Code:Mode Spring 2011 Runway Reviews, Part One

Heather O'Brien casts a critical eye over Punktura, Laary Faary, Jane Bond and Love Music

There comes a time when we need to ask our designers a couple of questions regarding fashion shows. Fashion shows are about theatrics, about getting the audience's or, in this case, the consumer's and journalist's attention, so that person goes to your store and buys your product or writes about it for print or in an online blog.

Other nagging questions should always be: Was their show innovative? Did it push boundaries? Was it fun? Was it the same as previous seasons but with a new belt or new color roll? Was it the same old, boring, tired clothes that I see everywhere in Prague?

There are many great crafters in this city, but very few "designers" -- ones with an innovative spirit to make not only exceptional clothes or accessories but, more importantly, are sale-able to the majority of the population.

So, designer by designer, we enter Saturday's show. I am sure not all will be pleased with my opinion but alas, it is mine.

Punktura and Laary Faary
Partly cloudy with a chance of sun

I am not the ideal consumer for Punktura and Laary Farry, but there are plenty of people in the Czech Republic who are. However, this does not take away from the fact that screen-printed shirts are screen-printed shirts and should be used minimally. Punktura's fashion show was strange and slow. The fashion for Spring 2011 was grungy '90s in combination with "catchy" war slogans and concert verbiage that gets lost on a lot of people. It reminds me of the stuff that you saw a lot of among the hipster crowd in London, Paris, and New York in the mid-2000s.

The Laary Faary show, which came directly after Punktura, had more upbeat music (French electropop) and models of varying shapes and sizes. There was a mix of denim and linen, as well as printed cotton and it at least pushed the boundaries of conventional silhouettes using different fabrics. Unfortunately, some of the shapes lost their impact on the model's bodies. Some puffed out in all the wrong places (tummy and hips), others were too shear, while some looked like they could make the wearer "scantily clad" given a nice strong Prague breeze. I think once the designers get their tailoring fine-tuned they will be a force to be reckoned with.

Jane Bond
The ever-whimsical designer produces a carnival

A perfectionist and detail-driven woman at heart, Jana of Jane Bond fame, spared no expense for her fashion show. Surface Professional Make-up School prepared each model individually, with big eyelashes and bold make-up the focal points. The girls, who all came out with bubble-hemmed trash bags synched at the waist, bobbed along with the music as they strutted down the runway. Naked Barbies cut off from the waist; a cocktail umbrella headband that in fact made a hat; multi-layered butterflies; and doodad headbands straight out of Doctor Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas all featured.

As the dance music faded, Brazilian carnival music started blaring through the speakers and out came the lovely ladies of TinglTangl, a drag show here in Prague). Wearing five-inch heels and dancing the samba they stole the show and the evening as glitter and confetti rained down around them!

Love Music
1950s meets screen-printing meets car show

At first, I was confused as to whether or not I was at a fashion show or at a boxing match/car show -- you know, when models strut around in bathing suits holding big signs. There were no models in bikinis; just screen-printed T's again. (Seriously, what is with that?) Once the music started (a Justin Timberlake remix), the Betty Page look-a-likes started walking out. My favorite T of the night was a shirt that featured a picture of a panelák (Communist-era panel building) with the slogan "Home Sweet Home" written across the top. I liked the play on Czech society and thought it was clever and well thought-out. As girl after (Page) girl walked out, we saw paparazzi taking pictures, then a girl smoking onstage before very quickly rounding the corners of the square runway to make her escape backstage, all culminating in the throwing of heavy flyers into the crowd once the show was done.

There were some real winners in part one and people who will be real winners in the future. I like the ideas behind Laary Farry and I liked some of the T-shirt ideas behind Love Music, though I am not the biggest fan of screen-printed T's. If you want to watch the video yourself, here's 12 uninterrupted minutes:

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