Zuzana Veselá

A sneak peak into the world of a Prague designer for whom good fit matters as much as style

The longer you work in the fashion industry, and the more designers you meet and see, the more you realize there are a lot of people with great ideas but pretty terrible style. I mean, let's be honest with one another for a second: not everyone that comes out of business school is going to be the CEO of some major Fortune 500 company. This is also true of designers.

I usually like to visit showrooms more than once, to get an idea of the clothing, the designer, and to see the workspace. The second time, I usually try on clothes and look at fit, construction, etc. If I don't like it (meaning it's made poorly, no imagination, etc) then I will no longer promote that designer. The biggest problem with clothing is fit... Yes, you heard me -- fit. If an item doesn't fit the way it should, the consumer won't buy it. This is a problem from small designers all the way up to the mass-producers... and it loses a lot of money for the company.

Thursday I took a little trip to Zuzana Veselá's showroom near Vltavská to get to know the designer a bit better, but also to try on clothes. I came almost on time, which is rare for me, and was greeted by a warm and very friendly Zuzana and a very terrible guard dog named Oliver. We took time to look at her sketchbook and to look at patterns, which she makes without the help of the computer -- she's old school! She explained her design process, how she formulates an idea in her head, usually based on colors, and then works out the design from there.

I started with her Fall 2010 collection, the one she showed at Prague Fashion Weekend in September. Most of the items were sample sizes, and since I am not a 14-year-old there was more looking than trying on. As we went through the collection piece-by-piece, she explained why some pieces were slightly asymmetrical. If a customer liked the tailoring on one of the garments, it could, theoretically, be changed to fit her style. But, to be honest, the differences are so subtle that you would be hard-pressed to find them unless you knew what you were looking for.

Zuzana was in the process of finishing her Spring/Summer 2011 line for the Modepalast show in Vienna. (She already has a large following in Vienna and Viennese women are hungry for her designs.) The black shirt dress, in a lightweight cotton, has wonderful tonal black sequins on the collar and shoulders that would be office-appropriate and after-office-appropriate for dinner and drinks. It's stylish and professional, though we both agreed that it would need a belt so that the wearer could get the most out of this dress. And at 1,100CZK it is honestly a steal!

The mushroom-colored faux wrap dress will also come in a variety of colors. Wine-red and black are, of course, my two favorites and I plan on buying the wine-red colored dress for my birthday. Again, it's a fabulous LBD (little black dress) or LWRD (little wine-red dress) should you be in the market for a new one. The dress hits at the knee but my favorite part is that it pulls you in in all the right places and accentuates all of the lovely areas that we ladies love! Smaller waist... YES PLEASE! The dress will set you back a modest 1,950CZK -- still cheaper than your common Zara variety.

Zuzana sells to a few shops around Prague but if you are interested in seeing the designer's work first-hand, it's best to make an appointment and go to her showroom. If going to a showroom is too intimidating, Zuzana often shows her work at the bigger shows in Prague and around Central and Eastern Europe. The next one where you can see Zuzana's work is the Design & the City happening in June.

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