German designer Melitta Baumeister was last seen at New York Fashion Week in 2014 as part of a group show put on by VFiles’ incubation program. Since then, she’s brought her buoyant sculptural forms to Paris, returning to the United States for spring to make her solo debut, this time as a 2023 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund nominee.
“It’s an amazing community that opens so many doors,” Baumeister said during her presentation, which took place inside of a raw-space in Chinatown. She was thinking about the power of an eye-catching look to open doors as well, adding, “To wear amazing clothes is like a magic trick. You become something else, you get in touch with new people, you have different conversations.”
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Any look from this collection would surely spark a few conversations on the street. Snakes wound their way through it with rubber ones scattered about the concrete floor. Their slithering curves were inspired the way the models walked: two were mic’d-up to a choreographer who gave out instructions, leading like heads, while others to followed like tails.
Snakes also showed up the clothes, both as linked tubes engulfing the body on a pair of black dresses and as prints, which had a tattoo effect on transparent body stockings used for layering.
Baumeister’s signature pleating and lampshade hemlines with foam inserts were used for tank tops, ankle-length skirts and smock dresses with raised waists in shades of acid green and traffic cone orange. Puff-sleeves added a Victorian feel, as did ruching in a new crunchy nylon.
It was clear Baumeister was thinking about giving her conceptual designs more street-cred. “I really wanted to keep using lightweight fabrics and have wearability,” said the designer, who has become a fixture in cutting-edge retailers like Dover Street Market, H. Lorenzo, Atelier and Ant/Dote.
Leaning into the denim and gorpcore trends, XXL sweatshirts, trucker jackets, and drawcord windbreakers with cape sleeves were a cooler take on her signature trapeze line.
Launch Gallery: Melitta Baumeister RTW Spring 2024
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