Photographed by Felix Leblhuber
FASHION PROFILE: WENDY JIM
By Alice Butterlin
For Wendy Jim, the chance to join the official calendar of Paris Fashion Week is not something to take lightly. The two Austrian designers Hermann Frankhauser and Helga Ruthner seized the opportunity to rethink every aspect of the catwalk, while relishing in wordplay and flouting convention. The “catwalk” transformed into a feline paradise complete with giant cat trees, balls of yarn, and comfy pillows. Doing their own bit of performance art, models prowled the catwalk on light steps, licking their paws, and basking in futurist punk silhouettes. Featuring radiant green apple Lycra, clear plasticized materials in red tints, and collars around the neck, the collection conveys a certain malaise and a palpable sense of urgency. Styles were provided by Lotta Volkova, one of the brand’s most loyal employees since its inception. First known as Wendy & Jim, the fashion house ditched the ampersand in an effort to erase gender – a key concern for the brand. Having studied under Helmut Lang at the University of Applied Arts in the 1990s, Frankhauser and Ruthner are no newcomers to the fashion scene, contrary to what one might think. Building bridges between fashion, art, and music, they have notably collaborated on performances at the Hara Museum in Tokyo and the Centre Pompidou, while also working on stage costumes for the extravagant musician Peaches.