I don't expect startling surprises to be thrust upon me when in Stockholm Fashion Week. I know the game now. Nonchalent, wearable and easy-going pieces are styled in a way that filtrates down to the achingly cool stance of the way people dress in Stockholm. Wild inspirations often play into subtle resulting collections.
That was definitely me being cocky and complacent. There were two collections today that threw me off track. I'm still waiting for some special bits of content to come through from Bon (those of you at Stockholm Fashion Week who have seen me waving around a mic with a really REALLY tall video dude will know what's up…) and so there's a bit of a posting pile-up. Still, I couldn't not acknowledge at least one of the shockers today. That's shocker as in "Oh my GOSH! That is so NOT what Stockholm Fashion Week is all about… yay someone who bucks the trend!"
Altewai Saome apparently garnered a fair bit of buzz after debuting at Stockholm Fashion Week last season in January (I didn't attend…). I knew next to nothing going in other than it was started by two girls Natalia Altewai and Randa Saome who met each other whilst studying fashion and working for several houses in Italy. With the first look that instantly hit me with oodles of intricate beading, gradiated and patterned to emulate a sports mesh as seen in basketball vests. This then progressed into one outfit after another of surface textural prowess mixed with sportswear-inspired silhouettes. From gym to day to night (and back to gym again?) is the routine that inspired the whole collection where they took great pleasure in balancing out the functional sportswear and embellished eveningwear and feminine nipped-in waists. They picked out 'off' colour combinations that really made the pieces stand out, which I suppose why Marni for instance came to mind. I'm definitely in favour for more 'off' colourists in the world if it means opening my eyes to the wonders of Elastoplast pink, bogey green and Kool-Aid red.
Lick the surface only and you'll detect touches of Prada and Marni but actually I saw this as a melding of a Swedish identity and Italian fashion aesthetic that the girls possess. They deliberately set out to stand out from their Swedish peers and they did so emphatically. Just the number of beads, rectangular sequins and wads of chiffon circles alone puts them in an embellishment league in their own. Yet dotted in amongst the collection are simpler pieces that rely on simple cut and has obvious ease of wear so as to not be overly haughty and inaccessible. Curiously, they already have their own concept store that's located in their basetown Malmo, another oddity in Swedish fashion where most are based in Stockholm. This speak of ambition that is primarily domestic which is definitely wise for such a young label.
It's a little unfair to compare Altewai Saome with say a Carin Wester or Dagmar and thank god for that. Different strokes for different folks is precisely what a burgeoning fashion week like Stockholm needs to break out from its self perpetuating cage of churning out easy-to-wear, well-cut/draped and simple pieces. It certainly makes me want to come back just to see how people like Altewai Saome progress in addition to checking out the 'old' faves and making mental shopping lists.