Vol. 3 No.1  

Pocket passion

Eccentric but not extrovert: fashion designer Olah Gyarfas's showcase store in the Historical Centre

     Dressing up in a daring example of Romanian fashion, pockets suddenly appear from nowhere.
     There is a cotton jacket with nine pockets on its back, pockets found in the interiors of pockets, behind the knees are more pockets and taking up an entire backside of a pair of trousers is one enormous pouch, so large it could almost fit a further pair of trousers inside.
     This is the current style of a rising star of Romanian fashion, 31 year old Olah Gyarfas and his high-end label 'Rozalb de Mura'. The Miercurea Ciuc-based designer, exhibited in Amsterdam and Vienna, is showcasing his subtle eccentricity is a new store on the  balcony of the Historical Centre's Curtea Sticlarilor (Glassmakers' court).
     The more outlandish collection takes inspiration from David Lynch's cult flop `Dune' and the `stillsuits' its desert warriors wear to retain water in a pipe-system that clads the body. This is re-imagined in rippled and guerilla style jackets and trenchcoats.
     Ribbed? Tight? Militaristic? Yes - the collection, mainly for men, has a hint of kinky, but is not overtly perverse. More wearable is a tailored suit jacket in grey denim.
     “This is for the businessman who is a bit more courageous,” says Dragos Olea, one of the partners involved in setting up the store.
     There is also a unisex 'Dinosaur' coat with a fin-like crest at the back and a plastic coat the dimensions of a spacesuit. This gives feeling of weightlessness, but would take nerve to wear while strutting the less elegant quarters of the capital.
     “Sometimes it's a bit too much for Romanian boys,” says Olea.
     This local haute couture is manufactured in Harghita by lohn workers. It is a welcome step for them - rather than kitting together lifeless materials for stores in Oslo or Newcastle shopping malls, the textile workers can make individual items, designed, sold and worn in their own country.
     The store is accessorised with stuffed animals and framed portraits, for which the owners  scoured the flea markets of grand urban hubs such as New York, Amsterdam and Bucharest's Pantelimon. French group Liste Noire designed the light pink and white interiors and a purple room with golden outline drawings of hot air balloons, industrial screws and electrical plugs.
     This is a 1930s concept of the future with aristocratic flair – Flash Gordon revisits Brideshead– present in the brand's logo, which combines an astronaut, sputnik and stag's head with olives and a bat.
     Is it all too much? No – the boutique and its pieces have a seamless quality that does not feel as though unrelated elements are juxtaposed just for the sake of surrealist fancy.
     Instead it's post-modernism without the clutter.

Michael Bird

'Rozalb de Mura'
Unisex fashion boutique, Curtea Sticlarilor, 9-11 Str Selari
Prices: 90 to 350 Euro