The paint was still fresh at LaViolaBank Gallery when newcomer Iris Loeffler presented her spring 2009 collection Friday evening. The DJ played music on scaffolding as guests fanned themselves during the long delay. Backstage, Loeffler did her best to stay cool as she helped her models into their outfits. Although the Munich native moved to New York just a year ago to intern for Three As Four, she was presenting her first collection during fashion week.
Titled "Schwerkraft", which means “power of heaviness” in German, Loeffler’s debut experimented with minimalism, taking loose silhouettes and contrasting textures to highlight the effects of gravity against the female form. Inspired by “the ground moving under your feet,” her collection featured airy poncho dresses in moss green and gold sequined tanks weighed down by black leather jackets. Deconstructed jackets and smoking vests added edge to her more feminine pieces made of silks and cotton jersey in muted tones. Loeffler also collaborated with Solomon Chase to create DIY heels wrapped in fabric that seemed to be a refreshing update on fall’s open-toe ankle boot.
Although things may be have been hectic backstage before the show, Loeffler breathed a sigh or relief after her models walked out in their final looks. Months of work had gone by in mere minutes. She had learned a valuable lesson in what it takes to show and be seen in New York.
Dazed Digital: Is it hard to be a new designer in New York? Iris Loeffler: On the one hand, yes. It’s more expensive than I thought. But on the other hand, maybe it’s quite the opposite because there is not much out there. There are some really great small labels who do their thing, like Three As Four or Maria Cornejo. I think it might be easier here than in London. People are waiting for something new.
DD: Describe your design process. IL: I always start with a geometric shape. I don’t like details. I’m really simple. I don’t start with a form. I start with a rectangle and I start cutting. The fabric develops the shape or decides how it’s going to fall. The garment comes to life when it’s on the body.
DD: Who do you design for? IL: I design for myself, even though you shouldn’t say that. But when I wear my designs so many women speak to me. Sometimes it’s a 16-year old girl. Sometimes it’s a 50-year old woman. It’s so minimal that it leaves a lot of space for personality or to put your own input. It lets you breathe. It’s not a costume. It looks different on everyone.
DD: What inspires you? IL: Not fashion. I don’t care about the trends. I’m interested in art, philosophy, books, or people that I meet. If you have a timeless piece, it’s always convincing.