Last week I attended (with my friend’s Helene and Aljona) Estonia’s leading fashion retailer Baltika’s spring/summer 2015 presentation show called “Fresh Fashion” where they showed pieces for the coming season from all of their brands – Monton, Mosaic, Baltman, Bastion and Ivo Nikkolo (in addition also Blue Inc London which they represent in Estonia).
Here are my (and only mine) thoughts about the shows and fashions that I saw. Oh, as the lookbooks are not yet out, I’m using catwalk photos from Baltika’s facebook page.
The catwalk presentations started with welcoming speech by the Chairman of the Management Board and Goup’s CEO Meelis Milder who wrapped up the last year and hinted on the developments for the future. The online store andmorefashion.com (imho not the best name for an online store – hard to remember, too long) has shown success and will be focused on more in the coming years.
But now to the fashion.
First up was Monton. I have to be honest year by year I’m losing touch with the brand. For me personally it is hard to describe who the target customer of the brand is as the designs feel characterless. Especially the menswear – so random. I didn’t see anything up-to-date or fashion forward just plain clothes. Don’t get me wrong they’re ok but they look like many other brands on the market and some even feel like I could get the stuff from supermarket. Womenswear in other hand looked fine. The nautical theme and little details here and there were nice. I loved the black pattern on pastel pink and blue. I wish they’d had some more pieces with that pattern in the collection. The simple dresses I could see many girls wearing. But all in all nothing groundbreaking. Basic nice looking clothes.
Next up was Bastion. This brand is said to be targeted to the women with capital W. Unfortunately the superskinny models didn’t give that impression. The fit of the clothes were a little off. The fashion for me felt a little dated. The lime green colour that was prominent in the collection seemed a little too strong for my taste. It is a hard colour to wear even though it seems springy and fresh. I liked the white pieces. they felt fresh for the brand. Clean body complementing cuts and a little more youthful than the other stuff. All in all I was yet again left with the question who is the customer of the brand.
Following Bastion was a super energetic Blue Inc London show. I won’t spend much time on this as this is just a brand that Baltika is representing not designing. Basic clothes for young men. Not my cup of tea.
Next up was Mosaic. This is the most basic line of Baltika’s brands. Simple and affordable clothes for the everyday office worker. Couple of ok jackets for men and some random dresses for women. I’m sorry to say but this was the most boring collection of the whole bunch.
Then came the manliest collection – Baltman. This was the collection I was most looking forward to see. I know the head designer and his taste in fabrics and cuts. Unfortunately the collection left me a little puzzled. Don’t get me wrong the suits looked very good. I just didn’t get the casual wear. And I have to say the styling wasn’t up top par in my opinion. The fit of the clothes were a little off on most of the stuff. The super young models didn’t do any favours also. In my opinion Baltman models should be much more seasoned – mature. The bright blue suit that opened the show was awesome as were the others. The casual wear though felt like pieces from Monton or Mosaic. They didn’t feel premium enough. It might have been the styling that cheapened them or the fact that I was expecting much more form Baltika’s signature menswear brand. Yet again if anyone needs a suit then Baltman is the shop to go to but I think the casual wear needs some work to be more premium.
Last but not least was Baltika’s best womenswear brand Ivo Nikkolo. This was the only collection that didn’t disappoint me. The well-known Ivo Nikkolo design level was stilll there – kudos to the designers. I loved the slightly Finnish feel of the whole collection. Even the styling was better than other brands. It was nice to see brilliant silky dresses worn with a little sporty trousers and sneakers. It showed the versatility of the collection. There were so many pieces that a modern woman could buy to mix and match with her current wardrobe. Most of the designs were multi-purposed – you could wear with sneakers and backpack during the day and add heels and some bling for an evening look. I loved the blue and white checkered jacket and coat. Even the lime green didn’t bother me in this collection. As I already said I feel that the Ivo Nikkolo is the strongest Braltika’s brand with clear target group and vision. Only thing to criticise were the random bulky necklaces but that’s ok as the clothes themselves saved the tiny mistakes. All in all it was a success.
Even if it didn’t seem like it in my reviews above I still see the possibilities and opportunities for Baltika’s fashion brands. I do have a positive outlook. In my personal opinion they just need to define the target audiences of each brand and stick to them. The spring/summer 2015 presentation showed that the lines between brands are fading. It was hard to get a clear picture which is which among Monton, Mosaic and Baltman. Especially in menswear department. Though the clarity was light in the womenswear also. Secondly I feel that the marketing should be more active and on time. It really makes me wonder why after the fashion show the lookbooks weren’t published on the brands’ sites. It would have been much more better to show the collection as it was intended by the design team. The styling and feel of the lookbooks usually gives much clearer feel of the full collection. One could see the details that might have been missed on the catwalk.
All in all I wish all the best for Baltika to keep the Estonian fashion going. My recommendations would be to take more design risks, add more character to the brands and include some more storytelling to the communication and marketing. In addition it is best to use age and brand appropriate models for shows and if budget forces to share models across brands then use versatile girls/guys and update the styling and make-up/hair according to brand.
P.S. Here’s a videoclip of the catwalk: