BATTLE ships

from "Pimp My Silhouette and I Will Reanimate Your Pose" (the evening's
winning team) - I really liked the exuberance and the exaggeration -
and also the fun and the fact that the performance gave a witty interpretation
of "fashion in a nutshell", even though, but that won't come as a surprise
in Vienna, indeed, several people I talked to found the performance too cliché
and too simplistic, to put it very clearly I would say "too reminiscent of fashion",
for the local scene is famously sceptical and critical towards all
things that remind them of the "fashion world", which is obviously
considered as a rather ghastly environment noone would ever want to belong to,
but let me tell you - it's not so bad to stick to what fashion is and
is about, if, of course, one day, you would like to be a successful part
of that fashion that does inevitably live by its clichés and stereotypes ...

... a little late, I know, but still, I wanted to say some words about last week's ultimate PERFORMANCE BATTLE powered by Azubis, the students of the bachelor course at Vienna's Heztendorf institute. First thing: Wally Salner and Johannes Schweiger, the parting professors and designers of _fabrics interseason, did an excellent job throughout the past two years and definitely succeeded in re-positioning Hetzendorf as an important academic institution for fashion design in Austria - so congratulations for that. Second thing: with roughly twenty students per year and a total of three years showing their collections, this makes for a total of sixty to seventy and it is virtually impossible to stage a conventional "fashion show" (unless you would want it to resemble the fashion marathon in Antwerp, which is legendary of course) with each and every student showing his or her creations from the past year. Too much, too long, too straining for the audience that would be. The inevitable solution: to select and combine various outfits - and to come up with "alternative modes of presentation" that are so dear to Johannes and Wally, at least they made that clear the very moment their new position was made official two years ago ...

from "How to Do Things With Performance", a stageing of subtle ways of refracting and
altering the conventional modes of presentation in the context of fashion,
yet not leading the concept of a fashion show completely astray

... now, first result, at the end of the last academic year _fabrics interseason invited Samuel Drira, a Paris-based stylist, and asked him to do the styling for the Azubis01 fashion show, picking whatever he liked from the students' collections (without necessarily using pieces from all the collections and without consulting with them too much). There was some talk back then regarding the not so democratic selection process, but spilt milk is spilt milk and shall not be cried over any more ...

from "Performing the Gap" (left), a reflection about gender in fashion and elsewhere,
and "Dress as Though Your Life Depends on It", a performance where the clothes themselves,
it has to be said, ended up being rather invisible ...

... however, the selection of clothes is a principle that, since it is inevitable, was maintained in this year's presentation, but it's quite clear that the students had a word or two to say. When I talked to him beforehand Johannes told me that the overall motto of the past year had been the stageing of fashion, so the idea to invite artists specialising in art performances and have them work with the students on that genre lay at hand. And so it came that Maria Ziegelböck & Salvatore Viviano (Salvatore is an ex fashion pro and part of the gelatin art collective by the way, and just back from the opening of La Biennale in Venice), Jakob Lena Knebl, Sonja Eismann, Christian Egger and Tanja Widmann directed/"curated" a total of five workshops that comprised all students from Hetzendorf's bachelor course.

from: "It's Over" - a performance that was nurtured by the ambivalence of passive obedience (models)
and aggressive dominance (a God-like voice giving directions)

... well, and I do think that we saw some very impressive peformances last week, just like I'm sure that the audience had a really good time and appreciated the ambitious efforts that had been made in order to create a slightly "different" kind of fashion presenation. To entertain the public is NEVER a mistake if you want to pass on a message, do bear that in mind! Now, inevitably, the performances with all their varying approaches that were presented to the audience that night, made it difficult to distinguish between the different collections that were actually shown, maybe some kind of additional online presentation or lookbook or photo shoot would come in handy there for the students, especially the graduates, to actually have something to show that carries their personal handwriting, but all in all, and that's definitely a valid and noteworthy point, people who had come to see the show and expected to see something special did definitely not have to leave empty-handed ...

Some essential information concerning the different groups of performers and designers:

Group 1:
curated by Maria Ziegelböck und Slavatore Viviano
participants: Bakk 2: Birgit Danler, Shira Ehlers, Stella Gebauer, Dorothee Huber, Matejana Ilic, Sebastian Kaucky, Susanne Kerl, Julia Platzgummer, Stephanie Rizaj, Lena Scheerer, Ines Sommer Bakk 4: Olivia Altmann, Pia Bauernberger, Elvira Greblic, Laura Haberkorn, Isabel Helf, Alice Jieun, Kim,Luba Liebendörfer, Simone Kathrin Sassmann, Leonie Soyel, Daria Vdovitchenko, Bakk 6: Johanna Diwold, Lisa Edi, Juliane Hutterer, Daniela Karlinger, Lida Marinkova, Katrin Mayer, Jennifer Milleder, Valentina Suvorova, Dominika Turociova, Romana Zöchling

Group 2:
curated by: Sonja Eismann
participants: Bakk 6: Stefanie Dirninger, Lisa Donhauser, Diane Krusche, Christina Nehrer, Romana Zöchling, Bakk 2: Alina Saavedra

Group 3:
curated by: Jakob Lena Knebl
participants: Olivia Altmann, Valentina Schwarz, Louise Witt-Dörring, Lisa Sattlegger, Sophie Skach, Esther Knoll, Theresa Toth, Matejana Ilic, Gabriel Schlesinger, Katharina Zanon, Katharina Perzl, Natalie Ofenböck, Maximilian Rittler, Simone-Kathrin Sassmann, Alice Frey

Group 4:
curated by: Christian Egger
participants: Isolde Mayer, Lena Scheerer, Katharina Triltsch, Aleksandra Kuleska, Johanna Pflaum, Karin Wallner, Ilija Milicic, Claudia Stanek, Esther Knoll, Dalia Hassan, Carolina Neuhold, Lena Fuhrmann, Jana Wieland

Group 5:
curated by: Tanja Widmann
participants: Bakk 2: Renée Chvatal, Theresa-Anna Erlach, Johanna Pflaum, Julia latzgummer, Stephanie Rizaj, Linda Schirmel, Bakk 4: Pia Bauernberger, Elvira Greblic, Laura Haberkoren, Isabel Helf, Bakk 6: Katrin Mayer, Lisa Edi, Lida Marinkova, Johanna Diwold, Daniela Karlinger, Christina Nehrer, Madeleine Nostiz, Valentina Suvorova, Romana Zöchling

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