BUDA + PEST: Central European Fashion Creatures

#Trump isn’t the only geopolitical trainwreck worth following closely. Hungary has had a few real wtf moments as its government veered right and then careened further right… Latest is the decision to withdraw from Eurovision Song Contest on the grounds of it being too gay. While Viktor Orban and Gergely Karácsony sound like great designer names, their political rivalry is a matter of life or death for democracy on the Danube. I wanted to support Hungarian creatives in the trenches of culture wars, so I turned to Central European Fashion Week in Budapest for inspiration. Here are three Hungarian designers whose work impressed my eye, mind and spirit.

TOMCSANYI @tomcsanyi_budapest

Dori Tomcsanyi runs her personal Instagram under a brilliant selfie-savvy motto “National Portrait Gallery of Me“. The intricate dualities in her work reflect complexity of her own family history shaped by the post-war cultural clash of nobility and proletariat. Flowers become patterns that turn into shapes & echo in accessories: this is a collection, proper. The vibe came from the archives of Alfoldi porcelain manufacture which reigned supreme on the domestic wares market across the Eastern block in the 1970s. I loved it! Full collection here.


ARTISTA @artistafashion.official

A design collective run by Katalin Imre, Nóra Rácz & Katalin Stampf is not as minimalist as it might first appear. They advocate “subtle extravagance” and the laconic mosaics & collages fragmented across the garments offer an insight into their urban mindset: today beauty is most often found in the cracks and pauses of information onslaught. This is what quiet presence looks like. I am soooh into it and here for it. Full collection here.


Virag Kerenyi @kerenyivirag

While I’m not easily wowed by bauble, flair and pizzazz, this collection kept my attention from first look through the end. It struck me as… I’ma coin a term: “informed originality”. There is an auteur playfulness to the way seemingly seen-before looks are put together. You cannot quite place them, nor care to. These clothes are like a blind date gone great! The fun of living it up, right the f*ck now. Virag Kerenyi works in film costuming and the Hollywood force is strong with this one. There are references galore, but altogether the vibe is neither derivative nor simulacra-ish. Too many designers in “emergent markets” seem content to be the local Tom Ford or the local Balmain or the local whomsoever (I won’t name names or point fingers, Budapest). This was fresh, insert bravo emoji. I am super excited to closely follow a new-for-me designer now! Full collection here.


P.S. The Instagramcover image for this post comes from Virag Kerenyi; love the art too! 


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