For her latest post, Nobuko Tannawa focuses on Austrian fashion designers. From graduates working in respected fashion houses to cross platform artists, these creators are names to watch out for internationally.
Isabelle Steger graduated from the University of Applied Arts in Vienna in 2008. After contributing to the teams at Maison Martin Margiela and Balenciaga menswear, she also worked as a menswear designer for Jil Sander. Anna-Sophie Berger is currently a fashion student at University of Applied Arts in Vienna. She has worked for Zero Maria Cornejo in New York and has been an intern to Adeline Andé Couture in Paris. Martina Tiefenthaler studied at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. After graduating in 2011 she worked at Maison Martin Margiela, and is currently working at Louis Vuitton in Paris as a womenswear assistant designer for Défilé and Pre collection. She also works on her own projects including a collaboration with Sophie Schultz. FEMME MAISON is run by Franziska Fürpass and Sia Kermani. Designer and creative director Franziska founded the label in 2009 after her graduation. She studied under the direction of Raf Simons and Veronique Branquinho at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. Sia, a mixed-media artist and a former fashion photographer with a Fine Arts background, is mainly responsible for creative branding, visual decisions and management. Nedra Chachoua studied fashion design under Veronique Branquinho and Bernhard Willhelm at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and graduated last year.
What is the theme for this collection?
Isabelle Stegar: It's loosely based on the specifically middle-class endeavors of disconnection from social classification by venturing into convivial forms of entertainment, such as gyms, dance classes, karaoke and web-based social platforms. I was interested in the body as the central, but also most instant, tool for abstraction and recoding in terms of these activities.
Anna-Sophie Berger: It was constructed around a strict limitation, the square. I was interested in early Malevich works and geometric studies as well as with his suprematist philosophy. By limiting my work to a two dimensional shape, I tried to find a solution that would enhance the contrast between the body and textile.
"I was interested in the body as the central, but also most instant, tool for abstraction and recoding in terms of these activities"
Martina Tiefenthaler: I wanted to focus on materials and create monochrome looks. Next to traditional fabrics like loden or pure materials like raw silk, I used furniture and interior fabrics as well as cheap plush. All the silhouettes have surprising moments depending on which side you see them from.
FEMME MAISON: In line with the french philosopher Gaston Bachelard´s book “Poetic of Space”, where he examines locations in the house as places of intimacy and memory, the main focus of the collection is the woman´s body and mind in her psychological home. A landscape of fabrics, colours and shapes, which cover the body and convey an expression of an innocent consciousness.
Nedra Chachoua: My collection is a kind of self portrait: a visual expression of memories of my childhood and the present. It is about the contrast between the summers in Tunisia, which are associated with an ease and an unnamed love for nature and the urban everyday Vienna – two places that could not be more diverse.
What do you think are the characteristics of Austrian fashion, and what you see in the future of Austrian fashion?
Isabelle Steger: I think conceptual and gender non-specific approaches are quite present. There's a promising new set of designers, photographers and stylists. It will be interesting to see if this is going to develop into a distinct common aesthetic.
Anna-Sophie Berger: It is very hard for me to define Austrian design as an entity. Vienna still doesn't have a fashion week in the traditional sense, so there is hardly any overall view on the design. If thinking about my own work, I would say it is dominated by a western, German-Austrian fine art approach, rather then by a tradition of fashion design as such.
"There is also a lot of movement in the design and culture scene in Austria"
Martina Tiefenthaler: I don't think there is a particular Austrian characteristic or style, but I think there are many creative talents in Austria. There is also a lot of movement in the design and culture scene, which is great as it is full of surprises.
FEMME MAISON: Tradition, Minimalism and Understatement are our first thoughts about Austrian fashion in general.
Nedra Chachoua: The fashion scene in Vienna is small, but there are some very talented and interesting designers, who are internationally renowned. Also there are lots of possibilities to obtain grants and support for young designers in Austria, but I hope that one day there will be a bigger awareness of Austrian fashion in Austria itself.
What are your hopes for the future?
Isabelle Steger: I've had so much luck so far, I hope it'll stay that way.
Anna-Sophie Berger: I am very excited about my diploma collection which will be presented in June in Vienna. As a practicing artist, I would love to continue working on my art and design as one, presented and defined on the border of both fields.
Martina Tiefenthaler: I never plan far ahead. I just want to stay active and moving, I think that's what it's all about.
FEMME MAISON: One of our long-term dreams has just come true, as we presented our A/W13 collection for the first time at our own showroom in Paris.
Nedra Chachoua: My dreams are travelling around the world and being successful in doing the things I love.