Sunday, March 8, 2009

Designer Label to Watch: OntFront

The coming together of the OntFront design team's Liza Koifman and Tomas Overtoom sounds like a European epic ... it brings visions of the movie Doctor Zhivago to mind:

Liza Koifman was born in Petrapavlovsk—a city that sits high on a hill, surrounded by numerous volcanoes and located in the far eastern region of Russia’s Pacific coast.

A year after her birth, Liza's family relocated to Leningrad, modern-day Saint Petersburg, where she was raised until the age of 9. Eventually Liza had lost contact with her father, a Soviet Jew, who decided to make aliyah, migrating to Israel in escape of repression.

Soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Liza and her mother moved to the Netherlands, where she has lived since since 1991, studying Costume Design at the National Film Academy in Amsterdam.

Meanwhile, DJ and entrepreneur Tomas Overtoom was making local tremors with his own ground-shaking creativity, hosting a masked hip hop event called OntFront—Don’t Put up a Front!—which aimed at promoting fresh talent like artists, musicians, and fashion designers. Liza wasted no time in signing up!

Together, Tomas and Liza's passion for style triggered a new line of menswear that would express the stylishness and self-rule of their generation’s intelligent but slightly rebellious men.

Reflecting the demographic nature and multi-cultural allure of Amsterdam, Tomas and Liza have shaken the city with the finest men from all ethnic backgrounds who model their collections: Russians, Indonesians, Chinese, Africans, Italians, etc.

Liza’s designs for men with the aim of empowering them to feel sharp and confident enough to stand out in the crowd. Liza insists that modern men are ready for innovation. “As a woman, I feel spoiled by having so many choices when I'm shopping. Men deserve the same treatment.”

These designs are very different ... they're sophisticated, funky and very fresh. I'm not being cute - they are not the norm. There is an obvious tailored craftsmanship with funky street details. It's like old school Men's Club/Saville Row meets ipod-sporting youth.

I honestly have never been one to get really excited over menswear ... until now. When I looked at these pictures, I actually said Ooohhh!

"OntFront A/H 2010 Collection combines to perfection the mixtures of genre and time and explores in details the personal wardrobe of the Tsar Nicolas II of Russia, an iconic figure, most renowned in the 19th century for his obsessive elegance and his taste of made-on-measurement clothing. At the city or at war, the ultimate refinement of his looks (toilets) often referred to the 'Haute Couture'!"

The new Collection OntFront Autumn/Hiver 2010 will be featured, along with other contemporary designers, at showroom STUDIO-CHARLOT in Paris, an initiative by Gaspard Yurkievich.