Tuesday 26 February 2019

Ottolinger's New World Order

The sci-fi universe of Ottolinger and a skewed take on the denim jacket at the AW19/20 show in Paris. Photographed for DAM by Elli Iaonnou.
A Chinese sci-fi novel, a decontructivist aesthetic and a robust treatment of textiles were at the heart of Ottolinger's new Autumn/Winter 2019 collection. Heightening, the post-apocalyptic drama was the show's sense of chaos and disruption created by big screen projections, flashing lights and metallic sound, writes Jeanne-Marie Cilento. Reporting and photography by Elli Ioannou

The dramatic finale of the Ottolinger show
in Paris
SWISS designers Christa Bösch and Cosima Gadient used Liu Cixin's Chinese science fiction trilogy, The Three Body Problem, as the starting point for their new collection.

This was the second time the pair, who are based in Berlin and call their label Ottolinger, showed on the official calendar for Paris fashion week. For the new season, they chose the Lycée Jacques Decour, and its 19th wooden century theatre, as the backdrop to the new collection.

 During the show, a large screen projection, flashing lights and loud metallic sounds were meant to disturb the audience while the models filed past in a collection of distressed, asymmetrical and yet sporty creations. The aim was to create a sense of apocalyptic disorder suggesting that chaos is needed for creativity and innovation to flow.
Bösch and Gadient used Liu Cixin's Chinese science fiction trilogy, The Three Body Problem, as the starting point for their new collection

 Ruched & bunched silvery fabric
made a form fitting dress
The designers have created a certain ethos for Ottolinger that incorporates asymmetry and ripped fabrics that sit close to the body. Idiosyncratic pieces included skirts printed with photographs of a Swiss folkloric tradition where people wear models of their house as hats at the start of the new year.

The design duo like deconstruction and experimenting with textiles and the new collection included a mix of plaids, checks, flannel, denim and knits.

But sportswear is their base from ski looks that seem like space outfits to more tailored pieces such as short tartan twinsets in vivid greens and oranges.

On the catwalk there were black, shiny vinyl looks, dresses with ruches and asymmetric cuts, and Bösch and Gadient's experiments with deconstructing tartans and plaids.

The designers have said they like to drape on the body to create their designs and this gives the pieces a good fit.

The design duo like deconstruction and experimenting with textiles and using a mix of plaids, checks, flannel, denim and knits

Plaids and checks in fluorescent
colours had asymmetric shapes
and raw edges
Jackets and tops were combined with slender trousers and multiple zippers were used outside as elements to heighten the form of the body. Fabric was bunched up to create skirts and bustiers that managed to look both avant-garde and elegant. The designers like to create beauty from unusual elements and enjoy skewing the angle of jackets and dresses and keeping edges raw.

Fantasy is the conceptual part of the show and the futuristic sportswear embodied the designers' vision. They saw this collection as a space opera where the ordinary is combined with the fantastic.The idea of sportswear is taken further this season yet enhances the feminine silhouette such as the green paisley silk looks.

The designers' quote from the writer of the Chinese sci fi novel  gives some inkling of the oblique way the pair create their collections: “Coming up with a new speculative idea that moves me profoundly. Then I plan out a story around this seed. Finally, I create the characters to serve the story. My method of composition inevitably leads to stories in which the speculative idea is the core."

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