It was back in November 2017 that we interviewed Fabian Kis-Juhasz, freshly out of the Royal College of Art in London. However, this past season, the Budapest-born fashion designer had his London Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2019 presentation debut, which was a major milestone in his career.
In this collection, a false sense of femininity is created through foundation garments that mould the body as their traditional counterparts would. However, the end result is not quite what you expect. “The collection focuses on the idea of the abject female body and the monstrous feminine”, explains the designer; “you do not need to be a woman to be feminine and you don’t need to be feminine to be a woman”.

His designs evoke a corrupted way of femininity, making us wonder around the question of what is the feminine form. Fabian creates bizarre pieces that subvert the feminine body and, therefore, present a new concept that clearly doesn’t represent what is socially acceptable. The concept of monstrous feminine and subverting femininity has been an important part of his creative process for a long while now. “It comes from an experience of feeling excluded and seeking empowerment in that. It started out with the physical aspect of it and how there is only one ‘acceptable’ shape and proportion, but it grew into a larger scale of references that includes sexuality, attitude and also a bit of humour”, Fabian tells us.
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“Since fashion deals with people’s bodies and topics such as gender, race, age and size, I think it is inherently political”, the designer told us some time ago. By creating pieces that play with the dichotomies of the ideal female body, he wants us to feel uncomfortable and, therefore, make us wonder and reflect on what we’ve seen. “I used to love to explain my work and I saw it as a way to engage people in conversations about topics that were important to me. Now, I think that getting my message across with just the work and allowing the viewer to draw their own conclusions is more effective and is a greater merit of success. I think there are empowerment and beauty in the ugly and unconventional, and I hope my work conveys that.”

Reimagined romantic Victorian nightgowns, made oversized with layers of tulle, combined with printed T-shirts and patent leather corsets. Shades of deep red dye, metal hardware piercings and reinterpreted bustiers. Pieces that are both fetish and spooky. Also, it is impossible to look at his show without being mesmerised by the significant role makeup plays in it. Boldly painted faces with thick layers of makeup that kind of recall both horror-inspired looks and iconic heavy metal bands.

In his latest collection, Fabian also used makeup on clothes by creating eccentric prints on dresses and t-shirts. “For me, makeup and clothes go hand-in-hand, so to merge them together is the ultimate fantasy for me. I was always mesmerised by the ritualistic aspects of femininity and I think makeup is the ultimate form of that. Painting your face can make you feel so many different ways: it can feel like warpaint, or a mask, or even like witchcraft, as you mix together all the lotions and potions to make you look younger and more beautiful”, adds Fabian.
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In the London Fashion Week presentation last February, Fabian conceived an immersive boudoir setup where the viewers could fully engage with the collection and atmosphere. The soundtrack was probably what brought everything together. “The sound was designed by a good friend of mine, and one of the models in the presentation, David Varhegyi”, says Fabian. “I think an essential part of my work is a juxtaposition of all things creepy and cute, so for the sounds, I wanted cat meows and purring mixed with pipe organ sounds. I gave David full creative control over the project and the result was sinister, foreboding and also a bit funny and stupid; it was perfect!”

When we last talked with him in 2017, starting his own brand would have been the dream. Debuting in the London Fashion Week was a huge milestone for Fabian. However, he confessed that he hasn’t still “cracked the code” or figured out how to go about having his own brand. His unique and peculiar style seemed to be an obstacle when looking for a job, which made him realise he disagrees with the current setup of the industry and, therefore, pursuing a business model that would allow him to be authentic and true to himself was the best option.

“The funny thing about the industry and being a young designer is that there is no transparency and it’s super glamorized. You get all these cool features and press moments but there is still no money attached to anything. You have to invest so much and prove yourself for many seasons to be taken seriously. I really don’t want to/can’t afford to do that, so for my next season, I want to do something more unconventional and maybe digital”, reflects the designer. What will the future bring? Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
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