A review of Kosovo designer Venera Mustafa’s new line, a slow fashion nod to 1970s Prishtina.
Dozens crowded into Venera Mustafa’s newly remodeled Rruga B showroom on Saturday night for music, wine, and to admire her new collection, which illustrates the Kosovo designer at her best.
The fall/winter line, officially launched on Monday, November 27, maintains signature elements of Mustafa’s designs—a neutral color palette punctuated with saturated hues, high quality fabrics, and loose fitting garments that graciously manage to fall on the body with thoughtfully placed darts and flattering details. But there are also new looks in the fall/winter line: details in line, shape, and subtle patterns, inspired by ‘70s Prishtina.
The ready-to-wear collection includes a thick wool skirt with architectural details; dresses, some loosely cinched just above the hip, that skim the knee, shin, and ankle with pointed hems; and utilitarian shirt dresses in dark blue or brick that are reminiscent of a Dickies work shirt, charming and androgynous.
Pintucks, typically found on the chest, are instead placed somewhere unexpected: the shoulder, just above the hem of a sleeve, alongside the waist.
The stand out detail in the collection is Mustafa’s manipulation of the brez/shok, a sort of belt, slightly elevated off of the body and used to carry goods, part of the traditional costume of the women of Has. Mustafa took the concept and stripped it down into an organic shape on the hip, most beautifully incorporated into her sleeveless dresses.
Some of the new collection comes in short sleeves and lighter fabrics, which could be layered on warmer autumn days or even worn into spring. The designer played with the line’s overdue launch in its campaign: “It’s never too late for lateness, we are trying the slow fashion move.”
Slow fashion, a global fashion movement, celebrates local designers and producers. Mustafa incorporates this into her campaign with nostalgic references to the burektore, auto larje, and sandwich bars that thrived in the narrow Prishtina streets of four decades ago.
The nod towards slow fashion is evident in the quality of the garments as well, with steady-handed attention to detail. The extra care and artistry that goes into a piece is worth the step up from high street prices, though for designer wear, the Venera Mustafa label is a steal.
At the private showing of the new line, a handful of models displayed several one pieces, standing in a row while DJ Oda Haliti played dark, experimental electro-beats.
The models stood with straight postures, occasionally shifting for an outfit change. But it wasn’t all stoicism; in fact, as the mesmerized crowd watched the still scene, a model even stole a few smiles and giggles, while another grabbed a glass of wine.
It’s the kind of ease Mustafa’s clothes bring out in her customers: comfortable but sleek, neither dressed up nor down, at once playful, serious, and cool.
Fall/winter campaign photos by Gokay Catak; collection launch photos by Majlinda Hoxha.
You can find the designer on Facebook.