riga fashion week: natalija jansone
(images via style pages)
oddly enough, each season i keep confusing myself into believing that we’re much more familiar with designer natalija jansone than we actually are, but no, it turns out we’ve only discussed her work at riga fashion week a couple of times in the past (see s/s 2011 & s/s 2012). however, i wonder if it’s the clean, sporty-leaning minimalism that i’m responding to, as not so very far away, at both copenhagen and stockholm fashion weeks, we’ve encountered some similar draped and asymmetrically-touched, smart collections. anyway, another year ‘round, and for the s/s 2013 season, ms. jansone was turning out more of her smart brand of chic-and-sleek work and play-wear.
so. for the upcoming spring, ms. jansone’s website informed us that her lovely collection was called ‘castle,’ with the latvian site tv*net explaining that (trans.) “Jansson found inspiration for the new collection by staying in a castle in Germany, which had been her dream for a long time. [thus, the collection was] due to the idea of a modern woman who lives in an ancient castle.” hmm. that kind of reminds me of dodie smith’s i capture the castle, and in the wrong hands, we could have easily been inundated with froth and excess (can you imagine if erin fetherston got her hands on this, for example?), but ms. jansone is much more practical and less romantically-yearning, so it was a good balance.
and i don’t mean to suggest we didn’t see romantic-leanings or notions—we did, in the little ruffles, off-the-shoulder cuts, ruching, occasional peter pan collar or soft peplum, and flowing fabrics that trailed off rather like something one would have imagined a medieval princess to gad about in—but she kept them completely in check, little asides that helped embellish a piece, and never went overboard or too far in the way of the fanciful. as ever, many of these pieces would fit in quite nicely in even the more conservative work environments. one gets the feeling the designer understands that, and wants things to stay that way.
interestingly enough, we heard the latvian website easy get saying much the same thing—that the pieces were (trans.) “more suitable for office lady and academic activities,” but they also made the good point that, like much of ms. jansone’s other work, this collection featured many a look that would “look good for any age lady, just like Natalija’s suits are suitable for different body types.” now, there were a handful of looks—the white blouse with the black peter pan collar, a pair of brown balloon shorts, a white-and-black off-the-shoulder draped blouse, a cloudy gray long-sleeved v-neck blouse with a cascade of ruffles—that i tend to think might not work for the older set, but on the whole, i’m inclined to agree with them about the all-encompassing aspect of the show.
because this is natalija jansone, and the pieces are rather minimalist, as you can imagine, textiles come in quite important, and of course this season she didn’t skimp. and so, the latvian site diena explained that these included the requisite knitwear, crochet, cotton, rayon, and silk. and in a rather curious turn, ms. jansone kept up on the trend we’ve been seeing in riga this season (actually, i think we’ve seen it in several other cities, including new york, as well) of embracing a more autumnal palette with shades like burnt umber, slate, taupe, beige, and teal, and of course plenty of black, while her ‘brights’ included some white, a bit of soft moody gray and a grayish-lilac hue. classic, certainly, but not what one would scream ‘summer!’ to, either.
and yes, likewise, the pieces were for the most part staples we all know and love (especially chez natalija jansone). the dress is a favourite item of hers, and the closest she got to making things spring-like was to cut them above the knee, sometimes opting for sleeveless or a more grecian form with asymmetrical sleeves, or a one-shouldered option. the latvian blog madam bonbon related that (trans.) “consistently high quality…feminine and simple design, natural materials, comfort and practical use,” were and are the major ideas for both this and all of her collections, and i definitely get that. this designer, at least, seems to understand the value of an investment piece, and she doesn’t want hers to be thrown out with the arrival of the newest fan pantone shades of the season, it would appear (and here we applaud her for that).
thus, as one looks closer, we begin to see the various elements one needs to really build a wardrobe, the woman with a dozen more things to do in a day than she has time for, but who wants to looks smart doing them all. accordingly, for example, the designer included a couple of ‘nicer,’ ‘occasion’-type dresses, but really, how many of us need more than that? instead, she filled her runway with suiting separates, tailored jackets, pretty blouses that could be worn equally well with a skirt or trousers. it was classy, beautiful, and if not the kind of runway ‘pop’ a more theatrical designer gives you, all the same, i’m willing to bet you’ll find a million more places/ways to wear ms. jansone’s pieces, so when you think of it that way, this collection gets pretty exciting too, non? (see additional runway images at apollo)