The buzz in the Grand Palais Éphémère was palpable as 032c, the Berlin-based brand that blurs the lines between magazine and fashion label, made its runway debut. After years of building a loyal community through insightful editorials and edgy merch, 032c had finally translated its unique vision into a full-fledged ready-to-wear collection ready to strut on the world stage.
Founder Maria Koch, always the contrarian, threw down the gauntlet with a bold statement: “Timelessness? Not really my thing.” Her Fall 2024 collection, she explained, was about creating a versatile “urban uniform” for the modern nomad. Inspired by 032c magazine’s coterie of cool, cosmopolitan readers, Koch envisioned garments that would move seamlessly from bustling city streets to late-night art openings.
And they moved. At the heart of the collection were sharp, body-hugging leather separates, ideal for cutting through the urban jungle with effortless style. Denim in shades of blue, green and even sultry red got a punk makeover with black overspray, while tailored nylon trousers mimicked the drape of wool, all paired with bomber jackets that wouldn’t look out of place in Raf Simons’ archives.
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But the runway wasn’t all smooth sailing. The slinky jersey pieces, which harkened back to Donna Karan’s heyday, felt a bit out of sync with the urban grit of the rest of the collection. Similarly, some of the tailoring lacked the finesse and defined proportions that could truly elevate the 032c aesthetic. Koch’s clothes have a distinct personality – it’s time for the label to fully embrace and refine it.
But amidst the mixed signals, there was an undeniable spark. Koch’s anti-timelessness was refreshing. Instead of chasing fleeting trends or clinging to dusty notions of classicism, she creates clothes for the here and now, unencumbered by the past or the future. This collection may not be a flawless exercise, but it’s a bold statement of intent from a brand with a unique voice and a dedicated following. 032c’s urban nomads have found their uniform – the rest of the world is just catching up.