With the world’s eyes upon her as a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist, Melitta Baumeister seized the opportunity to showcase her innovative designs to a wider audience in the Spring/Summer 2024 season. Known for her bold and imaginative manipulation of shapes and fabrics, Baumeister’s collection was no exception, featuring familiar silhouettes and brand icons reinvented with a fresh perspective. From snake-inspired dresses made of padded tubes to platform shoes paired with upside-down bow mini bags, Baumeister challenged conventional fashion norms and questioned the relationship between perception and reality.
Melitta Baumeister, a designer celebrated for her daring approach to fashion, has consistently created pieces that command attention. This season, she made no exception, with a collection that featured a mix of familiar shapes, pleated fabrics, and voluminous structures crafted from foam. Baumeister has always been an advocate for the transformative power of fashion, a belief she aimed to communicate through a carefully curated presentation and video. “You might think Melitta Baumeister is purely a black and white brand. Perception is our most unreliable sense because it can be changed so easily. What you see is not always what you get. Can something so voluminous be easy to wear? Seems impossible yet here it is,” were some lines from the video script.
Melitta Baumeister’s designs are impactful, yet rooted in the practicality of American sportswear. She reimagines everyday garments by adding foam to the sleeves of a t-shirt dress or super-sizing a shirtwaist using the same technique. Last season, she ventured into hand-painted jeans reminiscent of Warhol’s screen-prints, a move that proved commercially successful. This recent integration of sportier elements, like the orange topper featured in the spring collection, brings a balance to the line’s whimsical nature.
New to the brand this season is parachute ruching, interrupted by bands of sheer filament, recalling designer Norma Kamali’s popular parachute style. Like Cecilie Bahnsen, Baumeister has created jackets designed to accommodate the volume of the garments they are paired with. Wavy lines, a recurring motif in Baumeister’s work, took on a new form this season, as a headless snake print developed with the aid of artificial intelligence. Although the overlay of patterns on Baumeister’s designs can be more distracting than enhancing, she remains committed to her vision. “What I really want is for people to understand the garments,” she expressed during a studio visit.
The inclusion of bananas as a brand icon, present this season in the form of a bag, nods to the brand’s playful side, while an upside-down bow mini bag and platform shoes signal a more feminine, yet unexpected approach. These pieces reflect Baumeister’s fascination with juxtapositions and her commitment to challenging the traditional boundaries of fashion.
©Photo: Melitta Baumeister