Despite the fact that the garage of the Füred house has a glassdoor, and it would be straightforward to set up the Balaton salon of Katti Zoób there, the fashion designer still leaves the garage to her husband and his old timer cars. Win-win: Balatonfüred gets both a fashion show and an old timer exhibition. Katti Zoób revealed to us her favourite spots, her thoughts on the women of Füred, and that she is just discovering the winter Balaton.
Here's a peek of the Balaton collection by Katti Zoób
The colours of Lake Balaton, and more precisely Balatonfüred inspired Katti Zoób when designing her recently revealed spring/summer Balaton-themed collection. The basic colours of the collection named Sirályok, hattyúk, Annák (Gulls, Swans, Annes) are the colours of 2015 (water blue and green), in addition to which, the shades of beige and white dominate the pieces. These clothes are characterised by elegance and feminine lines, while comfort and usability were also important factors in the designing of the everyday attires.
Balatonfüred is everything
But how did Balatonfüred come into the picture? Katti Zoób believes it had to happen this way. 'Füred, for me, is like Paris. It has classic elegance, ease and a bit of healthy snobbery, still the whole place is unbelievably hospitable. All this is great for fashion: it is worthwhile to dress up for the Tagore because in this city you can promenade just like at the Italian seaside. Then there is the Anna Ball, secretly anticipated with great hopes by every grandma with a granddaughter.
Katti began the gastronomical exploration of Füred -just like everyone else- with the Karolina Confectionery: 'The background story to this place is a really nice idea; to say that I have an Aunt Karolina who gave me the recipes to these delicious cakes. I am still fond of this spot, and I'm glad that they have become so successful, but sometimes all the coming and going there is a bit too much for me.' Hence, Katti and her husband like to frequent the Bergmann confectioneries for dessert, but she is mad about Kredenc Wine Bistro's crackling cream pastry.
Spectacular show in Gyógy tér
The city has grown on her to such an extent, that after taking a long creative break she introduced her new collection in a one-hour show put together with the help of the owners of Anna Grand Hotel in Füred's Gyógy tér in May. This fashion show also marked the 20th anniversary of the Katti Zoób brand. 'It was no small risk to take: we are not talking about a meticulously prepared commercial show in Budapest. I had had no idea how large my audience would be, but I had also known that I cannot o a 20-minute show in Füred, since those who dress up for the evening and attend would expect the program to last the entire evening. I had immediately fallen in love with Gyógy tér, this prestigious, still intimate open-air venue.The nearby spots had helped a lot with promotion; in the end, 1600 people attended the May show.'
It is not so much an overstatement to say Katti Zoób has roots at Lake Balaton, since she spent her childhood in Sümeg and by the north shore of the Lake. 'We had relatives in north shore towns from Keszthely to Füred. In the summers, we used to bike over to Szigliget's public beach from Sümeg. I still remember how much I enjoyed the way the ever-sodden and muddy grass sank beneath my feet. Later, as a mother, I loved to rear a child by Lake Balaton. The Szigliget beach with its huge sandbox was among my favourites again in this period. I would have never thought that one day I'll have a sailboat on Lake Balaton. It's perhaps the reason why I enjoy drinking wine on the terrace of Horváth-ház or wandering in the reeds to the same extent.'
The Balaton instead of the sea
Although Katti introduced her freshest, Balaton-themed Spring/Summer 2015 collection in Budapest, it was Balatonfüred that had played the central role in the inspiration. 'My husband and me used to favour the sea for a long time. In the weekends, we just passed by Lake Balaton, on our way to boat on the Adriatic Sea. Then a friend gave us the keys to his house in Füred. We have become so smitten with the city that soon enough we bought our own house and renovated it. On thursdays, we no longer rush to the sea, but to Lake Balaton. We owe our sailing lessons as well to Füred. It is an unparalleled feeling to wake at the Hajógyári Marina and go swimming in the Lake at once. Then to sail out during the day and watch the gulls circling above the water or the swans swimming by. The proud, determined gliding motions of the gull and the off-white colour of the swan are both reflected in the colours and patterns of my new Balaton collection.'
Life in the countryside was something to get used to after Budapest, 'In Pest, you can live as strangers next to your immediate neighbour for years; in a small town, luckily, it doesn't work that way. The locals caught wind of us buying a house at once, and they began guessing as to what we'd do in Balatonfüred. Once, a friend of mine from Füred visited us and I packed her a few slices of cake into a Katti Zoób bag. As soon as she left the house and crossed the city centre, there were rumours that Katti Zoób is to open a shop in the garage of her house.' Today, both Katti Zoób and her husband, the businessman Viktor Valker are active shapers of the town's life. Since the latter collects old timers, he organized the May Balatonfüred Concours Delegance, wscheduled it again for spring 2015.
'My eyes have tuned to Füred women'
'When staying in a city, my eyes inadvertently tune to the women. I consider the women of Füred particularly elegant, daring to express their femininity. At the weekend, they put on their best dresses and stroll along the Tagore Promenade, or sit down for a glass of wine on one of the many terraces in Blaha Lujza utca. Somehow, they coexist with water in a truly harmonious, natural way. I kept my eye on their considerations when I was designing next year's Balaton collection.'
Katti Zoób has always seen huge opportunities in women. 'After graduation, I designed textile toys for a manufacture in Sümeg, which were then sewn by local stay-home mums and women. That was my first experience of how much creativity and stamina is hidden in them.' Katti Zoób plans to unroll a new collection every half-year in the future, and the clothes designed for everyday use will be manufactured by two state-owned companies that employ disadvantaged people and people with reduced capacity to work.
Winter Balaton, the sensation of the year
Katti Zoób has no lack of ambitious plans, but her next project is Christmas-related. This year, she is especially eager about the holidays, since this will be her first Christmas spent in Füred in the circle of her family. 'The world of winter Balaton has so far escaped my world, despite the fact that I can deeply associate with the tranquillity that resides on the winter shore. I'm also a bit like that: I'm in intense work for month, I gave the collection all the creativity I have, then I need to have peace and recharge.'