10 Takeaways From Budapest Central European Fashion Week AW 2024

Featuring exciting new brands, thermal baths, and must visit restaurants.

In late January, the Hungarian Fashion and Design Agency organized the 13th annual Budapest Central European Fashion Week featuring 29 new and established brands from the region. 10 Mag US was there to take in the shows, dip into the thermal baths (highly recommended!), and view the beautiful historic sites of Budapest. Here are our top 10 things to know after spending a few delightfully jam-packed days in the Hungarian capital.

What Went Down?

Nearly 3,000 visitors attended the BCEFW shows and exhibitions at the landmark Museum of Fine Arts building. It was a very organized system—shows started ON TIME! In the same location! Any fashion-curious person could attend! A few shows required invites, otherwise everyone was welcome, which is a true departure from shows at the main fashion capitals. (Don’t worry, editors attending BCEFW still got to sit in the front row.) Though held in Budapest, only about 10 Hungarian designers showed collections. The rest were a composite from neighboring countries including Poland, Slovakia, Serbia, Austria, Ukraine, and Romania. In the post-show recap, BCEFW reps said the Autumn-Winter 24/25 season had the highest attendance to date.

Designers To Know

Cukovy is the work of Hungarian-Nicaraguan designer Flora Popradi. The brand is comprised of a colorful smattering of puffers—coats, pants, hats, you name it—some of which you can mix and match to make your own. They’re the perfect pieces to wear if you want to peacock around town or stand out on the slopes.

– Abodi is designed by Transylvania native Dora Abodi. Naysayers can save their vampire jokes. The brand is indeed created with a certain amount of mysticism in mind, but the line is legit and has a long roster of A-list fans including Cate Blanchett, Lady Gaga, Normani, and more. Most recently it was worn by Bad Bunny in his Vanity Fair cover story. The A/W show featured cute LBDs with scalloped hems derived from Transylvanian folkloric culture.

Artista is a trio of women who have been designing in Budapest for 20 years and are happy to keep their business as more of a local venture rather than expanding. Their silky urbane Fall/Winter daywear collection was inspired by the works of Hungarian artist György Korga, Ikebana, and space with colorful and graphic prints.

Katti Zoøb celebrated her 30th year in business with a show that replayed some of her greatest hits. The collection of all black-and-white attire lent itself to a sophisticated customer — the type who probably went from this show directly to the (must-not-be-missed) Hungarian State Opera House. Likewise for ballet dancer-turned-designer Péter Mer of Mero whose glittering gowns are red carpet catnip that have already been worn at the Cannes Film Festival and the Oscars.

Rad Accessories Moment

Poland’s RAD DUET showed fluorescent ruffled collar necklaces and bustiers that were indeed quite rad. The pair called the overall collection “a proposal for the modern superhero,” which would especially be the case if said hero was going out dancing all night.

Sustainability at the Forefront

While a lot of fashion brands trumpet sustainability, most of the brands we encountered at BCEFW are making it a priority. Abodi uses sustainable fabrics like hemp, organic cotton, up-cycled vegan leather, and recycled plastic in her collection. ZSIGMOND’s pieces were composed of vintage fabrics. Tomcsanyi focuses on slow-fashion techniques including on-demand manufacturing— the label received Susie Bubble’s stamp of approval in its early days.

To Do: Visit the Nanushka boutique

The most established Hungarian brand is Nanushka, which was co-founded by creative director Sandra Sándor and her husband, Peter Baldaszti, who serves as CEO. Unfortunately, Nanushka did not show in Budapest this season but if you’re into chic shopping experiences, check out their Bauhaus-inspired boutique and make a stop at their in-house cafe for a coffee as well.

To Do: Sail the Danube

Although there is no wrong time of day to embark upon an hour-long cruise of Europe’s second-longest river—it flows from the Black Forest to the Black Sea—we recommend booking a ticket for an evening ride. There is something almost Disney-esque about seeing twinkling lights from the various bridges, castles, and Parliament reflected against the darkened waters. Be sure to listen to the onsite recording to learn more about the fascinating history of the area, and soak it all up with a glass of Champagne (courtesy when you buy your ticket).

To Do: Go to the Thermal Baths!

This is a must! There are nine thermal baths in Budapest and over 100 hot springs. Soaking in these mineral-filled waters can help ease your aches and pains and can also be a social experience (if you want it to be one!) The Széchenyi Baths are quite a tourist attraction with their large outdoor pools and legendary “sparties” in the evenings. (We saw the Pelso show—dedicated to leisurewear and swimwear—at one of the indoor locations.) Across the Danube sits the Hotel Gellert spa and baths. The cavernous art deco spa has a giant lap pool (though you must wear a swim cap to enter), and baths of varying temperatures (cold plunges 16 degrees Celsius up to human soup levels at 40 degrees C). Pro tip: bring a towel and flip-flops unless you want to be the dork walking around in Nikes and using a scarf as a towel as this reporter did.

To Do: Get a facial at Omorovicza

The well-to-do Omorovicza brand sells at Bergdorf Goodman and is featured at the Four Season Spa in New York. It was founded as a means to tap into the geological healing properties of the thermal baths in skincare form. At the flagship boutique in central Budapest, there is a soothing spa situated behind the storefront. Omorovicza cleverly rebranded facials as “skin therapy sessions” steeped in curative Hungarian practices. I got the express session which delivered a reinvigorating glow to my jet-lagged visage.

To Stay: The Dorothea Hotel

The Dorothea Hotel is brand new (opened in November 2023) and is centrally located making it an easy walk to the historic Jewish Quarter, shopping areas, and the Danube. Since it is operated under the Marriott International Hotel chain, you’ll find reliably good service. A recurring theme of this post is spa culture, but I must say the spa there is pretty divine, especially for just a traditional massage. For something a bit more boutique try Hotel Rum, as recommended by Nanushka’s Sandra Sándor.

Eat Well!

There are so many cool restaurants in Budapest that it’s impossible to try and list them all here. The most well-known Hungarian dishes are chicken paprikash, stuffed cabbage, and of course goulash! Hungarian cottage cheese is also a big deal. (Turogumboc is a particularly delicious fried cottage cheese dumpling dessert with sweet cream.) My favorite meals were at Stand25 Bisztró, Déryné, and Retek Bistro.

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