Photographs Courtesy Florentina Leitner
Bronze church bells chime in the background, reverberating off the snowy mountain tops set in front of a soft lilac dusk, in the midst of an Austrian winter. Puffy white “Moon Boots'' firmly march forward in the thick snow as a choir sings a delicate hymn. The camera is reminiscent of a nostalgic 90’s resolution, adding to the billowy and hazy tone of Florentina Leitner’s new Fall/Winter London Fashion Week Collection, ‘Der Zaurberberg’, which roughly translates to ‘The Magic Mountain’.
Austrian-born Florentina Leitner graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp in 2020 and made great strides shortly after by designing for Dries Van Noten, then launching her own brand, all in the same year. At the outset, Leitner pushes the boundaries of sustainability in fashion and her latest collection is no exception. By using upcycled trash bags and bottle caps, a celebration of upcycling is established in puffy flower motifs and whimsical bows inspired by Jeff Koons. The digital video presentation for London Fashion Week, released on February 19th 2022, draws influence from the eerie and mystical film Suspiria, set in the snowy mountains of Austria.
As the first model slowly wades through the thick snow, we begin to see a glimpse of the opening look. She raises her shimmery silver gloved hand to block off the sun before adorning a pair of bubbly cloud-like sunglasses. In the distance lies a large cabin with another model waving from the balcony. Entering the cabin doorway we get a closer look at the first model’s large puffy flower situated on the left side of her fluffy pink coat with a silver dress that complements her gloves.
Sitting wistfully in front of a cozy fireplace, we see three looks that feature a faded brown cropped blazer and skirt set with large statement bows on both pieces, an oversized plaid button up dotted with bows made from recycled black trash bags and a black and white patterned catsuit, all which embody sustainability and a grandiose display of celebration. Other notable looks include a green fur hat with long arms that can be tied into a bow paired with a cropped two piece forest green and mustard yellow blazer set. A simple dolly collared button up with large bulbous flowers is paired with pale peach and yellow patterned pants and a matching hairband, echoing the brand’s femininity and elegance.
As the digital video presentation comes to a close and the day turns to night, we see three models with their arms stretched to the side standing around a campfire with snow softly floating around them. Though dimly lit, we see three black dresses: a sheer one with flowers embroidered on the bottom corner, a sparkly black dress that glints against the flames, and a black satin two piece top and skirt. The three models join hands, slowly step back, and fade into the dark winter night.
A true testament to pushing the boundaries of femininity, creativity, and sustainability, Florentine Leitner whisks us away from reality and carries us into the whimsical and magical collection of ‘Der Zaurberberg’.