After the pandemic loses its grip on our world, fashion — in all of its wonder and beauty — shall remain. That’s the message of the autumn/winter 2021 collection from Marcell Von Berlin, which debuted yesterday at New York Fashion Week. Rather than design around the present crisis, founder and lead designer Marcell Pustul decided to cast his mind into the future, imagining what a post-COVID world might look like and designing accordingly.
To execute this vision, Pustul brought aboard famed stylist, art director and creative director Nicola Formichetti. The two worked together to create a film and a stunning showing at NYFW, fusing the flow of the present with utopian ideas and a connection to nature. For more about the collection, the film and New York Fashion Week, Schön! sat with Pustul for an exclusive conversation.
Why were the cliffs of Malibu the perfect place to shoot the film for this collection? What do they mean or represent to you?
We shot at the stunning Eric Lloyd Wright Residence in Malibu because, for me, it perfectly captures the current zeitgeist in one picture: the new normal. The ruined building on the rough cliffs of Malibu evokes standstill, as if the entire world is holding its breath. But its setting in nature above the clouds with the beautiful view over the area predicts hope for something great to come. The FW21 collection moves in this ambivalent, intangible realm — a realm between something rooted in our world as we once knew it, and yet is completely different.
Speaking of the “new normal”, what did you look to further that inspiration?
The FW21 collection expresses strong optimism towards the new normal. The message of the collection is that fashion remains. We don’t know what’s coming, but we know what is. In this strange new world lies the belief in the strength of fashion and its yearning for return.
How did you first meet Nicola Formichetti, and how did you collaborate for this collection and its presentation?
I first met Nicola a couple weeks ago when he wandered into the LA flagship store on the hunt for unique pieces for his clients, such as Lady Gaga. I was super surprised, as for me, Nicola is the number one stylist, creative director and art director there is at the moment. Nicola told me that he has been a fan of the brand for a long time and used my stuff, so we decided to collaborate for the FW21 collection and its debut at NYFW. Nicola directed the fashion show/movie and was responsible for the styling.
How do you think being in Los Angeles has influenced this collection?
Since we moved to Los Angeles, the city has had a huge impact on my designs, making them more mature and gentler in a way. The FW21 collection is inspired by Los Angeles’ ‘rock and roll chic’ with a little touch of disco. Another topic that runs through the collection is ‘colour blocking’.
You mentioned that the key message of this collection is “fashion remains”. As the pandemic continues, what does that phrase mean to you, and why is it important?
For me, fashion is just waiting to be enjoyed and revealed again. Even if times have changed, every creative, brand or fashion designer should remain true to itself, even if you have to go other ways. Creativity is not only talent, but also craft with certain requirements that should be met. Just because we’re used to the stay-in culture now, I don’t want to wear or create ‘homewear’ — I want to create FASHION. That is my aspiration and my passion.
Marcell Von Berlin’s AW2021 show at New York Fashion Week can be viewed here.