This weekend I was given the opportunity to fly out to Prague to check out the finest Czech offering on the fashion front down at Prague Fashion Week. I had been in Venice earlier in the week filming the weirdest production ever made at the Fondazione Prada, the film was centered around peadophile shaming and CB radio so as you can imagine, having had one night in my own bed, come 4:45 Saturday morning I was already running on fumes.
I left my sisters yard (she lives near Stanstead), jumped in the cab and got to the airport just in time for a quick pint, a couple of Kalms and a bacon sandwich. The flight is rapid, I watched Great British Bake Off and half an episode of Pointless Celebrities on my phone and before I knew it I was gently landing in the heart of the Eastern Block. I strolled through the arrivals to see a guy with my name on a card, I was fully gassed, he walked me across the car park and straight up to his pearl white 4×4 Benz. We jumped in and he set off for the city itself.
I got to the hotel and belled my boy Sunny who had touched down as part of the international envoy the day before. He answered and told me he didn’t know where he was and had woken up in a next yard but would be back at the hotel soon-ish. I checked in and went to my room, it was relatively plush and I had been left a weird assortment of gifts – some posh shampoos, MAC make up kit and some chocolates. The chocolates were the highlight for sure. Sunny belled me and told me to get my trunks on and meet him on the 7th floor. I made my way up and proceeded to utilise the spa to the very fullest, sauna, steam room, hydro-ice-cold-foot-bath-thing and rooftop hot tub.
Feeling refreshed we hit the lobby and jumped in our waiting Merc. They drove us to the venue which was basically a circular loading bay for a weird old sky scraper shopping center.
The fashion…so I think this is a common issue with culturally developing nations, that everything is heightened and done to an extreme and with little filter. Bare in mind this country was still under communist reign until around 20 years ago. This means that global influence has only had a very short time to infiltrate people’s creative process and subsequent output, not that this is necessary across all forms of design but I feel that in fashion to have global appeal is a useful thing when it comes to trying to sell it. All of that said there were some amazing collections on display which I feel could translate extremely well to a global market and specific collections which had already seen success in select stores around the world.
My two favorites were Laformela and Martina Spetlova. The latter has been based in London for the past 18 years and clearly is a very accomplished designer. She originally studied chemistry in the Czech Republic before later moving to Dalston and getting her BA and Masters from Central Saint Martins. You can see some traces of her scientific past in her work with pleating, neon colours and complex woven leather pieces. Laformela looked totally contemporary to me and I felt this could translate to a whole host of different fashion markets.
After a few of the shows we decided to soak in some local culture and track down some of those 80p pints everyone kept on telling us about. We stopped for a quick jar at a Cuban bar which promised a live Latino dance show later that evening. After that we headed up the hill/mountain to Prague Castle which was, in itself, amazing and super gothic, the real treat however was the view from our elevated vantage point.
We had a dinner date with the rest of the international invitees and our hosts from Mercedes Benz Prague Fashion Week so we cruised back down the hill, had a quick couple pints of Kozel and rendezvoused at the hotel for a Benz sponsored ride to Cafe – Cafe. This was a swanky restaurant opposite the Prada store, the food was good and being the brave Brit I am I plumped for the Club Sandwich and shared a Schnitzel with my neighbour. Two fantastic decisions. We left there and headed to an establishment that went by the very cool name of Groove Bar. Apparently this was the number one hot spot in the whole of Prague, I am not 100% sure I believed that description. The music was hard techno from about 10pm when the party started until 5am when it finished, needless to say I didn’t last that long. The collection of people present was completely amusing, by the end of the evening I had been asked for my email by people wanting to come and work in London about 10 times and also invited to go and watch the Red Hot Chili Peppers the following evening by a guy who looked like he invented the Harley Davidson.
Techno and flashing ceiling set up!
I crawled out of bed at about 10 to get the last 30 mins of the weird buffet breakfast. Then it was straight back to the red loading bay of doom for more shows, the schedule was a little flat that day, that combined with the mid-level hangover meant it was an early start in the VIP lounge on the Cointreau cocktails and champagne glass served dark Czech beer. We were left to our own devices for dinner and our last show was at 9:30pm so I cruised back to the hotel for a low key snooze and watched a bit of BBC2 in the late afternoon. That evening me and a couple of my international cohort went to Lokal for a veritable sausage fest washed down with about 5 pints of that dark Czech goodness. The sausages were absolutely delicious by the way.
As some of the international crew had now left the city of Praha we were reduced to a streamlined yet effective crew and had to make some brave decisions in were to go to continue our booze cruise. Adam (@le21eme) had a friend out there called Sylvia who invited us to a party in a hotel suite, we grabbed a couple of beers from the shop and headed to the hotel. There was a huge balcony and a good view, but the crew was a little patchy so we stayed for a while watching Czech music videos on the TV then formed our splinter cell and drifted off. After my new road dog Adam had tried to lure us to a bar called Public Interest which was closed we were at somewhat of a loose end. That was until we stumbled across SteamPunk. This place was both repulsive and mesmerizing simultaneously.
We headed downstairs for refreshments only to be greeted by a house/rock-techno re-rub of the DMX classic ‘X Gon’ Give It To Ya’, as if this wasnt bad enough the DJ was accompanied by a man who looked like he was homeless walking around the club playing a single large bongo vaguely in time with the music. We had two options, get double drunk or depart immediately, needless to say we went for that first option.
The next morning we headed back down to the space for the last day of shows. Come 7pm and after a quick street Kilbasa I was taken back to the hotel to grab my bag then driven to the airport .
In review Prague is a truly beautiful city with bizarre night life, great food, cheap beer and fags and amazing architecture. The fashion week was very promising, the production was totally slick and some of the designers could go toe to toe with any of the more established big boys. Events like these are integral to the fashion industry and do a great job in bringing a world class experience to cities that may not have the exposure to the world stage that we take for granted.
I’ll be back next time with some more relatively interesting fashion news. One love.