London Fashion Week Day 1: Napsugar von Bittera

On the first day of London Fashion Week, Fashion Scout introduced me to Napsugar von Bittera with a beautiful presentation and I am already obsessed with her creations.  Napsugar hails from Budapest and here and later in Austria she began her career as a film costume designer before starting her own label in 2009.  Her big break came in 2010 when Dolce & Gabbana chose her from 500 designers for their multibrand Spiga 2 store in Milan.

The autumn/winter collection offered today by Napsugar was full of cultural references; her signature piece, the laser-cut leather jacket, stole the show.

The presentation, located in the beautiful Freemason Hall, intrigued me from the start.  Awaiting guests were giant props: two comic bubbles, a red popsicle and a vintage rd and white popcorn bag, accompanied by airplane seats.  The influence of the fifties and sixties popart movement was clear, giving some hints on what to expect.  French electro pop music played in the background, as models appeared sporting voluminous hairstyles a la Brigitte Bardot.  They represented the perfect image of the typical gamine francaise; the looks masculine but edgy and seductive.

The prevailing colours were ultramarine blue, white and black – almost always in leather – with grey and red.  The looks were simple but of great impact, the silhouette revolving around the geometries of cubist architecture, with clear cuts, oversized screen-printed jumpers with loose trousers.  Nothing appeared too pointy, always transmitting great femininity.

The printed gowns reveal a more feminine side to the collection without losing the provocateur element.  The combination of the key colours, volumes and shapes reminded me of the painting of Piet Mondrian and the collection that Yves Saint Laurent designed around his works in 1965.

Leather was the protagonist in the more technical pieces; jackets with exposed gold zippers matched the glittery golden eyebrows of the models.  Everything in the collection was studied and presented in great detail, including a special appearance of the Prima Ballerina of the Budapest Opera, representing femininity par excellence.

The models were also involved in the collection’s concept.  Their attitude was sometimes impatient, distracted and disinterested: the only thing missing seemed to be cigarette dangling loosely from their fingertips.  The clothes, designs and actions repeated by the models make up part of the larger storyline: an accurate representation of modern life, often frenetic and constantly on the move, reflected through the airplane seats.  The deep influence of consumer society is plain to see with the giant props.

I had the opportunity to interview the lovely Napsugar and she was extremely excited to be in London. She has featured six times at Paris Fashion Week but this was her first real presentation, telling me that she preferred the London experience where everything was organised wonderfully – particularly regarding her props which came from York.  We spoke of the cultural references in the collection and her choice to have a classical dancer in the show: the silhouette of the ballerina is one of the most feminine, she said.  Expressing my curiosity for the attitude of the models and the choice of having them acting a part, Napsugar explained that it is fundamental for her to always have a sense of humour.

Napsugar, which in Hungarian means sunshine, presented a cohesive collection guided by a sixties colour thread, mixed with the shapes of modernity.  The looks are strong and carefully put together but there’s a constant playful exchange between the garments.  Napsugar was quite literally a warm ray of sunshine during a cold and cloudy day of typical London weather.  As the line from Casablanca mixed in the playlist of the show goes, ‘I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship’.

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