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Rozalb de Mura: Survival in Transylvania

Without the means to do a full collection, the Romanian collective have put all their efforts into two elaborate costumes for S/S 10.

Downsizing from presenting a full collection in a traditional show to concentrating on two elaborate ensembles is no bad thing in the case of Romanian fashion collective Rozalb de Mura. They've previously intrigued us with their imagined and evolved tales behind their menswear but in these difficult times, they've taken a very different route for S/S 10.  The collection "The Remains" consists of only two ensembles but such is the complexity of designer Olah Gyahfas' backstory behind the two elaborate pieces, that they still end up making a strong statement.  

A weary traveller in the Transylvanian woods comes across a bloodied and mummified corpse from an extinct warrior dynasty that in turn symbolises the restructuring of Rozalb de Mura as a label. With the best intentions of finding different creative outlets that aren't restricted to fashion, we shall have to see what the unwarpped bandages reveal in the future.

We spoke to Rozalb de Mura collectively to find out what went down at their presentation in Paris that was done on a thrifty shoestring.

Dazed Digital: What was the performance in Paris all about and how did it convey the spirit of the collection?
Rozalb de Mura: We couldn’t have done a classical show since the entire Rozalb de Mura collection SS10 is concentrated in two looks, one for men and one for women. Naturally the thought of a performance came next, in which two scientists camouflaged in white overalls, wearing masks and gloves discover and carefully undress /de-fragment the mummified remains of some ancient warrior royalties. The mood was dark, the stage drowned in fog and red light that amplified the bloodied allusion of the costumes in perfect harmony with the collection’s Hungarian title – bloody remains. An overall visceral and mysterious sensation hovered over the audience, together with fog and a soundtrack by French musician Bertrand Delanowave’s (Stuntrock Confusion) strangely crepuscular sound. In the end, the sultry, husky voice of the visionary Diane Pernet put a spell on the audience narrating the story of the collection.

The Romanian Cultural Institute offered us a hauntingly decrepit yet exquisitely beautiful space -the biggest theatre particulier in Paris, within the breathtaking XIXth century palace of countess Martine de Behague.

With a small budget, there was a lot of spontaneity and creativity fuelled by scarcity, two red light projectors, 25 flashlights, a fog machine and alluringly tenebrous sound. The scientists and the light guy were actually three members of Rozalb de Mura team.

DD: What is S/S 10 inspired by?
Rozalb de Mura: The narrative was as always with Rozalb de Mura of paramount importance. Designer Olah Gyarfas came up with a seemingly true story from his dark Transylvanian woods about strange rocks exhuming poisonous fumes and cave floors paved with skeletons and feathers and dead bodies of birds and animals. We adored its darkness and imagined the journey of an exhausted traveller discovering under Solyomko (Hawk’s Rock – the place actually exist) the bloodied ceremonial clothes of some extinct warrior dynasty. The story alludes to the times the label is traversing: of restructuring and struggling to survive harsh economic times, maybe of rebirth and reinvention. With no funds for a full collection, we concentrated it in two extravagant costumes, masculine and feminine, that look like warrior armours. The two outfits can be composed, deconstructed and built again – like some disintegrable antique robots – in tens of perfectly wearable components.
DD: How do you feel the way that Rozalb de Mura as a brand is progressing?
Rozalb de Mura: In an ironic coincidence, the 2009 boom in press coverage and positive acknowledgement from professionals overlapped with difficulties in manufacturing as well as the world economic crisis. 2010 found us, the members of Rozalb de Mura team, in a process of reinvention.

A survival kit is needed. Rozalb de Mura is actively looking for a collective residence, a space where we can conceptualize some fresh ideas of a new breed of fashion mixed with art, movie and theatre. Our genuine interest for cross-pollination of fashion, different arts and fields of knowledge is at the heart of this transformation process of Rozalb de Mura. Such a residence would help us free ourselves from everyday pressure and concentrate on a rigorous and critical approach of the separation between fashion as a cultural phenomenon and art.

People talk about radical changes and mutations in the fashion business, but for now nobody can clearly define these changes. Everything is upcoming and intangible still. We trust there is enormous potential for spurring creativity and an exploration of unknown territories and experiences in fashion. With this in mind, we will soon reveal a couple of projects with two of the most inspiring male musicians around as well as a performance in Bucharest’s Center for Visual Introspection, a contemporary art space run by curator Alina Serban.