That 70’s Jiri: Bowie, ‘Shrooms & Stars

Bowie?! Since encountering Jiri Kalfar in Kiev two years ago, I’ve been looking forward to each of his subsequent superbly-sequined shows. The Czech designer now presents at London Fashion Week, which technically lands off the Post-Paris map. However, this is my damn blog. And, Kalfar’s future-oriented vision of retro aesthetics is the stuff of neo-luxury e-dreams. So, let’s go with Bowie…

Diana Ross, Studio 54, Great Gatsby (the one with Jay-Z soundtrack, I presume)… and Bowie, Bowie, Bowie. So many designers misuse Bowie as an adjective and a concept in their mood boards. That’s not a jab at Kalfar, it’s a systemic failure of fashion industry running out of easily sell-able references. Can’t we allow designers to go: “Listen, this season I made new clothes, that is what I do, and no, I do not have a list of comparisons for your hashtags.” Digesting is not the responsibility of the Chef. That said, I am a fan of Kalfar cuisine.

What separates him from peers hungry for a slice of the luxury market is… well, a few things. There is a visceral sense of jubilation (a feeling of great happiness and triumph, – Ed.) in his work. These clothes do not watch the news. Or, perhaps, it is precisely in response to zeitgeist awash in every hue of disaster that these clothes acquire their defiant spirit. It’s less about “Studio 54” hedonism and more about Acts of Beauty as a form of daily Resistance. To the mass hysteria, the mass market. Kalfar uses zero waste patterns, upcycled fabrics and muskin (mushroom leather). Even the signature sequins are recycled. I had shared an anecdote about his objection to owning leather shoes. This season, Kalfar debuts footwear made of corn-wood-derivative materials in collaboration with fellow Czech maverick Oldrich Voyta. In identifying 1970’s (UK-US) cultural moment as pivotal for collection’s development, the press release singles out “the expectation of change” as the era’s defining characteristic. Kalfar delivered on expectation(s). Except…

Menswear. There was more of it from Jiri Kalfar for the spring-summer 2019. Hurrah. Inshallah. Hallelujah. I am all for radically diversifying the sports-suit portfolio of boys’ options. And… despite several on-point looks above, particular experiments in antique silhouetting and modern crop-topping (like, Rome meets Rimini?!) didn’t work for me. There is a line between gender neutral style and gender-neutered fashion. I look forward to Kalfar’s exploration of it further. Hopefully, going as far as my wardrobe one day! 🙂

Kalfar_SS19 (1)
Designer Jiri Kalfar, Spring-Summer 2019 Bow
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