London’s fashion elite will have the chance to view the impressive collection when it comes to London Fashion Week on February 18.
All friends of Azerbaijan will be invited to view the collection at an afterparty following the runway event.
Some of the most magnificent emblems in Azerbaijani carpets, tapestries and clothing emanate from the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, which has remained under Armenian occupation for 25 years.
Despite the challenges in obtaining accurate information about the iconography of Karabakh designs – many books, designs and historical artefacts were destroyed during the Armenian–Azerbaijani conflict, which raged from 1988–94 – the vibrancy of these national designs inspired young Berlin-based designer Leonie Mergen. She was particularly taken by the Azerbaijani game of chovkan (a more exciting precursor of polo) that also originated in the region and is played on Golden Karabakh Horses.
When Leonie created her Karabakh-Collection, she took Karabakh designs as her point of departure, whilst retaining her own innovative and individual vision. Unveiled in mid-January during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Berlin before over 500 fashion industry professionals, reporters and international guests, Leonie’s debut runway collection of 26 looks attracted myriad plaudits.
Sleek magazine wrote: “The designer combined plunging necklines and sleeved capes with buttery-soft leather and delicate silk – a reference to Azerbaijan’s legacy as a hub on the ancient Silk Road. Geometric navy and burgundy patterns evoke the region’s infamous tapestries in the designer’s distinctive first show.”
Writing for C-Heads Magazine, commentator Harry Leath wrote: “Furs, silk, velvet and leather combine to exude an imperious sophistication whilst conceding a polite modesty in form; it is resplendent with deep, regal colours and rich with warm, classic textures. Mergen is an honest admirer of tradition and shows us how we can marry tradition with progression; we do not have to eschew tradition in order to move forward, we must embrace it with unfettered honesty.”
The collection was subsequently showcased again at the annual brand event for L’Oréal Professionnel, also in Berlin.