First, He Takes Manhattan: Jiri Kalfar FW’19

It’s hard to know when one “has arrived” now. Is it the follower count? An influencer deal? A fast fashion rip-off? A conglomerate buy-out? Old School, it used to be up to New York. If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere. Czech designer Jiri Kalfar took his latest collection to New York Fashion Week. After the rounds of the Euro-circuit, I wondered if his aesthetic could take root in US soil: “gold, lace, faux fur, existential glitter, fabulous as an action verb, and a burning heart.” Americans are more accustomed to heartburn: excessive egos, calories, Fox News ‘n all that. However, I myself had pointed out Bruce Springsteen vibes in his designs two years ago! That’s certified Americana. So, how did it go?!

To succeed, global designers must recognize they’re selling to like-minded individuals, not countries. You do you, goes the meme wisdom. This collection was inspired by Eugene Oneginan Alexander Pushkin novel-in-verse immortalized by Pyotr Tchaikovsky as an opera. Kalfar was trained as a ballet dancer, such classics is a fitting reference… Wait. A. Minute. To launch his brand in the United States, he brought a Russian collection?! #GTFO, that’s hysterically brilliant. Kalfar for Fashion President! His signature shade of red suddenly seems glaringly counter-revolutionary. The designer is having much fun as do his high-fiving supermodel muses as does the audience. That’s a win-win-win. The real #ArtOfTheDeal … He should expect quite a few new like-minded customers. Judging by the yes-please coverage in outlets as divergent as Page SixCFDA, or A Shaded View on Fashion, Kalfar has, indeed, arrived. I wonder where he’s going next?!

P.S. Speaking of fast fashion rip-offs. It’s all data until it happens to you. In December, a fellow fan (could we call ourselves Jiriatrix or Kalfarians?!) shared with me ZARA’s holiday line which looked exactly like Jiri’s previous collection. On one hand, glitter & sequins are a fashion staple. No one owns glitter. Well, except, maybe, Mariah #JusticeForGlitter Carey! On the other hand, Kalfar has made shine-bright-like-a-diamond his signature aesthetic. This sh*t happens all too often. How much thievery is it possible to get away with?! I don’t have snappy comebacks or practical solutions. Y’all, support local designers by buying directly from those who invest their everything into original work.


ZARAP.P.S. The title references a Leonard Cohen song. Or rather, its Joe Cocker cover 🙂


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