Written by Lais Lacher. Photos by Sara Kerens. Osklen Spring/Summer 2013 at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York.
Title: Designer, OSKLEN
Osklen has been a force in Brazil and internationally for quite some time with trend forecaster WGSN naming them one of the ten most influential and inspiring brands in the world. With all of this success, it comes as a surprise to learn this was the first time designer Oskar Metsavaht showed a collection at New York Fashion Week. Directly following the show we got the opportunity to speak with him about why he chose this moment, and how it coincides with the overall trend of Brazilian culture seeping into the United States.
The viewer could almost hear the ocean waves crashing, and the feel the fresh breeze during Osklen’s beach themed show. Oskar Metsavaht describes the theme of his collection, entitled Endless Summer, as “Brazilian soul meets California dreaming.” Soft lighting set the laid back ambience of the show while Bossa Nova music set the tempo.
The sportswear collection consisted mainly of separates with some relaxed eveningwear. The show started off with all white outfits with the subtle print of the famous Ipanema sidewalk and then the looks transitioned beautifully into shades of a sunset. There was a group of pale blues, yellows, and pinks that transitioned into fiery reds and burnt oranges. A change to rock music signaled the approaching night with a procession of dark blues, charcoal grey and finally black. The beach motif also appeared in the digital prints of palm trees, the ocean, and Rio de Janeiro’s famous landscape. His collection featured several complementary separates including tailored shirts, jumpers, capes, pencil skirts, tunics, cigarette pants and surf shorts. Even with the dresses there were markedly masculine elements such as straight and loose fitting shapes as well as the inclusion of collars. The fabrics were light and luxurious including linen, silk and crepe. Sheerness was a significant trend with completely transparent looks, or thin sleeves and backs made from organza. He also used neoprene, fabric traditionally used to make wet suits, which furthered strengthened the link to the sea. The collection also featured many eco-friendly fabrics such as vegetable-dyed silk straw and salmon leather used in the flats worn by all of the models.
The shell tops with transparent backs in varying hues were particularly noteworthy. It is a no hassle top that can be thrown on over a bikini top for a walk on the Ipanema sidewalk or a drive along the Pacific Coast Highway. With the combination of luxury and quality crossed with clean design and comfort, Osklen’s stay in the US will be enduring and not just a passing wave.
Why did you choose this moment to show at New York Fashion Week?
I think it’s the right moment. I am an international designer after five years opening stores in Tokyo, Italy, and here in New York City. It’s just another phase in my work as a designer. My first phase as a designer was more focused on lifestyle. Bringing the content to locals in Brazil, figuring out my lifestyle brand, and what would be my elements of style. And in the last ten to twelve years, I have been designing for my atelier where I began experimenting with fashion design. During that period, I practiced developing collections in a more fashion forward way. And now I have my elements of style more consolidated. People who know my work can see Osklen from far away and say, “Oh this is Osklen,” by the form, texture, and color. Now I come to New York to propose the Osklen style to the American public. This is also the first time I showed women only in my catalog. It’s a great moment. It’s maturity for a Brazilian company. I feel we are ready to show something interesting here.
Why do you think that Brazilian style and culture is becoming so popular in the United States and Internationally?
I really think that contemporary men and women are looking for a way of life that is a mix of Europe and nature, not only urban and not only nature — it’s a more laid back way of life. I think Brazilians are happy, sensual, sexy, and healthy in an easy way. I think it’s kind of a laid-back style meets a kind of sophistication. This balance, I think we have it.
We Brazilians — we have the Brazilian soul, as I like to say. Like the United States has the American dream, we have the Brazilian soul. So when people come to Brazil or meet Brazilians, I am sure freshness, sensuality, and happiness all come to mind. We are a fresh culture so from our lifestyle we have something to bring, a cool way of life. As all cultures have something to bring, we can bring something too. I really think Brazilian designers and artists have a universal esthetical language of premium quality, international quality, and this Brazilian soul. Because of this, I think we can have a chance in the fashion industry.