MAREUNROL’S – A Latvian Fashion Metaphor for SS13

An Interview with MAREUNROL’S on their SS13 menswear collection, Episode 2

Words by Claire Hazelton
Photography by Iveta Vaivode

It is dark. Shadows stretch out across the floors depicting distorted silhouettes of strangely shaped headdresses. Garments, frozen in movement, draped over downcast faces, seem to succumb to an uncontrollable and external force.

The scene seems bleak; it is smeared with a sense of oppression and secrecy, yet a gang of figures stands strong, clad in leather, wool, silk… This is Latvian fashion duo MAREUNROL’S SS13 menswear collection, Episode 2, showcased at Paris Fashion week. Their conceptual, yet wearable pieces are beautiful, moving, yet simple, cleverly evoking their inspiration of late-80’s soviet Latvia through subtle metaphors. We were able to ask MAREUNROL’S designers, Mārīte Mastiņa and Rolands Pēterkops a few questions.

 

 

FLUX: Why did you choose to base the collection on 80’s Soviet Latvia?

MAREUNROL’S: This time didn’t inspire us because of the importance of it to our lives, but because we were impressed by the creative generation of the time. They stood against the Soviet regime through their creative work – coded messages in poetry, artworks, music etc. Almost everything was under strict censorship at the time, but they still managed to get their message across. Therefore we see them as gangsters of their time.

FLUX: Can you tell me about the splash-like headdresses? I’m aware that they are based on the Latvian New Year’s tradition, The Pouring of The Fortune?

MAREUNROL’S :“The pouring of fortune” is an ancient Latvian tradition. The person who wishes to know what their fortune will bring pours a ladle filled with molten lead into a bucket of cold water; the shape of the hardened lead is then back-lit by a candle, and its shadow is examined to determine the future. During the Soviet time, many traditions were forbidden (for example, Christmas). Therefore, people used to practice (many in secret) as many national traditions as possible. We included this in our collection as a poetic object: as a symbol for future optimism, freedom, inspiration and energy.

FLUX: And the wind-blown hoods?

MAREUNROL’S: The hoods represent perseverance and ambition, which characterizes the generation of the time who tried to fight for their freedom against the oppression. Also this sense of being in cross-wind appears in many Soviet monumental sculptures.

FLUX: The collection seems quite bleak in its realism – is there a magical or fantastical element to your collection too?

MAREUNROL’S: Yes, in every collection we try to incorporate a little bit of magic. We like how it connects with the contrasting reality. We love mysticism and surrealism. The hoods, the flags and the coat are the magical elements of this collection. And of course the pouring of fortune objects – real magic on New Years Eve.

Can you tell me a little about the traditional ways of imprinting leather which you have used in your collection? What other traditional Latvian influences are in your collection?
A very symbolic Latvian childhood memory is leather notepads and book covers, made using imprinted leather, imprinted with views of Riga and Latvian nature. We wanted to deconstruct these old styles and integrate them into our own designs, in jackets, trousers and footwear. We also used the traditional wickerwork of Namejs rings in the silver details of our footwear.

FLUX: And can you tell me about your colour pallet. The flecks of brighter colours seem quite futuristic…

MAREUNROL’S: We work with these colours most often – different shades of grey, beiges, blues… We are not big fans of speckled colourfulness, but we try to inject, in every collection, a little bit of colour. In Episode 2, we associate the flecks of brighter colours with the end of the 80s. We use these brighter colours because they also connect and contrast well with the other fabrics and tones.

FLUX: And what about yourselves; what do you both like wearing?

MAREUNROL’S: We wear our own creations and combine it with other stuff we find. But we don’t want to stand out in any way with our looks.

FLUX: Where will you be going next? What can we be expecting from MAREUNROL’S?

MAREUNROL’S: We are working on the new collection, which we plan to present in the next Paris men’s fashion week in January. Also we are working on costumes for an opera (Wagner’s “Rienzi”), which will be produced by Danish Kirsten Dehlholm (Hotel Pro Forma).

 

For more information see www.mareunrols.com

 

Words by Claire Hazelton
Photography by Iveta Vaivode

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