At MBPFW it Takes a Village
What you come away with after attending MBPFW in Prague is a general sense that the whole city is rooting for and supporting the continued success of the fashion week. From local stores, and fashion schools to embassies, restaurants and hotels, its seems as if everyone pitched in to help show off the best that local fashion has to offer. Even the way the fashion week is organized is designed to make it as user friendly and engaging as possible.
One great example of a clever initiative is simply the way the fashion shows are presented. Instead of one show every hour, the organization has adopted a back to back alternative. So that in the space of 30 minutes two full fashion shows can be seen, one right after the other, which leaves more time between shows to explore the city, go backstage to speak to the designers in person or have an opportunity to catch up on work piling up back at the office.
Another smart move has been the choice to change the venue for the fashion week each season. Thus giving returning international press the opportunity to discover new locations on each visit. In fact, this season there was a real effort to include even more of the city into the fashion week with shows taking place in a number of picturesque locations. And each of the settings beautifully enhanced the message of the individual fashion shows that took place.
“We do our best to support every attempt at an original approach to a catwalk show,” says MBPFW CEO Lukáš Loskot, who housed the main stage of the fashion week on the gutted 5th floor of the Kotva department store in the heart of the city. Other enticing locations included the historic Lobkowicz Palace, the Hauch Gallery in Karlín and the Four Seasons Hotel Prague.
Menswear was particularly strong this season in Prague. Both Jan Cerny, who currently has an internship at Louis Vuitton in the menswear department and Adam Kost presented original collections that showed off not only unique points of view but also a clear understanding of craftsmanship and tailoring. While the debut collection of the knitwear designer Bozidara , and the interactive show by Petra Ptáčková underlined the fact that the creative waters run deep in the Czech Republic. And seeing stores like The Room by Basmatee and SmetanaQ, which carry and support these local talents, drove home the message that Prague is very proud of its own.
“What I really appreciated about Prague’s fashion week is the enthusiastic energy that all designers channeled into their collections. Even though is hard to define an established fashion, the younger generation reacts much more with local fashion and support it as much as they can, “ confirmed Riccardo Terzo, a stylist and contributing editor to Italian Vogue, who was in town scouting for Vogue Talents.
Terzo went on to recount an antidote about how strong the local support is of its home grow designers. “I was in a store next to the show venue and I was holding a keychain / invitation for Cerny’s show and the cashier asked me how was the show, what do I think about the design etc. That meant a lot to me; it’s the same for all other designers supported by local clients. I don’t know if all of them are ready for the international market but still they try.”
A good indicator that a brand that shows at one of these fashion weeks has the ability to make it on a global scale is to track how strong their local clientele is. Already Cerny has a big grass roots following, and Kost has a design maturity beyond his years. The key thing now for MBPFW is to find a way to help nurture these young talents as they grow and evolve. To find a way to entice them to continue to show in their home country as their notoriety builds. Luckily it looks as if there is a lot of good will in Prague to do just that.
“The energy is surprisingly unexpected and that’s a good vibe for the future,” pronounced Terzo. “Those designers that we met will be the new ‘established’ ones, we just need to wait and witness what will happen.”
Jessica Michault is the Senior Vice President of industry relations at GPS Radar by Launchmetrics. She is also the editor-at-large for ODDA magazine and contributes to publications like the New York Times, the Business of Fashion, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and Mixte magazine.
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