Originally trained to be a ballet dancer, later model and finally one exceptional fashion designer. Jiri Kalfar gained experience from all of the world across different artistic industries and evolved his own sense of style with folk-art inspired prints and unusual cuts. His collections were featured in various international press and his work has become a regular part of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Days in Kiev and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Central Europe in Budapest.
The Designer's collections go against the current stream of minimalist and monochromatic clothing. The latest collection Spring and Summer 2017 features feminine playfulness, flowing silhouettes, wide colour palette with interesting textiles layered and folded into various shapes. It almost feels like Jiri Kalfar created the collection inspired by the great Baroque period - the same that inspired us in our latest issue SOFFA 18.
What was your main inspiration for the S/S 2017 collection?
It was actually inspired by dictionary definition of the words: 'Bohemian', 'Gypsy' and 'Wanderer'. It describes a person, most likely musician, artist or a writer who lives free-spirited life and believes in truth, freedom and love. Journey
of long lasting folk traditions, combined with nowadays edgy-cuts, vibrating colours and original prints and patterns.
I was using modern technical materials with traditional crafted handmade fabrics. It gave the collection true bohemian feel and excitement of connecting the old, traditional with the new and un-known.
Our latest SOFFA issue is dedicated to The Baroque. How do you react to this artistic style period?
I enjoy the baroque architecture. I love the pomposity, picturesqueness and the grandeur of it. Some of my favourite buildings and monuments are actually baroque such as Fontana Di Trevi in Rome or the Paris Opera, where I always dreamed to perform as a ballet dancer.
Your men’s collections often include feminine shapes and silhouettes. Would you describe your line as gender-fluid? While designing do you try to keep male clothes masculine and female more feminine?
That is true. When I start making a new collection I don’t often think of the gender it should be meant for. Nowadays there are so many possibilities how to dress and how to gain your personal style. Anything is allowed. Gender is no longer that important. At least not to me. When you look a few centuries back, men wore the same fabrics as women. All the brocade, silk, frills and ribbons. It helped them to represent who they were or wanted to be. To stand out
of the crowd. I never limit myself. Fashion boundaries are gone and there's no reason for putting them back.
You are not the classic example of the current minimalism & black'n'white colour palette designer. Why are colours and different shapes important for you?
I spent my childhood and growing-up age in the theatre and I believe I am influenced by it. Black’n’white and minimalism bores me. There is so much beauty everywhere. I literary take inspiration from anywhere. Cities I lived
in and visited, stories of artists, ballet, opera or even punk music. On one hand I like Russian literature from 19th century, I like folk, gypsy traditions and songs, but on the other hand I enjoy Japanese minimalism or their kabuki theatre. Italian temperament and French heritage. I take pieces everywhere and create something reflecting my point of view.
You have introduced your new collection at MBFD Kiev and MBFW Central Europe. Why haven't you chosen Prague?
I applied for FashionScout show at Mercedes-Benz Kiev Fashion Days and I have been accepted. I heard great things about the venue and I took the opportunity. I have been amazed what kind of exposure it brought to me, and how many professionals attended the fashion week. This year I am having my own individual show with the AW 17 collection. I am very excited. It proved me to be the right place where to present my collections as there is so much variety in designers and the fashion week has become truly international and well acclaimed among the international press and buyers. I don’t present in Prague but majority of my shows are actually live-streamed on the social media so the Czech or any other audience can get the first-hand look.
JIRI KALFAR S/S 17 from Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Central Europe
Have you already started working on the A/W 2017-2018 collection? Can you give us a little sneak peek?
Of course. It is nearly ready actually. As I already mentioned my inspiration is very dynamic. I would love to give you
a small sneak peek but by the time the collection will be shown, it will probably be very different than now.
Find out more about the designer and his collections at www.jirikalfar.com.
By: Patrik Florián | Edit: Yasmin Keshmiri Hejduk
Photo: Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Central Europe Archive, Designer's Archive