she seems a bit like the Austrian equivalent of Betsey Johnson. is anyone else a fan of her work?
Americana in Berlin, With Thanks to Elvis
Austrian Designer Aims to Bring Back Curvy by Way of Bettie Page, Fellini and Styles That Blend Innocence With Sass
Graz, Austria In Lena Hoschek's "La Dolce Vita" collection, fashion meets Fellini.
The Austrian designer kicked off Berlin fashion week on Wednesday with a show that drew inspiration from the Federico Fellini film of the early 1960s. But the 30-year-old Ms. Hoschek added her own spin, including bright colors and bold patterns, like fire-engine reds or flashy white-and-black stripes. Models sauntered down a runway that looked like a traditional Italian piazza wearing beehive hairstyles. In the background played up-tempo Italian-themed music from the 1950s like Rosemary Clooney's "Mambo Italiano."
One of the most striking looks was a strapless dress with a fitted bodice and flared, knee-length skirt made of 75 yards of ribbons hand-sewn together. Rebecca Mir, a finalist on this year's "Germany's Next Top Model" TV reality show, walked the runway in a floor-length sunflower-yellow dress of French muslin that bounced with ruffles at the bust and hips.
A curvier model swayed her hips in a pesto green dress with a bright embroidered rose sash around the middle. The thick straps of her V-neck dress were adorned with big, floppy bows.
"This collection is not just based on the Fellini film, but also on the idea of a deep lust for life—wine, dancing, voluptuous females, sausages and Vespas," Ms. Hoschek said in advance of the show while seated in her atelier here, a cozy jumble of fabric swatches and books.
To achieve those Marilyn Monroe figures with her modern-day models, Ms. Hoschek had to pull off a few tricks. "I make a lot of them wear fake breasts," she said. "I also walk with them in rehearsal to help them swing those hips. I don't want them clomping down the runway like fashion robots."
Her label, founded in 2005 after Ms. Hoschek interned for Vivienne Westwood in London, is best known for its modern spin on 1950s Americana. The clothes, which have appeared on saucy celebrities like Katy Perry and burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese, combine retro hourglass tailoring with eye-catching fabrics and edgy, even punk, details. Ms. Hoschek's designs are now sold in 32 shops in Europe, including three of her own. An online store accepts orders from the U.S.
Though several of her pieces could easily be worn by the stylish businesswoman, most of Ms. Hoschek's looks invoke fun nights out with the girls or a flirty first date. She says most of her customers are in the 25-to-40-year-old range, though she often hears from older women looking for pieces similar to those they wore in their girlhood. Blouses run €170 ($243) and up, skirts are priced at €270 and dresses start from €350. All the clothes are produced at small ateliers in Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia.
Ms. Hoschek's looks, like this creation modeled at this week's Berlin show, invoke fun nights out with the girls or a flirty first date.
Berlin fashion week, which runs through Saturday, is known for showcasing wilder, mostly ready-to-wear styles that would get lost in the shuffle of Paris, Milan or New York.
From the outset, Ms. Hoschek, a curvaceous brunette with a penchant for winking, knew she wanted to stick with the same shapes each season: bustier-style dresses and high-waisted skirts that hug the hips or billow out over petticoats. "I don't have to reinvent myself every season. But there's a challenge to giving people a new twist while maintaining the same hourglass style," she said.
The blend of both the clichéd and classic styles that comprise each collection is a product of Ms. Hoschek's fascination with vintage clothing, books and accessories that started with a present from her parents.
"I got this red-and-yellow Elvis cassette when I was 6 years old that I played repeatedly," she said. "I started wanting old-looking dresses for my dolls and vintage game sets." During her teens, punk influences began to creep in, she said.
Ms. Hoschek aims to strike a balance between innocence and sass. That was evident in her Bettie Page-themed styles that hit the runway last summer and are now in stores. Ms. Page, who died in 2008, was a Playboy centerfold known for her burlesque pin-up photos and risqué poses.
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This year's collection included a strapless dress with a fitted bodice and flared skirt made of 75 yards of ribbons hand-sewn together.
On the runway last year, Ms. Hoschek's models sported wigs identical to Ms. Page's jet-black hair and bangs. Some models teetered down the runway in six-inch platform shoes with their hands bound together by lily white or crimson ropes. The collection's brashest pieces included pastel floral prints overlaid with opaque Swiss black gauze and fastened together with rayon piping. Black-and-white plaid low-cut blouses with sailor knots gave off a carefree pin-up vibe.
Ms. Hoschek's Audrey jacket, first shown last summer, is now one of her most popular cuts. The wasp-waisted short jacket with its plunging neckline is a nod to both the seemly jackets in Christian Dior's 1947 New Look collection and the prominent décolletage in her former boss Vivienne Westwood's 1995 "Vive la Cocotte" show.
"The right cut can give a womanly look to even a slim figure," said Ms. Hoschek. "I'm bringing curvy back." (wsj.com)
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