Headed up by designer Danial Aitouganov and stylist Imruh Asha, zomer’s Spring/Summer 2024 Paris Fashion Week debut was an eclipse of colour, elegance, and ease
At zomer’s debut runway presentation, presented as part of Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2024, there was a collective sigh of relief amongst the guests, a palpable release of all the stress pent up from a month on the fashion trail. For within the softly sunlit venue, zomer graciously offered an eclipse of colour, elegance, and ease. Each design embodied a veritable lightness of being through its uncomplicated precision and beauty – a breath of fresh air within an industry obsessed with excavating meaning from the gloom and doom of the world.
zomer, which means ‘summer’ in Dutch, is the collective project of designer Danial Aitouganov and stylist Imruh Asha. The two first collaborated seven years ago when Aitouganov asked Asha to style his graduation shoot at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute. After working together again for the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography in 2017, where Aitouganov was a finalist, they began toying with the idea of launching a brand together. “But in terms of skill, network, experience, we decided it was better to go our own separate ways and join forces later,” recalls Aitouganov. “Then after seven or so years, the time came.”
Seven years afforded Aitouganov the time to hone his craft, first under Natacha Ramsay-Levi at Chloé and then Riccardo Tisci at Burberry, and for Asha to establish himself as one of the industry’s leading stylists, taking on the role of fashion director at Dazed. Now, launching their own label felt like an appropriate opportunity to dream and create for themselves – and no longer someone else’s vision. “It was really important to have a certain freedom as we didn’t want any restriction on concepts or ideas,” Aitouganov explains. “We wanted this childlike approach, like when a kid just starts drawing something on the table. They don’t know where it’s going, but they just start.”
Like a child’s, the creative duo’s research and design methods are very hands-on, guided by instinct and feeling. “For example, we would go to a gallery and ask each other ‘which work would you buy to have on your wall?’” says Aitouganov. “If we picked the same one, we’d discuss it, and take that into our mood board.” It’s this balanced alchemy of their respective creative visions that perhaps explains the harmony that was present within each runway look, as well as the show as a whole.
Not a beat was missed for their debut – the collection was complete with everything from lithe dresses, well-cut blazers and trousers, draped jersey to accessories like shoes, bags, and jewellery. Leather featured regularly throughout the collection (zomer have a sponsorship with ECCO Leather) but was masterfully manipulated into supple silhouettes like a painted, asymmetrical mini dress that flowed with the model’s every move. Of note were two dresses completed with smooth wooden sculptures, a collaboration with artist Amaury Darras, and a colour-blocked shirt dress that could be unbuttoned to reveal splices of skin – or completely undone into separate pieces.
Each look was seamed together by zomer’s precise yet playful use of colour which was paced between bold swathes of single hues and painterly prints. Although Aitouganov initially studied graphic design, he credits their tonal awareness to their respective backgrounds: “Imruh is from the Caribbean, which is very colourful, and I’m from Tatarstan, a republic in Russia, where the traditional clothing is very colourful. So maybe it is just in our genes.”
The show was closed by two children standing in for the designers, a nod to the playfulness of the collection but also to the fact that the designers want zomer to be known for the sum of its parts, and not as their individual identities. It’s this honest and refined approach to design, unobstructed from ego, that will ensure zomer will be a label to watch for many seasons to come.