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Article on Damir Doma By Eugene Rabkin | Dated, but Great Article year - 2010

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Article on Damir Doma By Eugene Rabkin | Dated, but Great Article year - 2010

Post by xyz on Tue May 14, 2013 11:28 pm


Damir Doma Takes the Fashion World by Storm.
By Eugene Rabkin

PARIS – On a recent June afternoon, Damir Doma, the young fashion designer working in Paris, was sitting in his showroom located in the small street in Marais, the Parisian fashion district. Doma showed his new menswear collection just two days prior, and now the small space hidden in a courtyard behind a heavy wooden door was buzzing with buyers from all over the world. His young, lanky assistants were filling out orders, chatting in half a dozen of languages, and two tall, weightless young men were busy modeling the clothes.

The show was held in the yard of Lycee Henry IV, the most prestigious private high school in France where students like Nicolas Sarkozy’s son get their education. The audience, desperately trying to look cool in the layers of black in the scorching Parisian weather, greatly appreciated the combination of open air venue and chilled champagne that was briskly distributed by uniformed waiters. The square courtyard provided some respite as the models walked in a complicated pattern to the soft mix of piano and electronic sounds composed by Doma with a long time music collaborator, Alessandro Tinelli. The star-struck blond Midwestern fashion intern who stood behind me whispered to her friend, pointing across the gravel path, “Look, it’s Hayden Panettiere, from ‘Heroes’”.

The show was signature Doma – a relaxed silhouette and a well-balanced mix of volume and tailoring. Since his first menswear show in 2007, Doma has been experimenting with volume, trying to blend the slim and the voluminous garments into workable outfits that reflect his dreamy aesthetic. Last year he gradually dispensed with the slim silhouette in favor of creating more fluid, earthy garments.

He also has a much more ambitious goal: changing the way people dress. It can be safely said that the last decade was the decade of the skinny, ushered in by Hedi Slimane, who made it popular through his work at Dior Homme. Doma wants to get away from this. “I think I have found my own theme and my own design language and this is how I will go on,” he said. “I think fashion is about movement and change and I don’t want to do what the others are doing.”

For this collection, Spring-Summer 2011, Doma presented an interesting take on men’s tailoring. Some of his jackets were more structured than usual, with details such as slanted pockets with unfinished seams spicing up the classic blazer. But the real innovation lay in the jackets that were loose in the front but structured in the back. “I wanted to add a little roughness to my collection,” said Doma, who is mostly known for flowing, organic garments. “I am interested in the contrast between the roughness and the softness. It is important for me to find the right tension about the narrowness and the volume.” The show, however, was overwhelmed by the huge carpet shawl that was reminiscent of Bedouin costume, and some reviewers interpreted it as having a nomadic theme. Doma insisted that this was not his intention. “For me it’s about new elegance. By that I mean moving away from the whole gothic layered look and too much roughness in the men’s fashion. I wanted to show something very clean and simple.”

And yet, the parallels between Doma’s own nomadic life and the show are too obvious to miss. Doma was born in Croatia, shortly before his parents immigrated to Germany. He studied fashion design in Munich and Berlin before going to Antwerp to work with established designers Raf Simons and Dirk Schonberger. Three years ago he moved to Paris to work on his own collection. “I love this city,” Doma said. “It is inspiring to work here. When I ride my bike from my apartment in St.Germain to my office in Le Marais and I see all this beautiful architecture, it gives me new energy.” But this cosmopolitan lifestyle does not affect Doma’s relationship with his family. He works closely with his mother, who is a fashion designer as well, and whose atelier produces all his samples. Doma’s sister is a jewelry designer, and he often uses her rings not only as jewelry, but also as buttons and bag closures.

Doma, who looked absolutely listless after the show, was relaxed and contemplative after taking a day off to hunt for a new apartment. His lease wax expiring the next day, but he did not seem to care much. He was more preoccupied with the World Cup. He is an avid football fan, and he was rooting for Germany (since Croatia was out) who just steamrolled over England.

His love for football notwithstanding, Doma is serious about his approach to fashion design. His insistence on developing his own esthetic is a mark of determination that is much needed in fashion. Designers who have their own esthetic voice are the ones that make fashion exciting, because it widens the scope of creativity in an industry often constrained by commerce. Whether a designer’s voice suits you personally is not as important. “The people I sometimes talk to, they don’t always like my designs, and that’s okay,” Doma said. “I don’t have to cater to everyone. If you want an oversized jacket, you come here, if you want a tight jacket, you go elsewhere. It’s about picking the right things from the right designer and combining them with your personality. I don’t like seeing someone head to toe in one designer, whether it’s me or someone else. I don’t necessarily want to see people at my shows dressed like a crazy poet — this is my vision, but it’s not very practical wearing on the street.” Doma is intent on refining his aesthetic season after season. “For me the best look of the last collection was the one with relaxed, flowing pants and a structured jacket, and I will continue working on that for the next collection.”

So far, Doma has enjoyed critical success and his company has been growing fast. He has already created a perfume for Six Scents, a project which pairs young promising fashion designers with established perfume makers and a line of basics, called Silent. “Silent is a very interesting project, because it allows me to offer a similar style at a lower price point,” said Doma. “I am very well aware that the money factor is very important in fashion. I know that I probably could not afford some of my main line clothes if I had to go and buy it in the shop. That’s where Silent comes in. Also, it is easier to work on such a collection. When I work on the main line, I have so many expectations of myself, that sometimes I get blocked. Silent does not go as deep as Damir Doma. It is more about creating a cool product, and it is not as conceptual as the main line.”

As for the main line, Doma is planning an expansion as well. “I am planning to split the collection in three different parts. One will be called Damir Doma ‘Infinity’, which will repeat itself season after season with the three classic jackets and pants, which will allow me to work more with the different materials. Another part will be called ‘Cycle’, which will be reissue of the pieces that were very popular, which I want to bring back to life and maybe improve upon. This will allow me to concentrate on the third part, the main collection, which will contain the new developments.”

This March Doma showed his first women’s collection in Paris. Here, volume featured heavily again. The garments in earthy tones flowed gracefully as the models walked down the catwalk, their bodies completely covered. “This is the look that some Japanese designers already showed in the ’80s, and I would like to refresh it,” said Doma about his take on womenswear. “I don’t want to show skin, that’s not interesting. That’s what a lot of women’s wear is at the moment, and it’s a cheap and easy way to do fashion. I don’t think that’s how women want to dress. I want to go in a different direction. I want monochromatic colors, different shapes, and volumes. I don’t want to show skin. My woman has to bring her own attitude to the outfit.”

Doma’s success has been swift, even by fashion standards which move at supersonic speed. At twenty-nine, Doma is now firmly planted as one of the young designers to follow. His men’s main line is distributed in 120 stores worldwide, and his women’s is in 80. Doma’s show in Paris is a must-see, and he is looking to relocate his small boutique from Le Marais into a larger space closer to the the Louvre area, where fashion heavyweights like Rick Owens and Yohji Yamamoto have their shops. These are bold moves, but Doma’s ambition matches his talent, which may be a telling characteristic of a new generation of designers amongst whom he certainly occupies a top spot.

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