I would never call myself a local-patriot nor a regionalist. People that declare themselves as ones would probably call me an anti-regionalist as I'd probably be first in the line to critisise everything with a tag 'Made In Balkan' - wether materialised or something virtual. I truly believe in valuable critiquing and how it makes the subject grow bigger and better.
But seeing creative individuals with Balkan roots succeeding in the real world of fashion has always been my soft spot. Wether it's the beautiful models like Tamara 'Tabitha' Pernar or Ana Buljević who combined wore every major show this season, or a designer like Ivana Omazić who's currently working as the head fo Creative department for Margiela. All of these ladies have been living their early lives in Croatia, but a story that's making me both sad and proud is the one connected with a Berlin-based, Serbian-born menswear designer called Ivan Mandzukic. His brand IVANMAN has been consequently praised and acknowledged in Germany, with still not many people being aware of him here - in this dirty, old place called Balkan.
I've seen his shows a couple of times in Zagreb and loved it quite a bit, but his latest work has been really London-worthy in every single way. Ivan's Autumn/Winter 2014 story shown in Berlin is just another sequel to his always consistent work, having his vision quite strongly interpreted into a collection that one could never call boring. His work always interferes with womenswear, but indulging into a perfect amount of it - it always ends up looking masculine retro, never a womenswear garment. One of his big advantages is his golden touch for detailing that's usually connected with luxury womenswear brands, but that light hand combined with extremely luxe materials and retro silhouettes is his signature retro-futurism schtick he always holds on to. And thank god for that. It's what he does best, having a strong base and afterwards taking it and pumping it up.
This season his 'pumping up the volume' came with literal pops-of-colour he introduced in minor details, yet positioned next to his earthy colour scheme made perfect sense. No-one could miss that blue collar or the pink-pistachio sleeve combo. The right amounts of oversized mixed with high-waisted trousers and his signature simplistic accessories is what puts IVANMAN right next to the London new-intelligence like James Long, JW Anderson or Sibling - and right on top of my to-wear list. Doesn't it look like an updated version of my own closet? Talk about a perfect match.