Melitta Baumeister, who earned her MA in fashion from Parsons: The New School for Design last fall, is helping to jump-start a fashion revolution. The 27-year-old German-born, New York-based designer began climbing the ranks after sending her designs down the runway this past February as part of VFILES MADE FASHION show, which uses its online platform to allow designers to submit their work for a chance to show at New York Fashion Week. Since Baumeister’s NYFW premier, the designer’s sculptured and modern aesthetic has been quite the rage. Her use of unorthodox textiles helps to create her unique design style, which ranges from clean and sleek to oversized and structured. Baumesiter’s philosophical view of fashion helps to inform her designs and her design process, as well. Whether it was a “’real-fake’ black banana cast” that she utilizes to represent a certain moment in time and evolution, in this instance a rotting banana, Baumeister’s evolutionary approach to fashion and dressing help to tell her young, yet, evolving story on the runway and beyond (think: in a recent spread in Vogue Japan and in stores at Rei Kawakubo's Dover Street Market, just to name a couple).
I do not think it is a stretch to posit that Baumeister’s understanding of fashion is more philosophical and expressive than most of her peers. Using the future as inspiration, Baumeister takes her talent and knowledge of fashion and design and creates in a manner characterized by detachment, or rather, one that is largely detached from the present. Baumeister uses her idea of “what could be tomorrow” to create pieces today. For instance: her use of layers of silicone to create a garment to bend the norm, and take fashion towards the future. Suddenly, it wasn’t the pattern or fabric that was creating the garment; it was the mold the silicone was poured in that was. Perhaps this is why Baumeister has described her pieces as “three dimensional prints.” Rather than just clothing, she has created pieces that are snapshots of her current relationship to fashion, and it could be argued art and life, as well.
The latest offerings for the Fall/Winter 2014 collection included details that rival classic minimalism. Oversized, structured coats featured sleek and shiny surface detailing and skirts and dresses featured asymmetrical hemlines with dramatic pleating. Black and white casted bananas were a reappearing motif, and Baumeister’s strictly black and white color pallet lent a minimal approach to oversize dressing. One of the most appealing aspects of Baumeister’s aesthetic is that each garment is the focal point of the look. Unnecessary accessories and embellishments are far and few between and this aids in each design draw the attention it deserves. Melitta Baumeister has created designs that feel like art; not everyone will appreciate every piece, but like the age old saying, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
GABRIELA LORRAINE is a fashion blogger and writer. She is a fashion merchandising and print journalism student at the University of South Carolina. For more from Gabriela, follow her on Twitter.