In Con­ver­sa­tion With ... Fabio Panz­eri

Braun Büf­fel’s lead­ing man Fabio Panz­eri speaks to Elyza Khamil on how evo­lu­tion is key when rein­vent­ing a fash­ion brand.

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - Contents -

As I ap­proach a ques­tion­able back al­ley in Sin­ga­pore and en­ter a huge unas­sum­ing steel door sat along graf­fiti walls, I can’t help but feel a lit­tle like Alice wan­der­ing through some dystopian rab­bit hole. Me­an­der­ing through a jun­gle-like walk­way com­plete with a wind­ing con­crete tun­nel, I find my­self at an un­der­ground club—the Kilo Lounge. Fa­mously known among Sin­ga­pore par­ty­go­ers, Kilo is the per­fect set­ting for the Braun Büf­fel Au­tumn/Win­ter ’18 pre­view. With raw con­crete fin­ish­ings, shut­tered grills, and low wood-pan­elled ceil­ings, the venue screams grungy nights, and is pre­cisely what in­spired Fabio Panz­eri, cre­ative di­rec­tor of Braun Büf­fel, this sea­son.

THE PANZ­ERI WAY

Panz­eri, who worked with Prada and Dolce & Gab­bana in the past, is known for his mal­leable and ver­sa­tile de­sign ap­proach, and that landed him at Braun Büf­fel ear­lier this year, with the task of re­fash­ion­ing the 131-year-old Ger­man brand. I spot him from across the room, with his sig­na­ture all-black en­sem­ble and full-sleeve tat­tooed arms folded over each other— in­tim­i­dat­ing, to say the very least. But as we sit down to speak about his work, his en­thu­si­asm and de­sire to bring a touch of moder­nity to the her­itage brand comes through, and it all clicks: his soar­ing ca­reer is made pos­si­ble by his abil­ity to look at the brand as an out­sider. “I try to trans­late the po­ten­tial of the brand and push it in a new di­rec­tion in re­spect of the brand,” he ex­plains. “If you’re re­ally stuck in­side the brand, it is dif­fi­cult.”

A NEW GEN­ER­A­TION

Gain­ing per­spec­tive may be easy for the de­signer but rein­vent­ing a brand that’s been around for over a cen­tury cer­tainly is not. Evo­lu­tion is key, he says. “To be clas­sic means to be mod­ern. With a clas­sic brand, you have a lot of power to try new styles and you must be­lieve in the brand to in­tro­duce new prod­ucts,” he elab­o­rates. “It’s a ques­tion of evo­lu­tion. If you want to be clas­sic, you have to evolve.” And evolve, it cer­tainly has. Braun Büf­fel Au­tumn/Win­ter ’18 screams edgy-grunge, with a hint of rock ’n’ roll glam­our. Panz­eri brings the brand back to the glam­orous ’70s, with a col­lec­tion that’s rem­i­nis­cent of Stu­dio 54 nights in its hey­day. He also in­cor­po­rates pop art in­flu­ences to give a play­ful twist to the so­phis­ti­cated col­lec­tion. Case in point: the whim­si­cal ad­ven­tures of Buffy & Bully are cap­tured in an imag­i­na­tive en­vi­sion­ing of Andy Warhol and Edie Sedg­wick, set in con­trast against the rad­i­cal na­ture of ’60s New York. Panz­eri’s rea­son­ing for the de­ci­sion to in­ject pop art into the col­lec­tion is to cre­ate a small rev­o­lu­tion within the brand. “[Don’t] con­sider it as a men’s or a ladies col­lec­tion but more of a uni­sex im­age,” he says. “The sub­lim­i­nal mes­sage is to be re­ally fu­tur­is­tic. To be clas­sic is to be mod­ern, and to be clas­sic is to have an open mind.” Here, Panz­eri’s con­veys a more op­ti­mistic fu­ture—one that is not con­stricted to so­cial con­fines. “The new gen­er­a­tion is to­tally open. That’s why the next col­lec­tion will be in a dif­fer­ent coun­try in a dif­fer­ent age, with no time and without bor­ders,” muses Panz­eri. “A new en­ergy, to be open.” The way Panz­eri is steer­ing Braun Büf­fel is re­flected in his own ca­reer pro­gres­sion; an unas­sum­ing start but a jour­ney as re­mark­able as the tale. Braun Büf­fel, 4.32 & 4.33, Level 4, Pav­il­ion KL. Tel: 03-2141 0172

Braun Büf­fel Au­tumn/Win­ter ’18

Braun Büf­fel sig­na­tures like the Ophe­lia-P bags

An homage to Andy Warhol and Edie Sedg­wick

Elyza Khamil and Fabio Panz­eri

Kelis-C clutch, Braun Büf­fel

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