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Rozalb de Mura AW08-9 collection entitled "The Thi
Rozalb de Mura AW08-9 collection entitled "The Thing"

The Fashionable Heart of Romania: Rozalb de Mura

Rozalb de Mura’s Olah Gyarfas is working hard to change the perception of Romania from fashion slave to fashion competitor.

The excitement of big fashion capitals such as London, Paris, Milan or New York, might be lacking in the remote town of Miercurea-Ciuc. Yet Hungarian-Romanian fashion designer Olah Gyarfas is trying to change things. Working from his Miercurea-Ciuc based studio, Gyarfas designs the collections for one of the most exciting young brands to come out of Eastern Europe, Rozalb de Mura.

Dazed Digital: When was Rozalb de Mura founded?
Olah Gyarfas: Rozalb de Mura's first public appearance took place in June 2006 at a catwalk show during the Austrian Fashion Awards. That was shortly afterwards the Unit F büro für mode awarded me the Kontakt Erste Bank Award for the most creative Eastern European fashion designer.

DD: What does the name of the label mean?
OG: Rozalb de Mura is a word play of “rosée” and “blackberry” and it’s the name of a fictional, mysterious, anachronistic, ironic and generous character that we invented. It wasn’t an easy task to come up with such a name as we wanted it to sound strange, strong and memorable for any ear, both Romanian and foreign.

DD: Who has been the greatest influence on your career?
OG: My mother is a tailor and she’s been an inspiration for me. As a child, I was always surrounded by clothes, textures, patterns and people trying on new things. The amazing surroundings in which I live, nature with its splendidly indifferent beauty and the Carpathians mountains and forests with their vaguely menacing air about them, are another great inspiration for me.    

DD: How would you describe your work?
OG: I adore minimalism, and, paradoxically enough, also the flamboyant exuberance and foolishness of the '80s. The outcome might be described as a well-balanced mix of cutting-edge ideas and apparently classical cuts, a contemporary look with a vaguely perverse air and many unexpected details.

DD: What is the main theme behind your A/W 08-09 collection for Rozalb de Mura, “The Thing”?
OG: The textures of ancient lava. It’s as if each piece had been immersed in a thick, oil-based liquid. All the outfits have a futuristic cut, hidden details and a sculptural quality: curved silhouettes, hidden pockets, false folds characterise trousers and jackets; a very feminine coat actually hides three different coats layered one on the other; accordion-like tubular collars adorn puffed-up polyamide jackets while trapezoidal quilted trousers add an extrovert note to the collection.
DD: Who are your favourite designers and why?
OG: Hedi Slimane for transforming the male silhouette; Gareth Pugh for his theatrical and ironic style; Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto, for the purity of form and attention to technological innovations in materials; Marithé et François Girbaud for the way in which their messages trespasses the boundaries of fashion.

DD: Can you tell us more about the fashion scene in Romania?
OG: There aren’t many infrastructures in the country or support for developing a fashion business, so you have to come up with your own solutions. This means that even though we have talents such as jewellery designer Kuki Constantinescu, fashion designer Carmen Secareanu and the Greyland School label, young designers often have to struggle a lot to build up their businesses.     

DD: So far, what has been the reaction to Rozalb de Mura’s store in Bucharest?  
OG: We received an extraordinary feedback from the professionals and from the visual art and music community. Our store is much more than a simple clothes shop, it’s a space with temporary exhibitions and especially commissioned art projects with an ever-changing atmosphere.

DD: Rozalb de Mura’s collections are often presented through art performances and installations, do you have any plans for more collaborations with new artists?
I’m working on the next Rozalb de Mura collection at the moment and we are developing a few side projects with the stunning sound artist Mikhail Karikis, the incredibly talented New York-based band Brazilian Girls and the visual artist Tobias Sternberg. 

Rozalb de Mura will showcase during London Fashion Week under On|Off at The Royal Academy of Arts, 6 Burlington Gardens, on 16th September 2008 at 5.30pm and their menswear AW08-9 collection will be stocked at Two See.