The newest Wunderkind fashion collection that was paraded today in Potsdam shows that Wolfgang Joop is still a first class designer.
It was a festive affair where the 100 invited guests were delighted by the short, yet spectacular show. Most of those there were the in-the-know fashionisats who already love the Wunderkind label and representatives of German and international press. Some of the more prominent guests who nearly stole the show were favorite Joop models Nadja Auermann, Isa von Hardenberg and Angelica Blechschmidt, the former head of German Vogue.
The show was held in the spacious formal salon of the Rumpf Villa, which is the company's home and where the first collection was shown in 2003. This time it was a smaller, more subdued affair. Being out of the public eye can be very dangerous in the fashion world; Wunderkind sat out both collection shows in 2011. This collection is the first to be publicly shown since the Spring/Summer collection show in Paris in October 2010 and marks the comeback of the Wunderkind label.
Wolfgang Joop showed critics his fashion label 'Wunderkind' still has what it takes to woo audiences.
Distraction of daily life
Earlier this year, Joop locked himself away for 10 days in Marrakech in a traditional Moroccan Riad and sketched. This isolation let him concentrate on letting his creativity flow without the distractions of daily life. He emerged with sketches for his newest collection. The location lent itself to fantasy and an imaginative new collection. “I thought about the Oriental dream of Yves Saint Laurent. The beautiful people.” Many facets of this orientalism spoke to him and influenced the new designs: “Onion shapes, and the veils, covered up … that's very couture.”
After everyone was seated, bright floodlighting came on to light the space. Music played and the first model entered. The show started with black pieces. Slowly color was introduced until colorful checkered patterns and wild leopard prints took over the catwalk. Near the end, Joop gave a nod to Prussian-inspired jackets with thickly embroidered orders and medals.
Describing the new collection Joop says that, as always, it is not meant for the red carpet or other specific occasions. It is simply beautiful and can be worn anywhere. “Wunderkind has grown up a bit. It's more sophisticated, more elegant, but still with a sense of humor… It is not a collection for a certain country, for a certain budget, or for a certain type of woman. But it evokes emotion all over the world and has found many fans.”
Though Wunderkind is always a bit eccentric, it is created to make women feel elegant. With the high-end fashion he creates, Joop tries to mirror the changes going on around him, but at the same time be cutting edge. Like many artists, his whole biography can often be read in his work. “A dress is not fashion. Clothing is not fashion. Fashion is the way we live.”
The German designer said “A dress is not fashion. Clothing is not fashion. Fashion is the way we live.”
On the up
After a bad year in 2011 when the Wunderkind brand seemed destined to fail, this collections launch demonstrates that Joop is very much back on the fashion scene. Wunderkind was wounded, but did not die. He took time off to buy back all the shares of the company and to reassemble his all-important team. Though creativity can often be a lonely and melancholy process “with lots of self critique”, Joop is still able to be the impulse that gives his group the push to create beautiful things. But with humility not often seen in the fashion world he admits that he is “only as good as his team”. Besides creating the shows pieces, Joop also designed all the fabric prints and accessories.
Only 1000 garments will be produced as compared to around 10,000 in past seasons. It is a more restrained approach than in the previous years. Joop sees a modern proclamation that says; “that's our statement and that's all.” Nothing more will be made. What is available will be ready in June. For the time being, Joop says he will stick to women's fashion, aiming to show two main collections a year.
Most big-name designers work for conglomerates. Unlike them, Joop is self employed. It is only in this regard that he can be seen as old fashioned: “I am still a dinosaur. Like Yves Saint Laurent or Dior, I am the creative entrepreneur.” And since Joop is paying the bills himself perhaps a bit more restraint is in order. In the months leading up to the show, pre-selection and elimination were extremely important. He and his team not only had to pare down to a reasonable number of pieces, but also find the best: “I had to concentrate on the sketches and decide which were the most important. We decided to do no more than 30 outfits. It is surely harder to create 30 than 3000.” This show was an homage to his late mother who worried about what would happen to Wunderkind. Unfortunately she was not able to see her son triumph.
Author: Timothy A. Rooks
Editor: Jessie Wingard