A ‘70S REVOLUTION
Neon lights and disco vibes set the mood for Braun Büffel. Here, the brand’s Creative Director Fabio Panzeri takes our Fashion Writer Ai Lim on a personal journey through his colourful collection, inspired by the opulent ‘70s
Neon lights and disco vibes set the mood for Braun Büffel
No sooner had we settled into our hotel, we were whisked away to Braun Büffel’s FW18 Presentation. The theme: ‘70s disco grunge. Nestled in the heart of Tanjong Pagar in Singapore, we were greeted by a colourful wall of graffiti reminiscent of the golden age of the ‘70s NYC’s graffiti culture. As we made our way into the bar, our eyes slowly adjusted to the neon lights that were set around the room, and a vivid glimpse into the past came to light. Inspiration from the disco era was on bright display in the dimly lit bar full of bags.
But why the ‘70s ? “The ‘70s was an era of revolution full of opportunities and excitement; and that was what I wanted to reflect in this collection. Also, it was a time of change,” says Fabio Panzeri, creative director of Braun Büffel. Indeed, the ‘70s appeared to be an interesting time filled with bewitching audacity and self-expression. Disco dancing was at its peak and at the centre of this phenomenon, a night club called Studio 54 that was regularly frequented by the likes of Elton John, Andy Warhol and David Bowie to name a few. The magnetizing allure, emblematic nightlife and underground culture of the ‘70s—in particular Studio
54—was evidently, hard to ignore for Panzeri. Seeking inspiration from ‘70s art and music, the brand’s Fall/Winter 2018 collection is a colourful display of
what Fabio re–imagined the ‘70s to be for the modern women of today; featuring sophisticated colour palettes, juxtaposed against contemporary kaleidoscopic hues influenced by the Pop Art works of Andy Warhol.
“Street culture was also very influential in my decision to embody the spirit of the ‘70s. Similar to the past, the current generation has a heavy interest in street culture,” Fabio adds. The defining social movements for gender equality in ‘70s New York also appeared to be an important topic to Fabio as he stresses on a genderless future free from prejudice. This belief is very much reflected in the Buffy and Bully Collection which he says has gotten “Rave reviews from both men and women” and his favourite unisex bag, Chester that he thinks is “An expression of the future”.
But of course, as exciting as the ‘70s was for pop culture, it was also a poignant moment in time that represented a pivotal change in world history. “As I dove even deeper into the world of the ‘70s, I found it to be similar to the times we are in now. There is a lot of confusion in this day and age but with it, also came revolution. And that’s what I wanted to portray in this collection.” During the ‘70s, anti-war sentiments were high, gay rights movement steamed ahead and second wave feminism was trending with more women having a role in the workforce and having more control over their reproductive rights. Fabio continues, “Everything is a cycle,” as he explains the philosophy behind the collection even further, linking the ‘70s to the current economic and political world state of affairs: Growing tensions of trade wars between China and America are consistently strewn across the news headlines. Interestingly, the #metoo movement and most recent repeal of the Irish abortion referendum has sparked a new form of female empowerment reminiscent of those seen in the ‘70s. Over the recent years, developments in same sex marriages have also taken on a more positive light.
There is clearly more to Fabio Panzeri than meets the eye. His design process is careful, thought out and articulate. “I tend to look into the DNA of a brand as an outsider and I think that has served me well throughout my career. I also try to explore and translate the potential of the brand in a new direction without breaking away from the DNA too much. And to do that, for me anyway, looking inside a brand from the outside is the best approach.” Staying true to a brand’s heritage was especially important to Fabio as much as it was crucial for him to make the brand more current.
“Is there a rule that you stick to when it comes to designing?” I ask as I make a mental note of the intricacies of the details and process behind this cerebral collection. “Oh, that’s an interesting one!” he exclaims, gazing into the distance while thinking about my question. “No, there are no strict rules that I adhere to. I let things flow naturally and with ease,” he replies. One can rightly assume that that in itself was a rule to his otherwise ‘no rules’ mantra. “I tend to do things instinctively. The mood board changes all the time and even as we reach the final stages, we find ourselves thinking we can do better for the next collection. There is always room for improvement!” he continues with a smile. If one could describe Fabio’s second collection for Braun Büffel, it would be nostalgic and bold. Coupled with articulate youthful energy and Fabio’s eye for functionality, the latest collection is an elegant depiction of a daring, fearless era that is modern and progressive.
Your favourite piece. “Chester! As it’s unisex and practical.“