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New Europe

Day Seventy-two: Budapest

Katti Zoob 
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Katti Zoob (centre, seated) prepares for the great fashion show.
Michael Palin - New EuropeAn example of the new entrepreneurial spirit of Budapest is their willingness to take risks. How else can I interpret an invitation from Katti Zoob, the newest, coolest, hippest designer in town, for me to model an outfit in her new show?

I am to have a fitting this morning and dutifully on time I arrive at a passageway off a busy, dusty street along which traffic off the Margaret Bridge pours into town.

Katti's is a fashionably discreet empire, a conversion of six apartments in an ornate, slightly shabby, cream and white-painted block, whose walls squeeze oppressively close around a narrow courtyard.

Inside, all is wood-strip floor and racks of expensive, elegant outfits. The sort of salon you'd take for granted in London or Paris but is the first of its kind in Budapest. Katti Zoob made her name in theatre productions. This is her first serious foray into the world of haute couture and only opened three months ago. Though she designs almost entirely for women she's anxious to broaden out into male fashion and I'm her guinea pig.

I'm taken upstairs to meet her in her workshop, past rows of inventive, unusual dresses in her trademark materials of chiffon, silk and taffeta.

I feel pleasantly and comfortably out of place.
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  • Series: New Europe
  • Chapter: Day Seventy-two: Budapest
  • Country/sea: Hungary
  • Place: Budapest
  • Book page no: 174

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