Wednesday 29 September 2021

Paris Fashion Week: Vibrant and Versatile Designs at Victoria/Tomas

The lively Victoria/Tomas runway show in Paris, with a model wearing a neon-hued jacket worn with a black shirt and long shorts that are all reversible. Cover picture and this image by Elli Ioanou for DAM Magazine

This Spring/Summer 2022 season at Paris Fashion Week, Chanel, Valentino, Dior, Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton return to physical shows while many other brands remain digital due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Victoria/Tomas was one of the independent labels who had a full runway show to present their new reversible designs, aimed at making fashion more sustainable, writes Jeanne-Marie Cilento. Photographs by Ell Ioannou

At the finale of their show in Paris, 
designers Victoria Fejdman and 
Tomas Berzins take their bow
FRENCH designers Victoria Feldman and Tomas Berzins have made their latest collection about creating imaginative reversible pieces, following on from the last two seasons experimenting with this theme. The designs can be worn showing one set of colours and patterns and then when turned inside out there is another design and hue. You have two different outfits in the one creation. This is aimed at reducing the amount of clothes people buy and going towards lessening the fashion landfill. 

The duo also love mixing up art, design and music into their shows. This season, after a year's hiatus, they collaborated with Edward Crutchley. His work features in prints and on their crisply-designed leather accessories. While Cyril Lancelin created the towering, inflatable pyramid of fuchsia pink, forming the centrepiece of the runway. The show was held in Paris' 10th arrondissement at La Caserne, a complex for new fashion and design, to live music by French musician Lewis OfMan. It didn't rain and the sun shone as models criss-crossed the concrete of the open courtyard.

Against the subdued hues of the 19th century buildings, the rotund pink installation and the exuberant clothes made a dynamic contrast, The collection included neon separates with sharp tailoring, some finished with fluidly-flowing fringes. The vivid colours were combined with a subtle range of streetwear that was more low-key and comfortably slouchy. 

French designers Victoria Feldman and Tomas Berzins love mixing up art, design and music into their shows

A long, fringed reversible jacket
and pants in vivid hues
The designers like to collaborate with artists from different backgrounds. The inflatable pyramid at the heart of the catwalk was part of their inspiration for the collection. Cyril Lancelin wanted to highlight the name of the collection, Mirage. The artist also uses recycled materials which works with the ethos of Feldman and Berzins. 

The prints by Edward Crutchley have a Surrealist look and add to the artistic motifs of the collection, The designers wanted the sand, khaki and greige colors to suggest the calm of a desert which would then be enlivened by the clothes' fluorescent colours and the frenetic rhythm of Lewis Ofman's live performance. 

The collection was inspired by the optical phenomenon where light rays bend via refraction to produce a displaced image of distant objects, in fact, a mirage. Like the last two seasons, the collection is 100% reversible. And the designers wanted to make the collection all embracing, with short skirts for men and voluminous suits for women.

Highlights included the fringed, reversible jackets in brilliant hues like butter-yellow and burnt-orange, along with sporty miniskirts with zip fastenings and well-cut shirts with black on one side and a bright colour on the other. The shirtdresses were embellished with appliqué and looked easy to wear as well as having a loose and unique graphic style. 

Some of the well-designed leather cross-body bags were finished with pastel hues like a night sky, one colour merging with another, look particularly appealing. They should be best-sellers. The roomy trench coats in grey and beige have open shoulders, allowing them to also be worn sleeveless. Some of the suits were overlaid with tulle on the reverse, giving the utilitarian outfits a softer look. 

Like the last two seasons, the collection is 100% reversible. Customers get more wear out of their clothes and buy less of them 

Open shoulders, reversible colours
and long zips allow the wearer
to create different looks from
one outfit 
When Feldman and Berzins were developing their new reversible concept, they called it binôme, meaning in pairs. They also wanted all of their creations to be made in their atelier in Paris or at least in France. 

Berzins was initially concerned that there would a good side and another that wasn't so "cool". To get around this, they created one that was more pragmatic for day wear while the other would more glamorous for the evening. 

The French ready-to-wear brand was originally founded by Victoria Feldman and Tomas Berzins in 2012. They first met at fashion school in Paris. Berzins then went on to New York to work for Alexander Wang before coming back to France to launch Victoria/Tomas. This was only four years after they graduated from college.

Their aim was to create wearable separates for urban, city-dwelling people that need pieces that are both functional and have a sense of uniqueness and whimsy. While Berzins is inspired by the skater world and hip-hop, Feldman loves art and avant-garde fashion.  

The designers' collections are meant to evoke an art sensibility with dynamic forms and brilliant dashes of luminous colour. This venture with reversible designs is taking the label in another innovative direction, allowing their customers to get more wear out of their clothes and buy less of them. 

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