with fashion month slowly approaching and dozens of young desigerns set to be heralded as "next big thing" by the fashion press, i however have been pre-occupied going back to "the next big thing" from two decades ago. yes gaultier and marc jacobs still are able to pack a wallop, but with galliano's unfortunate fall from grace i've gotten bit with a case of hopeless nostalgia.
also, having been let down by fashion for the past few seasons i really haven't got any other alternative to get my fashion fix but to go back to past, when designers were still concerned with radical ideas and not the opinion of their financial backers and board of directors. a time when fashion was still able to juggle commerce and creativity. not to say that there aren't a handfull designers at present capable of doing so, what i'm refering to are ideas that were so forward thinking then that have become so prolific now.
case in point, rifat ozbek. once the torch bearer of east meets west fashion, his legacy has now been passed on to highly influential designers such as dries van noten. who, like ozbek in the eighties and early nineties, manages to introduce ethnic references with a jolt of youthful, contemporary energy giving it a relevance that is at once timeless and completely modern.
born in turkey and raised in england, ozbek took the multi-cultural collision from the streets of london and his own turkish background and brought it to the world of high fashion. coming out around the same time as lacroix's bourgeois excess of poof skirts and lavish embellishments, the youthful, kinetic energy of ozbek's designs provided a much needed contrast to the almost unattainable vision of french fashion.
his concerns were more of what was happening now. referencing traditional ideas and adapting it with a much more youthful sensibility heavily influenced by london's riotous club culture of the time. where english dandyism met africal tribal motifs but without the overt romanticism of other designers who borrowed from other cultures like saint laurent.
with the world getting much smaller and more obessed with youth than ever before and cultures and traditions melting into one big giant flavourless pot, i think an ozbek come-back is well long over due to add some spice to the stew.