This 28-year-old New York-based German is quickly becoming the mad scientist of her generation. Having completed her masters in Fashion from NYC’s Parsons School of Design in 2013, Baumeister has hit the ground running to release a killer catalogue of collections, making her mark as an experimental textile virtuoso.
Her debut S/S15 Capsule Collection was immediately picked up by Dover Street Market – like, the second it hit the coat hanger. Baumeister’s work is characterized by a tight selection of material crossbreeds that express her experimental vision. Her work is highly avant-garde, architectural and extraterrestrial.
Why should we care? Melitta Baumeister represents a generation of creative punks who are bored of coloring inside the lines, making fashion a lot less safe. “I like the illegal aspect [of fashion] – that something beautiful can be defaced and appear destroyed,” said Baumeister at #PFW16. Her current season for example, takes a chemical approach to design. Literally. The material development for S/S16 involves a chemical bath and spacer fabric, translucent salt-like flakes to harden and cling to collars, pocket flaps, and a decorative belt.
She’s even managed to bring a bit of fetish to your standard retail selection. Her S/S16 bodysuits use second-skin viscose Lycra. Baumeister has taken that cultural fad and stirred in her own acidity; the bodysuit zippers run from the nape of neck all the way around to the front of the crotch. AND, she figured out how to fasten a nipple ring–type hardware to the breast of the top (and elsewhere, to coat closures). Likewise, the back of the padded apron dress consisted only of a harness. Add a pair of pants or skirt and the front becomes maternity wear. Designed to shock and discomfort the traditionally conservative.
This hybrid approach to materiality and conservatism is what shouldn’t be missing from the runways. Designers should be challenging the status quo, bringing the ‘fuck you’ back into fashion.