Capitol Couture

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Mary Katrantzou / Swarovski

Mary Katrantzou has a significant history of collaboration under her belt.  Known as the “queen of prints”, Katrantzou has leant her design and striking patterns to capsule collections with luxury leather company Longchamp, the hip British Topshop, the iconic outerwear pillar Moncler, and the ballet-chic Repetto, among others. Her longest and most prolific collaboration (meticulously crafted in the artisan workshops of District 1) is with The Swarovski Collective, spanning over 7 seasons of rainbow runways.

To create these collections of kaleidoscopic color, Katrantzou “uses Swarovski crystals to give the garments heightened texture, working together to push the boundaries of surface and textile design.” Between Katrantzou’s exquisite eye for patterns and Swarovski’s dazzling gems, this pair creates elaborate clothing confections tailor-made for the streets of the Capitol.  

Capitol Couture salutes both Mary Katrantzou and Swarovski for their time-honored dedication to the united vision of One Panem.


Capitol Look: Anouk Wipprecht

While everyone dons costumes and scavenged for sweets, Capitol Couture brings you the most  macabre chic in fashion today.  This spectral creation comes to you from Anouk Wipprecht, a Vienna-based Dutch fashion designer with an impressive resume of interactively robotic couture pieces.  Her most high profile creation—an outfit for the Black Eyed Peas lead singer Fergie at the 2011 Superbowl—amazed viewers across the globe with his tech edge.  She collaborated with designer Bea Akerlund.   “Fashion tech is hot on stage, but celebrities don’t wear tech-enhanced accessories or wearables off stage,” Wipprect has been quoted as saying to Vice. “When someone like or Gaga shows up with blinking jewelry or color-changing bags, the crowd will definitely follow.”

Other highlights in Wipprecht’s portfolio include a dress that emits smoke with movement, a frock that becomes transparent with proximity to others, and a dripping-pigment piece that generates a unique garment every time it’s worn. As for the future of tech couture, she sees a bright horizon: “I think in the near future people will start to experiment more with the combination of clothing and technology due to price and availability,” Wipprecht has said. “But still, it has a bit of a geeky feel to it.”

A collaboration with Austrian software developer Daniel Schatzmayr, this particular arachnid-inspired dress has its roots in the French video game LIMBO.  It perches protectively on the shoulders, reacting via precise sensors when someone approaches.  The effect is eerily repellent and magnetic in its grace and span. If only someone would wear such a magnificent design on the red carpet. That would put off the pesky paparazzi, no doubt. . As a proponent of “fashion tech” creations, Wipprecht sees the inherent design in each piece’s inner workings: “The technology creates the aesthetics,” she has said.  Come Halloween night, arachnophobes beware: this black widow is ready to strike.         


Capitol Look: Stella Jean

A tornado of color and ethnic influences ground these designs.

When Giorgio Armani signs on as an ardent benefactor, you know you’ve got some muscle behind your label. Former model and relative newcomer Stella Jean capitalizes on her blended heritage—half Haitian, half Italian—to create ethnic looks with unique silhouettes. The result is a riot of color in ebullient forms. For her fall/winter collection, Jean paired wax fabrics from Africa with Navajo-like faux fur and Mongolian-inspired assymetrical cuts.

“I drew inspiration from the capacity to blend and juxtapose traditions that are distant, like pre-Columbian and Mongolian civilizations,” Jean has noted of her recent line. Jewel-embellished striped sweaters feel like rugby wear for royalty; patterned bustiers are perfect for layering with faux fur shrugs. Jean’s genius lies in her bravado—like a Michelin-rated chef, she takes bold, seemingly incongruent ingredients and makes them sing in harmony. Her signature kaleidoscope of color is a smart calling card for this up and comer.

Jean has summed up her design motto and personal mantra this way: “The only insurmountable frontiers are those of the mind.” Well spoken and elegantly executed. You can check out her fall line—from funky, studded African print cuffs ($128) to a ladylike dress with flared skirt, white collar and button cuffs ($1105)—at farfetch.


Capitol Look: Alba Prat

Taking techno fashion to a sublime effect.

by Athen Claith

Spanish designer Alba Prat wasn’t always the technology-minded, geometric genius whose designs now frequent the City Circle streets.  Since beginning her voyage into the fashion world holding an Environmental Science degree, Prat has produced several concept collections that have wowed internationally, beginning with  “Synthetic Oceans”—- created around the idea of marine life adapting to plastic in its environment.   

Her penchant for neon and vibrant hues shows up prominently in her most recent collections. In “Syn Chron,” a bright cerise red oversized blazer brings to mind David Byrne’s ridiculously huge suiting onstage that typified the excess of the ‘80 for the Talking Heads tour.  For the collection, Alba also recorded her own heartbeat and used special software to translate it into the patterns of her prints. Very cool.

But one of Capitol Couture’s favorite lines is Fall 2011’s “Digitalized,” which endeavors to bring cinematic elements of the sci-fi classic Tron to everyday fashion materials such as wool, cotton, and leather.  With her androgynous silhouettes and 3D diamond/hexagonal patterning, Prat channels the film’s concept of turning “real people into pixels” by taking the film’s “strong retro character” and delivering it to us in modern, minimalist form. (“Digitized” pictured left.)


Walter van Beirendonck

Nature prints and gold; two of our favorite trends to come out of last year’s Games.  Rumored to have been spotted on the essential presenter Caesar Flickerman, this style is certain to impress.


Shengping Xie

Versatile fashion is always in style, especially when gleaming!  Create varied looks with adjustable jewelry, but remember—wait at least a year before a repeat performance.


Kasia Belska

Emphasizing individual facial features provides added shape and direction, giving your look that oh-so-coveted Capitol sophistication.

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