The fashion label Thema Selection and its outlet in Oberdorf, a Zürich neighborhood, made quite a splash back in the 1970s in the placid city along the Limmat River. The label attracted notice with its unique style and eccentric fashion shows, and the shop itself became a favorite haunt of Zürich’s arts scene over the years. The shop and label creators Katharina Bebié, Ursula Rodel and Sissi Zoebeli were joined a few years later by Elisabeth Bossard, then Christa Derungs, and now Sonnhild Kestler.
Their plainly-cut work clothes for women made from men’s fabrics, garments that play on their androgyny, were way ahead of their time when first displayed at their original shop at Weite Gasse 9: in those days, most women dressed either like hippies or staid matrons. For two years the shop hardly drew any business, until in 1974 Vogue magazine wrote rapturously about the avant-garde fashion in Oberdorf. The three fashion shows that followed were the talk of the town, bolstered by headlines about international movie stars outfitted by Ursula Rodel and Sissi Zoebeli, as well as plenty of urban legends – which, unfortunately, can’t all be cleared up within the scope of this book. For who these women from Thema Selection were varies from one account to the next: sometimes it was the same configuration for years, then the lineup changed again. The official membership of this creative undertaking was never decisive, it was a shared can-do business credo that really mattered.
The backdrop to the history of this avant-garde enterprise is recounted here by the shop’s founders as well as their companions along the way, who were then, and remain to this day, part of that special zest for life.
With texts by Elisabeth Bronfen, Katharina Tietze, Martin Jaeggi, Jacqueline Burckhardt, Laurence Frey, This Brunner, Sibylle Berg, Walter Keller, Bice Curiger, and many more. With an insert by Ursula Rodel.