Bernhard Willhelm Doesn’t “Play It Safe” with His Fashion Students

The professorship in the fashion department at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria, has been under the guidance of international designers since the 1980s. This school year marked the second in a row for Bernhard Willhelm, a position that comes with it the daunting task of staging the graduate fashion show.

Memories of the first graduate show under Willhelm’s tutelage, which took place in Schönbrunn Palace last year, still linger, for its boldness and high degree of imagination. “The presentation of fashion in different circumstances and surroundings is important,” he says. “I’m still amazed by the variety of results, ideas, discussions.”

This year the graduate show consisted of five diploma candidates: Luciano Raimondi, George Bezhanishvili, Stefanie Grißmann, Lisa Maria Kreiter, and Emre Tamer. While Emre Tamer didn’t stray far from the Bernhard Willhelm’s typically outlandish style, Luciano Raimondi delivered the opulence of an all-white collection, while Georgian-born George Bezhanishvili, often hailed as the next big thing, won over the audience with a collection inspired by costumes from his home country.

Of course the show, titled Dirty Fashion Remix Vol. 2, didn’t take place at the school or any ordinary location, but a former warehouse in an area known for prostitution. It was a fittingly bold and cheeky move for Willhelm, who readily admits, “I’m trying not to play it safe.”

by Carmen Rüter for

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