Olah Gyarfas, the designer from Romanian label Rozalb de Mura, is in my opinion the most cutting-edge designer in his country. I’ve been to the shop ever since it opened, and it’s an entirely different world than anything else in Bucharest; it’s dramatic, it changes moods with the collections, and unlike most shops here, it’s anything but impersonal.
I had the pleasure of reading an interview of his in the february issue of Romanian Elle, which I translate in its entirety. It was taken by Despina Badescu and the copyright belongs, obviously, to the publication.
ELLE: If you had the power to create a brand-new animal that would inhabit the Earth from now on, what would it look like?
Olah Gyarfas: It would be an animal no larger than five centimetres, blue-grey, very fluffy, it would squeak peculiarly, smell of lime, breed like plants and be called Kimci.
ELLE: What’s the best smell in the world?
O.G.: Undoubtedly, the smell of earth after the rain.
ELLE: What’s your favourite letter? And which number do you like most?
O.G.: I like the way “ty” sounds in Hungarian. As for numbers, eight looks the most balanced. Look: 8.
ELLE: What would you do if tomorrow we were all forced to wear identical black overalls and you were forbidden from creating clothes?
O.G.: I’d take up gardening and take care of the rocks, moss, plants and birds around me.
ELLE: What’s more likely to exist: angels or devils?
O.G.: Oh, I don’t know, I’m afraid they’re in equal numbers. I’d like it if there were more angels, of course.
ELLE: If you were a musician, what instrument would you like to play?
O.G.: Piano, for the way you must carry yourself while playing.
ELLE: What’s your favourite means of transportation? Hot air balloons, perhaps?
O.G.: No, no. Trains. I take the train to Miercurea Ciuc (translator’s note: that’s where the label’s factory is located) every morning and it makes me happy.
ELLE: How will you spend your retirement?
O.G.: Working in my garden, bathing in the sea when it’s sunny, sauna and snow baths in winter. Embraced by wild nature, going back from whence I came.
ELLE: Is there a thing that has a perfect shape?
O.G.: Yes, a rock washed by a river or the sea.
ELLE: What do you think you were in other lived?
O.G.: The stone, polished to perfection by the surf.
ELLE: In what building would you like to live?
O.G.: In the house made of stone and only stone by Danish architect Jorn Utzon, in Porto Petro Mallorca.
ELLE: At what times do you feel that life has a meaning?
O.G.: When I’m chopping wood or building a fence.
ELLE: If you had to save a single object from your house, what would it be?
O.G.: I would save nothing. My life doesn’t depend on any object. I’m not obsessed with totems, even though I collect them from all the places I go to.
ELLE: In which war would you like to have fought?
O.G.: I hate war, but if I was forced to choose, I’d fight with the crusaders. The passion with which Christians threw themselves into the distant unknown fascinates me.
ELLE: What are the best clothes to sleep in?
O.G.: Sleeping doesn’t require clothing, only fresh white linen sheets.
I always prefer this sort of designer interview because while I can see the clothes and fabrics myself and guess at their meaning, the designer as a character remains a mystery. This article in particular struck a chord – the man’s work is such a direct connection to his personality that it suddenly makes sense to wear war-inspired garb in all-natural fabrics this summer, like his S/S 09 collection suggested. And let me tell you… those clothes are delicios. Photographic proof will follow.