with their raw silk suiting, which had a burned effect, giving the notion of embellishment a perverse makeover. Their take on the duffel coat may have been a nod to the traditional dirndl, it nevertheless added edge and femininity to a wardrobe staple. Silks were hand-dyed to evoke the appearance of acid wash denim, while knitwear separates relied on patchwork effects, such as a long skirt with a sexy high slit or a zip cardigan constructed like an 18th century bustier.
Outerwear was strong within the show and the pair offered seductive shearling pieces, either abbreviated or full length, protecting the female shape while emphasizing its curves. That sense of quirky sensuality has become an Ottolinger trademark and you could feel how spontaneous some of those pieces were. This philosophy extended to accessories as well, with paint drip sandals and matching felt totes stealing the show, another ironic wink to Swiss practicality and minimalism.
Bösch and Gadient also focused on the suit this season, looking for fresh proportions that could appeal to a fashion-forward client. An oversize blazer with a side draping detail, paired with a narrow pair of pants opened at the ankle, looked chic and directional, while double-breasted jackets were paired with cropped pants, showing suiting can be playful.
It was a smart move from the Swiss designers to move away from sportswear and embrace a more adult looking silhouette. They demonstrated they could cut a mean suit while pursuing their research on new materials and handmade treatments, which gave their clothes a very personal and special appeal. Now that they have established their codes and their own offbeat language -making their take on craft highly covetable- it will be exciting to see how they develop their signature volumes, and new ways of constructing clothes.
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