Prague Fashion Weekend 2011 Review

Heather O'Brien offers her verdict on this year's two-day fashionista celebration on Pařížská

As the temperature hovers around 10 degrees C, let's look back to a few weeks ago, when the autumn weather was more Indian summer than gray, cold drizzle, and models sauntered down a manmade runway on Pařížská. Prague Fashion Weekend was attended by more than 17,000 people, who spent most of Saturday and Sunday circling around the catwalk like vultures. They were there to witness an annual event that takes over Old Town Square for a weekend of glitz and glamour! If you were one of the lucky few in possession of a VIP pass or with access to the press pit, then consider yourself lucky. Elbowing for a coveted position aside, the fashion shows of prominent Czech designers, and Nina Ricci's all-star fashion show, featuring world-class model Hana Soupková, proved to be the icing on the cake that this city was looking for.

In the New Fresh Style category it was the stand-out Slovak designer Viktoria Vittori, just 24 years of age, who stole the show and won the competition, walking away with 100,000 CZK to help launch a new collection. Viktoria's designs are known for their simplicity in silhouette and this fashion show was no exception. In her own words, her collection titled The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa "captured elements of religion and eroticism in feminine silhouettes emerging from freely falling ruffled material."

It's fair to say that most of us know that there is a "hunger" for fashion in Prague. Having a weekend like Prague Fashion Weekend "makes fashion accessible for the broad public and not only for VIPs," explains Aneta Kračmarová, part of Prague Fashion Weekend's organizing team. "It's what makes [Prague] different from other cities where fashion weekends and weeks are held." And this is very true. Anyone has tried to get into a fashion show in Berlin, New York or Paris knows that unless you are a friend, a VIP, a member of the press, or someone who "looks" special, there is a high probability that you are not getting past the burly bouncer standing out front of the tents.

When I wasn't running around looking at collections, waiting to get a glimpse of the runway, and admiring the fashionistas, patiently waiting in some of the tallest heels I have ever seen, I was off drinking coffee, asking innocent bystanders what they thought of the shows/weekend, and messaging designers to ask just when I could go see their collections in person.

All in all, I think it was a good weekend. Yes, some of the clothes looked a little too familiar and it would have been nice to have a theme less clichéd than "clothing in the future", but the likes of Zuzana Veselá, Brice Mensah, E.Daniely, La Femme Mimi and Beata Rajská stayed with clear tailoring, thoughtful designs, and a wearability that, in the end, translates into sales for the designer and good clothes for you, the consumer.

I am looking forward to next year's Prague Fashion Weekend and, with any luck, maybe next year I will finally get to sit down and enjoy the show at closer proximity.

• For more of Benjamin Vales's photography, see:

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