Shopping: Down Jackets

Down jackets are the warmest of all winter jackets. Madeleine has picked out this season’s best styles – hip label Ienki Ienki, included

When Demna Gvasalia sent a red down jacket down the catwalk for Balenciaga last winter, the trend was official. Of course, they never really went away, did they? After all, German winters are a hard reality, one that comes back every year even though no one ever really asks them to. I often wear one layer too little rather than one too many. Down jackets do not fit into this concept, and not at all because they make me look like a kindergarten child in a Michelin Man costume, as an ex-boyfriend once described it (there’s a reason for everything).

I envied women like Emmanuelle Alt, editor-in-chief of French Vogue, who ran through a snowy New York in an XXL down jacket and simply looked fabulous. Last year, I snuck around a khaki-colored one at Uniqlo, but then left it behind. Instead, I pulled my old jacket from storage out of bafflement (red, Carhartt, heavy), but realized that wasn’t the solution either. Eventually I took up my winter armor again, my coat – it was better for everyone involved. A cassette tape played in my mind’s eye, a former colleague whose secret weapon in all matters is a coat. I believed him. But in truth, I was really cold. And that banality of that fact was unpleasant.

A new winter, a new chance. I want everything to be different – and not to be cold. Puffer jackets are still very popular. How nice. Miu Miu has the most clearly casual style, but also Balenciaga, Stella McCartney, Tod’s, and Haider Ackermann, whether in fabric or in leather.

But the label that is surpassing everyone else and evolving from an insider tip to a must-have item comes from the Ukraine. Ienki Ienki was founded by Dima Ievenko in Kiev. With his penchant for outerwear and the input of his wife Asya Mkhitaryan, who runs the concept store Asthik, he has developed the brand with probably the best puffer jackets around. His styles move somewhere between functionality and fashion, and are a classic in black, but can also happily be worn in yellow or red. A typical feature is the waist belt, and this small detail manages to transform the Michelin Man (Ievenko’s inspiration) into a Michelin mistress.

The belting-in-the-waist trick works for many things, but especially for large pieces of fabric that need to be shaped into a feminine form (copied, again on Emmanuelle Alt). And that’s something the fashion industry noticed after friends of the label like Ukrainian Vogue’s fashion editor Julie Pelipas, Miroslava Duma, and of course Asya Mkhitaryan himself wore the styles over the turn of the year. Ienki Ienki got around, especially via Instagram, and department stores like Barneys were quick to seize the opportunity. Luckily, online shops like Mytheresa.com and Anita Hass are following suit this season.

And so for me the search – and the complex – ends here. Never before have I wanted so much to look like the Michelin man. But in pink, please.

More information about Ienki Ienki can be found on the website here. Further impressions of the Ukrainian label can be seen on Instagram @ienkiienki.

Runway Images: Vogue.com
Translation: Melissa Frost