The air was thick.
Considering that Mercedes-Benz and IMG put on fashion shows around the world year-round, you would think that they would know how to prevent the temperature of a room from skyrocketing as it gets filled up.
In retrospect, however, the heat was actually a fitting welcome to Lena Hoschek’s celebration of noir and pin-up culture in her 2014 A/W collection. Hoschek’s trademark sweetheart necklines, form-fitting pencil skirts and dresses are design elements that actually date back to the 1940s and 1950s. Loosely curled hair and the incorporation of evening gloves into the collection call back to Rita Hayworth as the femme fatale Gilda. Archival footage, projected against the back wall of the runway, depicting women in various states of undress, functions as a dynamic pin-up backdrop for the entirety of the show. All in all, Hoschek engineered the perfect playground for women who get turned on by vintage.
Despite Hoschek’s transparent emulation of specific noir and pin-up conventions, classifying her collection as pastiche would be a mistake. In fact, she has no problem reworking noir and pin-up so that it fits her aesthetic philosophy. The first look that she puts on the runway—a nude sequin dress with a scoop neck and gathered skirt—appears in stark contrast to the aesthetic conventions she has just set up with the video backdrop. True, the dress is stunning, but at the beginning of the show, it appears out of place. However, as the show progresses and Hoschek adds in yet another trademark—her cheerful floral patterns, of course—it becomes clear that Hoschek is attempting to remove the taboo from noir and pinup so that her fans can feel comfortable with embracing their darker fantasies.
In addition to the nude sequin dress at the beginning of the show, other stand out pieces include: a sheer black polka dot dress layered over a full coverage bra, high-waisted briefs and garters; high-waisted floral patterned crop pants paired with a bright red bustier and cardigan; two negligee inspired cocktail dresses, one black and the other fashioned out of a floral pattern; and finally a gray dress and a champagne evening gown, both of which are adorned by trails of translucent leaves.
The scope of this collection and the overall vision of the label seems to indicate a strong crossover potential to the United States. Whether or not Hoschek is interested in making such a move remains to be seen. Unlike specialty retailers such as Betty Page Clothing and ModCloth, Hoschek has the credentials to capture the interest of a much larger portion of the high-end market. Fingers crossed.