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story by Landon Peoples
photos by Aeric Meredith-Guojon
web editor Rachel Reneé
Easily her best work to date, Karolina Zmarlak’s Fall 2012 collection is luxury and culture at its finest. Inspired by bullfighting matadors and the politics of Spain, Zmarlak created a collection that reflected well the vigor and depth of her inspiration. Her Spring 2012 collection referenced women under communism in Poland, further evidence Zmarlak does her homework. “Spain was in the position that Poland’s in now, about 20 years ago, so this collection is an homage to my business partner’s love for Spain, but also how I think their future will play out,” Zmarlak explained.
Karolina Zmarlak is one of those designers people not only want to wear, but want to know. She has a taste for all things pertinent to today, but it’s as if she never designs without the foundations of the past. Zmarlak’s tailoring talent was the star of the show this season, an aspect she’s most proud of, as she claimed to put in the most detail with her bound and piped seams. Zmarlak feels a lack of tailoring by young designers nowadays is because stores “don’t appreciate it.”
Cropped silk, wool, and leather jackets in black, trapeze blouses and dresses in creme, and stretch leather leggings in mulberry brought a powerful look to Zmarlak’s vision for Fall. The drama didn’t stop there. Zmarlak teamed up with accessory designer Ashley Lloyd to create headpieces to carry out the last idea of her collection, lethality. With Lloyd also being a fan of Spanish culture (and the movie El Matador), the two were a perfect match. “We had the same vision going into this, so it was really easy to put our ideas of masculinity meets femininity together,” Lloyd said. The authentic headpieces consisted of real horns and feathers of animals that had already been killed. Lloyd felt the hats gave the collection “strength” and a sense of “deadliness.”
From the shoes, provided by Giuseppe Zanotti, to Lloyd’s artifact-like headpieces, Zmarlak’s presentation was art in clothing form. Whether it was a silk cotton skirt the designer hand-painted herself, or those signature structured shoulder pads, Karolina Zmarlak and her wares show no fear when it comes to the bullfight of fashion itself.