THE MOROCCAN EXPRESS. Braun Büffel unveils a spring/summer 2016 men’s collection that is as spirited as the land that inspires it: Morocco
History books talk about how Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany traveled to Tangier, Morocco, in 1905 to declare his support for the Sultan’s sovereignty. It was a political move that is believed to be one of the main triggers of World War I.
Exactly 110 years later, in 2015, Braun Büffel reestablishes that Germany-Morocco connection in a much friendlier tone. Naturally, there are no political undertones this time. Instead, the German leather goods manufacturer is introducing its spring/summer 2016 collection that is inspired by the North African country.
With rich tones, bold patterns and contemporary styling, it is another interesting collection that would go down in history as one of the brand’s most celebrated creations.
CHANGE IS IN THE BAG
A special presentation of the collection was held last October in Singapore. Making an appearance on the site were a number of Singaporean celebrities, who all sported bags from Braun Büffel’s fall/winter 2015 collection. This particular
collection had raised quite a few eyebrows—in a good way, that is—when it was first launched, since its fashion-forward shapes and colors somehow deviated from the brand’s usual, more conventional designs.
The bags from the fall/winter 2015 collection exemplified change—a much-welcomed one—that was initiated by creative director Damiano Biella, who took the reins at Braun Büffel two years ago. In an interview, Biella described the 128-year-old German brand as “the sleeping beauty of luxury brands,” and it had been his first priority to bring Braun Büffel back to life. It won’t be too much of a stretch, then, to call Biella the hero of this particular story.
Perhaps the one thing that makes his designs work is the common thread found in all of his collections. There’s always the similar theme of journey and destination that connects one from another. for instance, the spring/summer 2015 collection, the first one under Biella’s full direction, was inspired by bright and sunny Capri in Italy. His next one, the fall/winter 2015 collection was all about Paris. The items were chic and urban-oriented and, looking at them in the hands or slung around the shoulders of the young, lively celebrities, one couldn’t help but wonder if the spring/summer 2016 lineup could generate the same excitement. Apparently, it did.
To create the spring/summer 2016 collection, Biella and Braun Büffel ventured away from their European comfort zone and looked to the charms of Morocco for inspiration.
The presentation took place in a compact-sized function hall, with a wall that covered a large portion of the venue. The wall then slid open to reveal a group of musicians playing relaxing instrumental tunes; the kind you would expect to hear when you visit a lounge on the streets of Morocco, or when you venture into a souk on a slow day. Instead of snake-charmers, though, there were models. And in place of spices and carpets were bags and accessories from Braun Büffel’s spring/summer 2016 collection—duffel, weekender, tote, backpack, briefcase, cross shoulder sling, clutch, pouch, document holder—all made using quality leather with the delicate craftsmanship that Braun Büffel is known for.
Morocco’s influence was immediately seen in the document holder and pouch, whose elaborate patterns were inspired by Moroccan tiles. During the presentation, a wallet with a similar pattern was seen peeking out of a petrol blue tote bag. The difference between the wallet’s intricate pattern and the tote bag’s unusual color somehow managed to create a complementing contrast. Taking its inspiration from the coastal city of Nador, the ocean-like petrol color made quite an impression during the presentation.
These “unusual” and lush color palettes were definitely the distinguishing character that set Braun Büffel’s spring/summer 2016 collection apart. There was no “boring” brown in sight; instead, mud, rust and desert tones came to represent distinct facets of Morocco. There was also a tangerine color that symbolized a Moroccan sunset. Saffron yellow and tobacco hues were inspired by, well, saffron and tobacco, which are both plentiful in the North African country.
All in all, the whole collection was a satisfying one. One couldn’t help but wonder: What would be Biella’s inspiration for the next collection? Asia, perhaps? After all, the Italian designer has been residing in Singapore since 2013. Wherever the destination is, in the hands of Biella, the journey is surely going to be colorful and very much intriguing in design.