Q&A: Designer Damir Doma Finds His Voice on the Spring 2013 Runway

Damir Doma Spring/Summer 2013
(Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP/GettyImages)

PARIS — If spring 2013 is any indication, Damir Doma is all grown up. The Croatian-born, German-raised designer launched his womenswear line in 2010 and has since put forth a range of deconstructed collections that walk the line between masculine and feminine — a theme he is drawn to because of his background in menswear. His clothes always radiate a certain stark Belgian sensibility (which makes sense, considering he spent time in the Antwerp atelier of Raf Simons before venturing out on his own) and luxurious simplicity. But you could tell from his previous collections, like fall’s modern interpretations of medieval military gear in fur and suede, that the designer’s voice had yet to reach its full vibrato.

At yesterday’s show, we heard it loud and clear. Cool, effortless looks of leather, wool felt, and silk ruled the runway. There was lots of volume, which, in the case of a textured leather skirt and vest ensemble, was reigned in with a thick leather belt. The designer’s palate — army green, white, navy, and black with pops of brilliant royal blues or turquoises – was subdued but impactful. Tailoring, whether in a crisp white shirt or the cropped de-and-re-constructed bombers that topped fluid silk pants, was key. And oversized trousers which, held up with suspenders, had pleated, almost ruffled fronts, were strange at first and completely covetable by the time they reached the end of the runway.

The designer also collaborated with Mykita sunglasses for spring, turning out a range of circular horn and metal specs that complimented his clean, considered clothes. Here, Doma tells ARTINFO about the collaboration, his quest for clarity, and his strong spring woman.

What was the concept behind this collection?

I think that this collection, or any collection, has a lot of different layers, but I think the most important thing is that you see my decision to be clear and precise in my message. Especially compared to last season, when things were sometimes a bit blurred. For example, last season, one color faded into another but this season I wanted to be very clear in my colors. I had a really energetic blue and turquoise and I think what was really fun this season. What was also very new for me was the technical way of working. It was really about cutting things into pieces, reconstructing them, and regrouping them in a way so it was a mix of collage and patchwork.

So, on the technical front, what was the most challenging part about creating this collection?

It’s funny actually. I felt super natural doing this collection. I really enjoyed it. I would love to continue but I can’t present this a second time. Sometimes fashion is such a short moment, you know, you work on this for three months and then you move onto the next collection. But I think it will be interesting to try to stretch this out a little bit.

You’re often drawn to this masculine/feminine duality. Why are you attracted to that?

One of the reasons is definitely my menswear background, but the other reason is that that’s the woman I like — somebody who is feminine but at the same time, she has a very strong, precise, structured character. I’m trying to put this into my clothes. Looking back on my first year of womenswear, I was still more naïve. Now it’s all about finding the right balance between the dresses and the man’s jacket, etc.

Who is your woman this season?

Last season, or generally, my woman came from nowhere and went into nowhere. This season, I think it’s a very urban collection. If you look at her you can imagine her walking out of this environment.

Can you tell us about your collaboration with Mykita sunglasses?

I think it’s a very interesting collaboration for both sides because I bring something into this collaboration that Mykita didn’t have before. I brought the idea of natural materials and natural fibers into their more metallic world. They’re really known for metal glasses. At the same time, it’s really exciting for me to have this metal because it gives my approach a much more futuristic idea. So to bring these two things together is really great. 

Click on the slide show to see looks from Damir Doma’s spring 2013 collection.

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