“Be like the fountain that overflows, not like the cistern that merely contains.” – Paulo Coelho

The back cover of Veronika Decides to Die bears this quote. It was given to me the last day of my stay in Ljubljana, I had never read it. I did it right away, in one breath, while coming back home. As usual, my incipits little or nothing pinpoints with what I’m going to write but that the book is set in the vero Slovenian capital, and “in its own way” hands us a portrait of its citizens’disarming humanity. It’s the same humanity that I meet there every time. A humanity matched with a spirit of initiative. It is a humanity that tells the dream of Sašo Radovič, art director of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Ljubljana, about the creation of a fashion event of international importance in a country so small and with a limited interest in the industry. A dream he achieved.

Now in his fourth edition, the MBFWLJ can rightly be considered a magnet for many Middle European creative (nineteen, to be precise). It has evolved and today offers food for thought. The collections are concrete, suspended between an unsuspected punk past and an eco-friendly future. It is to them, to the designers, that I say bravo. Bravo for having gone along and facilitated this growth process. At the same time, I exhort them to go beyond. To be like Zedka, Mari, Eduard: the characters Veronika meets in its path. Be honest, don’t be afraid of saying what you think through your clothes, of being considered crazy… Be like the fountain that overflows.



Color-Block, you cannot help thinking about color-block. Even an untrained eye would indicate it as the key element of IVANMAN and the link between a collection and the other one. But the brand founded in 2010 by the Croatian designer Ivan Mandzukic reveals in itself a research that goes beyond the mere use of the colour. The combinations are wise, measured, never excessive: black, cream, cream and lilac, purple and black, purple and lilac. The strong point is the knitting and the very smart designer’s choice of the raw materials. In the construction of the clothes you may feel the passion for art and architecture. Oversized volumes give way to exquisitely tailored suits in which the hatches for measures and cuts become bizarre decorative element.



Noblesse oblige. Even for Nick D’Alpaos, founder of the homonymous brand, the concept of handmade is relevant. The entirely made in Italy collection is an eclectic homage to the sartorial tradition. It is a shamelessly naif collection in which the “wealth” of the materials can be best appreciated through a flawless workmanship and the clean lines. It is a material collection, embracing, masculine. It is a collection coherent in its incoherence and just for that exciting. It is an antique and together modern collection. Different and yet equal to themselves, clothes reveal precious details and minutiae for connoisseur. The colours are all there: yellow, burgundy, gray, blue sky. Volumes irreverently squeeze the eye to the post-atomic fashion of Japanese mold.



The Serbian designer offers us food for thought: “Is it necessary now to get a cuirass to survive?”. The answer stays suspended as well as her collection that is in the balance between at time military rigidity and a childishly urban effrontery. She prefers technical fabrics, mainly neoprene and nylon. She softens their harshness with cotton and wool. The colours are basic: black, red, white, blue.

As in the past, Milica chooses to fight stereotypes. She does this by playing with contrasts: she is incisive. The burlesquely protest t-shirts are part of a complex slot of “armor” that conceal and reveal. A detail: the anti-pollution masks.




Birds of paradise is the name of the collection signed by Terra Urbana. They are endangered animals those carried on the runway by Mateja Benedetti and Saša Kladnik, founders of the brand. It is a provocation. A provocation translated into skin: rare, unique. Skin that is not skin. Skin that is actually apple’s peel (not orange’s, beware!). Terra Urbana is an eco-friendly brand in which the use of organic materials – silk, cotton and bamboo – blends and loses itself in the smart experimentation game. Precious the clothes construction and the use of the digital prints that tell us of colorful birds immersed in an imaginative nature. It is an oneiric journey their remains concrete, contextualized… Projected into the future.



The Serbian sisters Jelena and Svetlana Proković bring on the runway a cinematographic collection. The movie they invite us to watch is the Matrix Reloaded remake. Their Neo is a resolute man, edgy. His clothes are classic, with net geometries. He does not like frills: the scarf is his only quirk, declined in different variants. The outerwear is an indispensable element in his wardrobe and while jackets with “strictly” tailoring seem to want to offer us the image of a reassuring ego (probably his alter ego Thomas A. Anderson) with the trench coat, hooded obviously, he throws us into an apocalyptic reality. A contemporary reality: virtual or real… that we cannot know.