photo : Maria Ziegelböck

... Vienna's 13festival, which I already mentioned because of the fashion panel that will take place later today, will also present the audience with an occasion to see Ute Ploier's first womenswear collection.

The Austrian designer, who started out in menswear ten years ago right after being victorious at the Festival de Hyères, recently presented her first womenswear collection ever during Paris Fashion Week. The collection will hit store shelves in spring of 2014, Ute told me that she also ogles the option of opening a shop/showroom in Vienna at that same moment.

photo: Maria Ziegelböck

Le festival de la mode à Vienne, duquel j'ai déjà parlé à cause de la table ronde que j'y présenterai cet après-midi, offrira aux spectateurs la possibilité de voir, pour la première fois, la collection de mode féminine créée par la spécialiste en mode-hommes incontestée, Ute Ploier.

Ute a récemment présenté sa première collection pour femmes à Paris, et cela dix ans après sa première grande réussite à Hyères, où elle avait remporté le prix du festival de la mode. Félicitations, et encore plus de félicitations pour tant de courage et de bravoure ...

The show will take place on Friday, Nov. 22 at Mak.
La présentation aura lieu vendredi, le 22 nov., au Mak


STAGE performance

... I would like to make you, my dear and long-missed readers, aware of a panel that I shall be hosting next week during Vienna's first autumn edition of the 13festival for fashion & photography. 

On Wednesday, November 20, at 4pm in the main hall of MAK Museum of Applied Arts, a panel of very competent experts will explore different facets of the challenges of exhibiting (and collecting) fashion in a museum context.


"Staging Fashion - Display and collection of contemporary fashion" is what we're going to talk about, and I'm much looking forward to speaking to Karen van Godtsenhoven (curator at Antwerp's MoMu), Dan Thawley (editor of A Magazine Curated By), trend "guru" Lidewij Edelkoort and Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, the director of MAK and host of this event. 

There are a great many aspects that I would like us to address, ranging from the overall purpose of fashion exhibitions and the nature of their contribution to the fashion system to questions concerning the potential audience (number of visitors, main points of interest etc.). 


One of the key and core issues in this whole "Staging Fashion" discussion concerns the mode of display chosen for fashion in the context of a museum: How much sense do classic displays that rely on static mannequins make, which alternatives are there that we could think of?

I am all the more excited that Karen van Godtsenhoven will also be among the participants since I recently had the occasion to take a look at an example of her work. Karen co-curated the anniversary exhibition in honour of the fashion department at Antwerps's Royal Academy at "MoMu Mode Museum", and I was there for the opening. 

This show is a very fine example of its kind and the overall set-up is very nicely done, with a very good and clear exhibition architecture. The greater part of all clothes by fashion graduates from Antwerp are shown on mannequins, and this gives visitors the unique chance to take a closer, a very close look at these garments that had never before shown in this context before. 

This "slow mode" is a good alternative to the habitual pace of the fashion system, and I guess that's also what a museum should be: a different kind of place offering new views and more time to familiarise ourselves with whatever subject matter is on display. 

See you next Wednesday, then:
online-version of the festival programme 


FASHION reactivator

Marco Zanini for Elsa Schiaparelli

... that was quick (and a little surprising, too): Marco Zanini, who we learned last week is to be replaced with Alessandro dell'Acqua at the helm of Rochas, will be the new creative director of Schiaparelli.

Elsa Schiaparelli by Christian Lacroix,
presented during Haute Couture week in July 2013, photo: ParisVienne

Now, this appointment also puts an end to seasons and seasons of speculations regarding the creative vision that was to be adopted for the relaunch of the "belle au bois dormant" that was Elsa Schiaparelli's fashion brand. 

Surrealism it was ...

Diego della Valle, who is the mastermind behind all this, did take his time before making up his mind as to who would head his freshly revived high fashion brand - and there was quite a bit of name dropping before Zanini's definite appointment. In the course of these past few years we heard of Giles Deacon, Gareth Pugh, maybe even Peter Pilotto or Marios Schwab as "potential" designers for Schiaparelli.

Elsa Schiaparelli herself, as seen by Christian Lacroix.
Part of the Schiaparelli presentation in July, photo: ParisVienne

Monsieur Christian Lacroix, who presented a very faithful, surrealist and rather "museum piece/theatrical costume" Haute Couture collection for Schiaparelli could hardly be considered a serious choice in the long run (Lacroix has shifted the centre of his attention from fashion to theatre, or so we hear). 

Marco Zanini, who has been doing rather well (if a bit puffily) at Rochas over the past few years definitely belongs to a different league of fashion designers as he has shown his ability (and readiness) to familiarise himself with a creative legacy that is being handed over to him (I could find out for myself when I talked to him about his new post at Rochas, back in 2009).

What remains there to say but that I am much looking forward to Zanini's first Haute Couture collection for Schiaparelli in January and I definitely wish him the best of luck for his new task ...


THREE THOUGHTS about fashion blogs

screenshot of a Google image search for "fashion blog"

... there seems to be some new momentum in the ongoing (?) debate (??) about fashion blogs, at least in Austria (I'm saying this because of this, this and that). Alright then, let me add just three thoughts:

One: fashion blogs are indeed the most self-referential media I know (except for print media writing about the nearing end of all print media, of course - ha ha ha). To the point that there are some examples that are actually more about fashion blogs than they are about fashion. That is, from my point of view, an absurdity, unless these blogs actually start to refer to themselves as fashion blog blogs. 

Two: self pity seems to be a common thing among fashion bloggers, or rather the need to repeatedly point out how many bad feelings there are and how sad that is, and yet everyone (I will have to include myself, I guess) who writes about this whole bad feeling thing just contributes to it. And, let's face it, the Internet is not a particularly happy place. When I go through some bloggers' or journalists' or just "ordinary" people's timeline on their Facebook pages or Twitter feed, it sometimes feels like there is more complaining and moaning and disliking stuff (I'm still sticking to fashion here) than there are positive remarks. 

Three: the whole "we are doing this for free and this is so great and do you not feel sorry for us heroic bloggers" aka (pseudo?) self exploitation discourse is just, well, misleading. There are lots and lots of young and aspiring writers who work for free for print publications, and you'd be surprised at the magazines that are not willing to pay you ("we'd love to, but we just can't, and it'll always be good for your CV to have worked for us" ... uhm, yeah, super!). I myself worked as a "fashion editor at large" (great job title, right?) for a pretty okay mag just after its launch, and I did that for over a year, and all I got for that job was one umbrella. Of course I'd have loved to be paid, but I knew what was in there for me, and when I didn't see the point in doing that kind of job for free I stopped. Period. I don't say that this is a good thing, quite the contrary of course, but sadly it seems to be the way things work these days, at the beginning of a "career" in fashion writing at least. And it's the same with a blog: nobody makes you start it, as long as you like writing about fashion and have something to say and don't feel too tired/exhausted/overwhelmed to continue blogging, just go for it. And the very second it stops being fun, stop. It is not an obligation, towards noone, and it will most likely not turn you into a superstar in the world of runway shows and red carpets. It is, or should be, all about a person interested in (saying something fascinating and making a contribution to) fashion. Just saying ...

Edit: Two seconds after publishing this I realized that I should add one more remark - instead of the self-referential boredom, self pity and self exploitation, fashion blogging (just like everyhting else, basically) should be something that fills you with or adds to your already existing self esteem. Don't you agree that this should be the way it is? Let's try to stay on the bright side of all things stylish.



Jana Wieland's graduate collection (Hetzendorf, photo: J. Hammerschmid)
... I was talking to some people the other day and we found out that since Vienna's annual "festival for fashion and photography" was moved to a later date in autumn, the city's fashion folk had much less occasions to meet and mingle than they usually would at this time of the year. I mean, at least if you calculate that the people attending a show with avant-garde fashion by student designers are not 100 percent identical with the luxury aficionados that invade the countless openings of new luxury flagship stores in the city centre.

Anna-Sophie Berger from Angewandte (photo: Shoji Fuji)
Anyhow, so we were all really really happy and full of energy when we went to the traditional fashion show of Modeklasse at Angewandte last week, and the same thing goes for the BA Fashion show by students of the bachelor course for fashion design located in Hetzendorf. 

First up was the show of Angewandte's fashion department, one of the highlights on Vienna's fashion calendar for sure. The air was thick and damp and heavy, but that didn't prevent us from digging the work of Bernhard Willhelm's students. There is quite a lot of Willhelmy stuff around, and a surprisingly great number of collections made me think "that's a little Margiela-ish" or "isn't that one of Miuccia's whims?" (wasn't that a little different some years ago? probably not, and I'm just imagining things - I HAVE been very busy at work lately, so that would be pretty understandable). 

Taro Ohmae from Angewandte (photo: Shoji Fuji)
There was quite some colourful stuff, quirky shoes, some valid criticism of the fashion system, and there was the graduate collection of Taro Ohmae who does BEAU-TI-FUL things together with Tanja Bradaric - as you, dear readers, should be well aware of... Keep it coming, dear fellows (does anybody know when the Willhelm era will come to its end, by the way? was this his last season at Angewandte already? I guess there's one more year to come...?).

Regarding the fashion show of BA Fashion students at Hetzendorf in collaboration with the University of Fine Arts in Linz (phew! always such an effort to get *that* right...), that was quite another thing. I mean, basically it should be just another chapter of the same story, which is or should be about about creativity and being young and a newcomer

But sadly, there is one great difference: the City of Vienna, which used to finance this very fashion course, decided (that was two years ago) that money spent on such a bachelor degree was money spent not wisely enough. 

Isolde Mayer, a Hetzendorf graduate (photo: Jürgen Hammerschmid)
Huh? Yeah, you understood that correctly. First they started it, and then, after three or so years, they said - that's enough, we'll pay for another three years, and then that's that. Quite the contrary of political farsightedness, I'd say. Urgh.

Alina Saavedra Santis, a Hetzendorf graduate (photo: J. Hammerschmid)
The fashion show was marvellous, you'll find images on most Austrian fashion blogs (the same thing is true for Angewandte's show), there were really original ideas in some of the collections and also on how to present fashion (and shoes - with torches, lighting them, as in Isolde Mayer's case, for example; or sitting on a chair pretending to try them on as you would in a shop). 

Lena Marie Fuhrmann, a Hetzendorf graduate (photo: J. Hammerschmid)
24 collections of Hetzendorf graduates being presented at the same time, quite a challenge, and all in all pretty impressive, right? And let me express my hope that some high-ranking person from Vienna's town office was there and will be able to take the right decision for this bachelor course. I will keep you posted, you can take that as a promise ...

... quelques mots en français pour terminer : je viens de vous parler du festival de la mode et de la photographie qui n'a pas encore eu lieu à Vienne cette année, et des grandes attentes que le people a pu avoir à l'égard des défilés des deux universités de mode existant à Vienne. 

En ce qui concerne la fameuse "Modeklasse" de l'Université des Arts Appliqués, les traces de la direction artistique de Bernhard Willhelm ont depuis longtemps pu devenir manifestes - il y avait décidément, çà et là et ailleurs, une influence willhelmoise très, on va dire, bigarée.

Et pour parler de la licence ("bachelor") de mode, cours d'études dirigé par la designer autrichienne Ute Ploier à l'Université de Linz mais situé à Hetzendorf : cela aura été l'avant-dernière fois, tragiquement, qu'on a vu les travaux de ces jeunes gens apparemment très doués défiler car la ville de Vienne, soutien économique principal de ce cours universitaire, a décidé, il y a deux ans, qu'elle allait arrêter ce flux d'argent. Ce qui, trois ans seulement après qu'on avait démarré ce même cours, a surpris par l'absence totale de clairvoyance de la part des responsables politiques. C'est presque surprenant que l'on puisse encore être surpris par une série d'actions dépourvues de sens en politique, mais là, ç'a été fait. On verra bien l'an prochain si la décision a vraiment été prise une fois pour toutes ... 


FLYING fashion VISITOR, misled?

... what a great occasion to revive ParisVienne, which, admittedly, I had neglected these past few weeks and months. Anyhow. There are quite some news: Suzy Menkes (the one fashion critic every fashion critic loves - or loves to hate) was in town to attend the first edition of LINK Jewelry Summit, hosted by the International Herald Tribune. And she wouldn't be one of the world's most prolific fashion writers, had she not seized the opportunity to check out the most luxurious and fashionable sides of Vienna at the same time.

screenshot of the article published by the IHT

But then of course, in a place you are not so familiar with you must rely on the obvious - and on the guides that will accompany you. As far as the obvious is concerned, Mrs Menkes takes a closer look at the city's new "Golden Quarter" in her article entitled "In Seductive Vienna, a New Fashion District" and is quite right when stating that "[w]ealthy Russians looking to invest in bricks and mortar and a swelling number of Chinese visitors have inspired this gilded shopping area in the heart of a city that has been rejuvenated by the opening up of Eastern Europe".

What is of greater interest to anyone warming to the city's radiant fashion scene these past few years though: Mrs Menkes then goes on to examine the local creative crowd and sets out to meet some designers. And I must say, the choices she makes are, at least in part, pretty confusing. While the interest she takes in the work of Lena Hoschek and Susanne Bisovsky is totally justified by repeated appearances of these designers in an international context, I find it interesting that the other names the world's most reputed fashion critic drops in her piece about Vienna are Ina Kent, Madames with a Mission, the Faux Fox fashion showroom and even Barbara Irma Denk with her 7tm initiative.

Mrs Menkes explicitly mentioned Lena Hoschek's work

While Vienna's vibrant fashion hot-spot that the 7th district may well be is absolutely worth being noted (and it has already been, in another piece published by the New York Times, whose "international edition" the International Herald Tribune is - see the "Shop Around" passage of this article) and while the efforts of all the designers that set up shop there can only be admired, I do find it remarkable, and even a little shocking, that Mrs Menkes wasn't introduced to one single designer whose work is aimed at the international market and who does not run a shop or showroom in town.

That leaves me with one or two questions, mainly: who, and why, decided on the people that Mrs Menkes was introduced to, and why did this or these person/s decide to ignore rather acknowledged talents such as Petar Petrov, Ute Ploier, Hartmann Nordenholz, Wendy & Jim or such newcomers as Bradaric Ohmae and Meshit, who can show off recent features in international editions of Vogue etc.? 

fashion by meshit, and many other Viennese labels, 
was not on Mrs Menkes' wish-list

While it is perfectly possible and even excusable that Mrs Menkes does not find the time to thoroughly prepare for a trip to a more "seductive" than actually fashion-forward Vienna, it would have been all the more important (and advisable) for whoever was in charge of showing her around to familiarise her with all facets of Vienna's fashion life.

For after all, the impact of an article drafted by Mrs Menkes is considerable and it might have been of greater help to all the designers that try so hard to maintain themselves on the international fashion circuit than to those who focus on the local market. Mrs Menkes' words could thus have gone beyond the sphere of what tourists can expect to find upon visiting Vienna and have supported the efforts that have been made in the past decade or so. But sadly, a chance has been missed here, and a remarkable one, too ...


FASHIONABLE book worms

... if you're into fashion and literature alike, why not try to bring the two of them together through an appropriate choice of accessories: number one, the tote bag available at the wonderful Strand bookstore, featuring the cover of a vintage mystery novel. Number two, one of Olympia Le-Tan's precious hand-embroidered clutches, for example the "Gattopardo" variant. Up to you to guess which one costs 1,200 euros, and which one 15 dollars ... la littérature et la mode, c'est une combinaison un peu moins évidente que la mode et l'art, mais n'est-elle pas tout aussi convaincante. Pour tous ceux qui aiment les deux, voilà deux accessoires pour souligner vos prédilections : le sac "mystery novel" du fameux bouquiniste The Strand, et la minaudière "Gattopardo", signée Olympia Le-Tan. La différence de prix, entre 15 dollars et 1.200 euros, est bien évidemment minime ...


BAKE A BAG, pack a cake

... as you may know if you read the sister blog of ParisVienne, KaltePlatte.com, I went to New York City to attend fashion week. But of course you don't survive on fashion alone, and so I took some walks up and down Broadway and 5th Avenue to see what's happening in town. When I passed by the windows of the International Culinary Center (founded as the French Culinary Institute) I saw these absolutely adorable and probably very delicious handbag creations. I say bravo to these students from the Cake Techniques and Design programme, they sure know how to transform a fashion accessory into a sweet delicacy ...

... vous aurez peut-être vu sur mon autre blog, KaltePlatte.com, écrit uniquement en allemand, que je suis allé à New York pour la semaine de la mode. Afin d'assurer que je ne rate pas ce qui se passe en ville au-delà de la mode, j'ai essayé de faire le plus de choses possible, de me promener, de garder, comme on dit, les yeux ouverts. C'est ainsi que je suis tombé sur la vitrine du International Culinary Center (qui s'appelait initialement le "French Culinary Institute", vous allez en être fiers, mes chers amis français, n'est-ce pas ?) dans laquelle étaient exposés des créations de pâtisserie des étudiants d'un cours de l'institut. Et je dois dire, jamais un sac signé Chanel n'a eu l'air plus appétisant. Quelle magnifique petite trouvaille ... 



... I recently stayed in Berlin and found out about the Christer Strömholm retrospective at C|O Berlin, which is on until early March. If you happen to be in town, do check out these marvellous photographs - as you can see, he also came up with some rather unconvetional views of Paris ... lors d'un bref séjour à Berlin, j'ai vu l'annonce d'une grande retrospective du travail de Christer Strömholm chez C|O Berlin. Je vous recommande vivement de vous y rendre, surtout et aussi si vous êtes à la recherce de vues peu conventionnelles de la ville de Paris ...



... what an exhibition highlight indeed: Vienna's MAK museum hosts an exhibition focussing on the work of manga artist Tokihiko Ishiki, based on the novel Nippon Shinbotsu/Japan Sinks by Sakoyou Komatsu - open from today ... une vraie délice en termes d'exposition d'art : le musée viennois des arts décoratifs MAK accueillit à partir d'aujourd'hui le travail de Tokihiko Ishiki basé sur le roman Nippon Shinbotsu/Japon en voie de disparition de Sakoyou Komatsu. C'est une vision sombre de la fin du Japon, due à des tremblements de terre ...



an overall view of the new gallery site in Pantin outside Paris,
one of Ropac's "greatest projects" in the course of his lifteime 

... you will be interested to hear that, according to Austrian gallery owner Thaddaeus Ropac Paris will soon (re)claim its role as the world capital of contemporary art. Ropac made this statement in an interview published by the Italian newspaper La Stampa, for which he was interviewed by Alain Elkann. The name rings a bell, well it sure should: Alain is the father of infamous Italian dandy Lapo, no stranger to the world of fashion and glamour. Ropac explicitly pointed out the opening of his new art space in the North-East of Paris as the greatest highlight of his career to date. Click here to read the full version of this interesting interview ...

 Austrian gallery-owner Thaddaeus Ropac talked to La Stampa

... vous serez sans doute soulagés, voire même enthousiasmés, par une affirmation faite par Thaddaeus Ropac dans une interview concédée au journal italien La Stampa. Le galeriste a été interrogé par Alain Elkann (mais oui, c'est bien le papa de Lapo, "enfant terrible" du clan des Agnelli et vedette du monde des très riches et très stylés) à qui il a confié que Paris se (re)affirmera bientôt comme capitale mondiale de l'art contemporain. Quelle joie ! Sinon, Ropac mentionne l'ouverture de son nouvel et très spacieux espace d'art à Pantin comme l'une des apogées de sa carrière, vous pouvez lire le texte dans son intégralité en cliquant ici ... 


A different VIEW

 meshit seen by Daliah Spiegel
... right on time for London Fashion Week (Feb. 15-19), the Austrian Cultural Forum puts together a little fashion showcase in the British capital (nota bene: we're talking about a fashion exhibition and not a commercial showcase that actually supports sales). The title of the whole thing, "Another Austria", is a little yawn-inspiring (we know by now that Austria is about more than yodelling and the Sound of Music, don't we?) but all in all the initiative is sure worth being mentioned. Featured fashion labels include Bradaric Ohmae, meshit and Sophie Skach (who currenty studies in London). Some lectures and a photo exhibition are also part of the deal. Watch out for Monica Titton's lecture on fashion blogging, entitled "From Catwalk to Sidewalk", on Feb. 26 (click here for details)  ...

a look by Sophie Skach as shown at Vienna's 12festival,
photo by Jürgen Hammerschmid

... juste à temps pour la semaine de la mode à Londres, le centre culturel autrichien va accueillir une expo dédiée à la mode autrichienne qui a pour titre "Another Austria". On connaît le principe : l'Autriche, ce n'est pas seulement les montagnes et la musique classique. Ah oui, vraiment..? Car ce n'est pas comme si l'on ne le savait pas d'emblée. Mais bon et tout de même, c'est une belle petite idée (à retenir : il s'agit d'une exposition pure et simple, dépourvu de tout caractère commercial qui puisse aider les créateurs à vendre leurs créations), parmi les designers présentés on compte meshit, Bradaric Ohmae et Sophie Skach (qui vit actuellement à Londres). Je vous invite également à noter le 26 février, date où Monica Titton donnera son opinion sur les bloggueurs de mode (voir ici pour plus de détails) ...


VIENNESE fashion pop-up

... dear ladies and gentlemen, do please watch out for the upcoming edition of the Austrian Fashion Showcase on the Première Classe fashion fair from January 19 - 22 at its Porte de Versailles edition

AFS is a dear and precious initiative for Vienna's fashion scene, powered by the skills of Camille Boyer and Marlene Agreiter. Featured labels include GON by Christina Steiner, Bradaric Ohmae, Wubet and Rose Beck. For more information, click here ...

... mes chers amis, veuillez noter dans vos agendas la date suivante : la prochaine édition du Austrian Fashion Showcase, organisé, comme à chaque fois, par Camille Boyer et Marlene Agreiter, aura lieu à Paris du 19 au 22 janvier. Il s'agit là d'une initiative, je dirais presque incontournable et très importante pour l'ensemble de la mode autrichienne. 
Dans un contexte où il y a de plus en plus de jeunes marques qui essaient de s'imposer, une capsule collective comme cette vitrine autrichienne, faisant partie du salon Première Classe/Porte de Versailles, fait d'autant plus de sens. Bravo et bonne continuation, les filles, et pour les lecteurs recherchant plus d'informations - cliquez ici ...