_ATRONYMIC – Ritienne Zammit at #MFWA18

From Legacy to Dynasty to Heritage- you can see a pattern emerging. We yearn to leave something behind, whether it is something we create or do to help society, or by having children, or simply by building a name for oneself.

‘Reputation, Reputation, Reputation’ – as Shakespeare put it bluntly but correctly, our name is so important. To taint it would be to impact us beyond our very physical existence. So it is not surprising that local fashion designer Ritienne Zammit, a household name and a huge contributor to Malta Fashion Week’s success, is fascinated by the heraldry of Maltese family names.

What’s the connection? Just like her, use your wild imagination. And there, you have it. It is engendered: a collection borne out of the designs present in various Maltese coat-of-arms. However, Ritienne resists the literal; instead, she has been inspired to create prints that are at times geometric, at others surrealist.

You would be excused to think that when viewing the collection, it seems overwhelming because of such rich effusions of colour and motifs. However, when viewed retrospectively aside each other, the pieces are easy on the eyes because of the monochromatic element. The lux red embraces and warms you. The choice of cuts are daring and quasi-exotic, not least because of the nod to the origins of the Maltese language, which harks back to Siculo and North African dialectal Arabic, and which can be heard in Maltese surnames.

Most importantly, Ritienne aims at a versatile season-less collection, such that her pieces, with some adaptation, could be worn all year round. This marks her awareness and consciousness of climate change – given that fashion contributes to worldwide pollution, it is quite apt that she promotes the idea that clothes can be worn over and over, much like the traditions of the past, when people had but a handful of garments that were worn repeatedly but were at least durable, unlike today’s fast fashion.

Finally, a note on the name of the collection. Much like a book, the title is quite essential. Maltese names like those in other languages denote the family, which is usually represented by the male figure, i.e. patronymic. She overturns this by removing the gender nomination, so that the collection is not only environmentally conscious but also gender-free in its title.

Once again, I am impressed by the talent and creativity that comes out this woman. I must say that having witnessed her work live from the very first collection, there has been growth and maturity. This can be felt in her confidence that never turns to arrogance. She is at home, she has arrived, but I am sure we are enthusiastic in seeing more of her and her work.

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