Eschewing tradition, Milan-based designer Damir Doma (a second-generation German immigrant), returned to his homeland and former studying ground to present his Fw18 collection in the notorious and coveted techno mecca Berghain (technically Halle am Berghain).
"I believe in Milan, but the situation there is a bit unclear," says Damir. "A lot of menswear brands stop doing the shows, a lot of them move their men's to their women's show - especially the big ones, thinking of Bottega, and Gucci - so this really changed the landscape of Milan menswear and as an independent brand it's a big effort, and also a big financial effort to do a show there."
After speaking with Christiane Arp, editor-in-chief of German Vogue (and president of Fashion Council Germany) Damir realized that if he was going to be showing in Berlin, Berghain was the venue to do it. "They [Berghain] are so precise with what their brand is and what it isn't," says Damir. "I don't think it's so easy for anybody to show here and something I found very interesting was to see how precise they are, with what their brand is and what is isn't, it's reminded me to be more precise myself."
With inverse ziggurats dropping from the ceiling in the cavernous room of Halle Am Berghain, Damir's show began with a live set from resident DJs Barker and Baumecker. The designs were fluid, raw and suggested a kind of self-determined extraction from the mainstream.
Breaking away from monochromatic looks of past seasons, with black, brown and orange taking precedent for the menswear, Damir also showed face-obscuring hats, silk shirts, vibrant hoodies, trackpants and velvety blazers. Damir comments: "there's a few words that I've found very crucial for this collection such as "who needs perfection?" My work has always been a bit about imperfection, not finishing things, leaving them raw, but on the contrary, there is still sophistication with the materials and the cut."
Damir also highlights some words from a now out-of-print ’80s German fashion magazine that informed his latest designs, translated from German, they read: "the fashion creators are pushing the Winters Season of 86 /87 for an alienated elegance." Damir adds: "I think my work has always a bit about that. It was elegant in it's own way."
There were a few other influences too. Flicking through Damir's "Moodbook" (which he prints every season), there are images from photographer Wolfgang Tillmans and portraits of polarizing anti-Hollywood actor, musician and model Vincent Gallo with a broken nose. "Somehow he's there every season," says Damir. "I have a book from Japan, it's called Vincent Gallo and it's just portraits of him; there's always a figure you design for," he says. "These are people I can imagine wearing the collection, there's also pictures of Winona Ryder in there. Of course, it's not quite so literal, but more about a type."
The "type" Damir is referring to is a kind of outlier, much like Vincent Gallo, who has refused to conform to society's idea of how an actor should behave (for better or worse). The idea that you can play the game, and by your own rules, reverberates from Damir's latest collection, and by showing in Berlin as opposed to Milan, Damir is saying loud and clear that he can play by his own rules too.
Check out all the looks from the show above and peep our livesteam if you missed it right here.
In other Fashion Week news, here's what Y/Project are doing to make UGG's cool.