Every year, hundreds of thousands of tourists settle in Budapest. A paradise of debauchery, the pearl of the Danube has become a European sex Mecca. With its cheap productions invading Pornhub's homepage, adult films bring in more than a billion euros to the economy. As long as not near a school or church, prostitution is legal there. Add to that the fact that the country is still too broke to adopt the euro, and buses full of virgins will arrive the summer before they enter college.
Yet a few weeks ago, locals witness another kind of visitor arrive. Hidden behind the dark glasses of their large specs, they seem to pay no attention to the peculiar pleasures offered by the capital: in town just for three days, they only answer the call of the shows... While it still lacks visibility, how does the Hungarian fashion week stand out? Why is it important? Who are the most promising designers?
"Budapest: the it-bags behind the bukakkes", a document by 60 Minutes.
Towards a larger scale
Before 2015, Budapest hosts two independent fashion weeks, which tend to look more like a regional fair than a global event. The game changes when Mercedes-Benz chooses to place its big money there, strengthening its presence in the catwalk word (the dealer is the main sponsor of the New York, Berlin, Beijing and Australian versions, editor's note). Under its leadership, the two entities merge, thus benefiting from a new scope.
Named Budapest Central Europe Fashion Week (BCEFW), its particularity lies in the fact that it is not only aimed at Hungarian designers. From the Czech Republic to Romania, Poland and Ukraine, it stands as a real creative hub for a whole fringe of the Old Continent. A heterogeneous fashion, crossed between the post-Soviet wave of the East and the luxury of the West.
On the shopping side, it represents a significant advantage: the majority of brands opt for local production in factories which, while developing their know-how — Romania in particular is an expert in suitmaking —, limit costs more than any other Italian manufacturer. In short, your wallet will thank you.
During a crucial occasion to succeed in anchoring themselves in the world-wide landscape, fifty labels present their vision of next winter. We focus on four of them, determined to make a difference.
The highlights of a growing event
Nanushka, coming back hom(m)e
You've probably already seen Nanushka's best-seller, a vegan leather down jacket, on a bunch of Intagirls. Founded in 2005, the label quickly establishes itself as the flagship of Hungarian fashion by joining the shelves of Net-A-Porter, Farfetch and SSSENSE. When it arrives at the Galeries Lafayette, the entire stock it sold-out in just one week (source Hungary Today, ed.).
Used to showing during New York fashion week, it chooses to bring back its last collection to its native country: a great support for the BCEFW. Entitled "Mystery Child", it also introduces the brand's first men's creations. Baby-pink suits rub shoulders with organza trench coats, creating masculine-feminine silhouettes that complement each other perfectly. On this subject, the designer says, "I see a kind of fluid link between the genres. I really have the impression that [...] fashion is moving in this direction, without distinction". If we'll personally skip the lila-coloured thigh-high boots, we can already see ourselves in the ecru leather western shirt...
Marco Rambaldi, an Italian in Hungary
After his debut at Dolce & Gabbana, and winning first prize in many national competitions, the young Bolognese designer launches his own label in 2017.
Included in the official Milan calendar, he is invited to present "Femmina", his fourth collection, in Budapest. Paying tribute to the icon of Italian feminism Marcella Campagno, he draws inspiration from all the avatars she embodies in the photo series "Roles" immortalized in 1976. Focusing on the art of tailoring, Marco Rambaldi also immerses himself in the typical motifs of this decade to create a wardrobe of character, capable of accompanying women in any situation.
Cukovy's eco-conscious puzzle
Brigitta Csukovics, at the head of Cukovy, is not lacking in imagination. For her winter closet, she looks at broken glass fragments, interlocking but detachable. She then brings the same spirit to her clothes, designed like a puzzle where each piece lends itself to the others. Jackets with removable sleeves, evolving dresses... Something to literally compose your outfits, by playing with volumes and details.
Best of all? 95% of the materials used are recycled. We look forward to the e-shop, still in development...
NEIGE, Warsaw's streetwear
When a fashion week appears, it tends first to highlight women's collections. Originally from Poland, NEIGE is one of the few BCEFW labels that also has a complete menswear line. From accessories to clothing, the label manages to capture the spirit of the times. Mixing registers, it proposes a racy and modern streetwear, on which one cannot help but drool — its "made in Poland" prices not helping our frenzy.
Thus, although still discreet, Central Europe's fashion scene is full of talent, many of which are within reach of our empty purses. With no shortage of energy or ideas, these designers prove that Budapest has more to offer than orgasms... •