UAD GALA 2016: THE NIGHT WHEN CREATIVITY SAVED THE WORLD

Over the years The UAD Gala has established itself as a platform whose aim is to promote young graduates of the UAD Department of Fashion Design. Through the graduates’ fashion show, which involves very complex logistics, innovative collections are presented to specialists and representatives of the creative industries. The collections always try to be relevant for the 21st century fashion landscape, through themes that are focused on specific issues of contemporary lifestyle, a thorough study of volumetries and clothing morphologies generating novel interventions on textile surfaces, the relationship between body and garment, and an elaborate styling.

The implication of the Department of Fashion Design in the educational process of their students is rewarded by their professional achievements. Thanks to scholarship programs, the UAD students were able to apply and be accepted in internships at international brands such as: Ann Demeulemeester, Craig Green, Ann Sophie BACK, Nasir Mazhar, BLESS, Erdem, Marios Schwab, Meadham Kirchhoff, Barbara i Gongini, Ashish, Michael Sontag, HAAL, H&M. Two of last year’s Gala graduates have obtained important results: Andreea Castrase now works for the department of creation at H&M, and Ancuta Sarca was one of the finalists of the international competition, Designer for Tomorrow.

This year’s collections were living proof of the educational and professional development that takes place within the Department of Fashion Design. With the didactical support of Elena Basso Stanescu, Lucian Broscatean, and Anca Pia Rusan, the students designed versatile, functional, and modern collections. There were collections that stood out immediately, and collections that were more subtle in their artistic approach. But each and every one of the 27 collections had something particular, something creative, and personal. The 10 collections I chose to analyze represented, for me personally, aspects of the fashion universe that interest me. The way they were portrayed in these collections offered me the chance to explore those aspects from a different perspective.

RAMONA MANGHIUC

Ramona finds inspiration in Romania’s recent past, and delivers a collection that is nostalgic in a playful manner. During the communist years, the uniform played an important part in people’s lives. From kindergarten, until employment, the uniform gave its wearer a social identity. Ramona Manghiuc reinvents the notion of the uniform by playing with its characteristics. She uses simple shapes, primary colors (referencing the colors of the Romanian flag) in order to orchestrate contemporary ensembles that revolt against an oppressive system, whose days are over, but whose cultural repercussions are still present. The styling of the collection uses symbols of bravery, badges of honor which she transforms in simple embellishments, esthetical objects without any historical meaning for those that did not live during the communist years. Even the title of the collection speaks of a loss of meaning, a blissful historical amnesia: Ceau, an abbreviation of the fearful communist leader’s name, becomes a cordial form of greeting.

Ramona Manghiuc

BOGDAN DRUTA

Bogdan Druta’s revolt is also connected to the idea of identity, but in his case it is a physical, not a social one. He seeks freedom in constraint, acceptance in discrimination, vulnerability in intolerance. The designer’s unisex rendering of shapes reveals his desire to blur the physical boundaries between sexes. The garment’s earthly tones represent his visual statement against contrasts. His protest is a subtle one, but his clothes are powerful enough the stand alone.

Bogdan Druta

LILIANA TIMIS

The road to self-discovery is paved with ambiguity. Liliana Timis invites us on her personal journey of identitary exploration. Her monochromatic visual composition is an introspect reflection on the concepts of androgyny, identity, and the ambiguity of such concepts. The rigid surfaces of the black garments are invaded by unexpected transparences. The play on surfaces and textures is sometimes intriguing, and the consistent styling communicates harmoniously with the musical arrangement of the collection, Bernard Herrmann’s composition for Hitchcock’s Psycho.

Liliana-Timis

ADRIANA TIMOFTI

One has to re-tie the knots with tradition from time to time, and Adriana Timofti felt this need, so she transformed it into a subtle reinterpretation of ethnicity through her collection. By using traditional symbols, she designed well-tailored minimal pieces that evoke an archaic world in such a way that it looks contemporary. Her combination of different textures, bound by zippers, and accessorized with geometric- shaped designer objects seemed to be a smart approach to the symbolic signification of the knot.

Adriana Timofti

NICOLETA BOTNARU

The auditive enhancer that first caught my attention, a track from Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut soundtrack,  was part of Nicoleta’s device to lure us into a world of utopia, decadence, narcissism, and illusions, a world that might seem a little too similar to the world of fashion. Her well-tailored garments are not simple pieces of clothing, but personal statements of opulence and social status. They are revealing the body, but are protecting the wearer by communicating her belonging to a privileged group. Though the intangibility is only a mask, the frailty of what’s behind it is always intriguing.

Nicoleta Botnaru

ANA MARIA PUT

Anamaria Put delivered a clean and functional collection, composed of desirable modern pieces. The woman who would wear her designs, her future client, surely is someone who knows who she is, she wants her clothes to be versatile, and offer her freedom of movement. She likes her clothes to be subtle in order to enhance her personal aura of mystery. She is a traveler, collecting new meanings in each journey she takes, as her clothes do.

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CARLA PUT

An “all black” collection is mistakenly considered by some as something easy and safe. A monochromatic collection can become repetitive, boring and pretentious really fast. But not Carla’s collection. Her non-color statement is emotional, bearing something eerie within it. The smartly placed brooches, and necklaces makes one think of ritualic objects which, if positioned accordingly, have the ability to offer access to its wearer into an imaginary space, a supernatural realm where the conscious intertwines with the subconscious. But despite this visual metaphor, the clothes are strong enough to function on their own. They are well tailored, wearable, and functional.

Carla Put

LUIS DRAJAN

In our present times, the existence of subcultures is a subject up for debate. The short life of trends, the uncontrollable desire for what’s new, and a predisposition for scrolling through social groups makes the process of consolidating a subculture almost impossible. If today’s culture is focused on individuality, then maybe the subculture that derives from it is that of an individualism of excesses. Its members are those who cultivate a lifestyle of hedonistic excesses. Their weapon of choice is narcissism. Luis Drajan’s collection offers us a glimpse into such a subculture. The clothes that he designs may well function as uniforms for the sympathizers of a radical narcissism. Always ready for party, seeking attention through self-irony, they prefer to detach themselves from reality and live their augmented lives within online social platform. The “nostril bleeders” as the designer nicknames them are aware of their addiction, and because they expose it in such a detached manner, they make us uncomfortable, and question our own hidden addictions.

Luis Drajan

SABINA POP

Sabina Pop’s collection is inspired by women who have influenced the art world. Artists such as Judith Chicago, Louise Bourgeois, and Vanessa Beecroft were her muses, their art functioning as background for Sabina’s exploration of the idea of emancipation. Throughout her collection she experiments with different patterns, textures, in a colorful juxtaposition. The woman she envisions finds liberation in reappropriation. The way she uses color blocks and geometries communicates, at a visual level, the daring nature of the wearer and her preference for a modern wardrobe. Like her muses, who succeeded in liberating themselves through their art, Sabina offers us the possibility to dare and experiment with our wardrobein a liberating manner.

Sabina Pop

EMESE BAKO

Like your favorite scene from a movie, or a song that you like so much you play it on repeat for two days, a memorable fashion collection haunts you. It sticks to your retina and travels with you until it becomes a memory, and a benchmark for future aesthetical references. But like memory, fashion can sometimes play tricks on you. Because it is such a powerfully visual medium, in many cases the image can be more powerful than the message, but not in the case of Emese Bako’s collection. Her inspiration comes from the idea that “attitude becomes form”. Her aesthetical analysis of this idea becomes an in-depth exploration of the transformation of concept into object. For her, fashion is a trickster, the crystal embellishments she applies on the garments play with our perception, their movement and sparkle seduce us, and trigger our imagination. The purple velvet used in some of the pieces induces a dreaming state, and the shiny surfaces, elegantly reveal the transparencies. Her understanding of fashion is mature because her designs are not artistic experimentation with form; they are functional objects of desire. Together with the styling of the collection and the haunting soundtrack (Skeeter Davis – The End of the World), Emese Bako’s collection truly stands out.

Emese Bako

Our present is governed by rupture. It exists in the enormous differences between social classes, in financial inequalities between countries, in the way media communicates different events, in the way we communicate with each other. Current socio-political events force us to find ways of escaping reality, hoping that this way all that’s bad will go away. But nothing good can ever come out of such an approach. What we can do is find ways of fighting against these ruptured times. Together, with their own means, within the walls of the University of Art and Design from Cluj-Napoca, the department of Fashion Design, composed of students and their professors managed to find the perfect “weapon” for fighting against troubled times: creativity.  Fashion is not a secluded domain; it does not rely on solitary elements, it is dependent on communication, collaboration, and interdisciplinarity. It may not solve diplomatic conflicts (although I’m sure that it helps in some ways), or stop world hunger, but it will keep on asking questions and try finding answers through creativity.

Photo credit: Emil Costrut, powered by QSmile, Claudia Corega

 

Fashion Rhymes – Prada Menswear a/w 2016

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Turmoil bubbles all around us

Is there someone who can save us?

There’s uncertainty in the contemporary

So let’s take a trip through history!

Let us all meet in a square

And watch Sigmund and Simone

Wrestle with mythical gods

Drawn on deconstructed cloths

Worn by a new kind of sailors,

Who went on a journey seeking some wild roses,

But they brought back only sorrowful stories.

Can other people relate to these stories,

To the challenges that they confronted?

Is Prada’s updated historicism

Just another consumable “ism”?

“Don’t be serious,” she giggles

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Image source:

  • first set of images:  ‘dis-dressed’ ,special project by Willy Vanderperre
  • second set of images: Virginia Arcaro

Povestea unei transformari de look / The Story of a Makeover

Schimbarile, mai ales cele radicale, nu au prea facut parte din viata mea de pana acum. Din diferite motive, sau poate doar din comoditate, am ales mereu sa urmaresc si sa analizez schimbarile din jurul meu distantandu-ma de ele. Treptat, mi-am creat un spatiu privat in care ma simteam in siguranta, cu care ma identificam, in care puteam sa ma dezvolt in ritm propriu. Acest tip de spatiu cred ca e mai cunoscut sub denumirea de  „zona de confort”.

Astfel ca, invitatia din partea echipei Vestige de a deveni noua lor imagine a insemnat pentru mine o provocare, din mai multe puncte de vedere. A fost o provocare din punct de vedere estetic (aceasta e prima data cand ma despart de culoarea mea de par naturala, e prima data cand am ocazia sa experimentez atatea tipuri diferite de machiaj si de coafura), a fost o provocare din punct de vedere al modului in care comunic si ma comunic exteriorului, si nu in ultimul rand, a fost o provocare din punct de vedere personal (am avut ocazia de a-mi deconstrui „zona de confort”).

Am acceptat aceasta provocare in primul rand pentru ca a venit din partea unor profesionisti in care am incredere. Daca cititi acest blog, stiti foarte bine ca am urmarit inca de la inceput activitatea salonului Vestige Atelier des Beaux Arts. Vestige este un proiect conceput de cei doi fondatori ai sai, Simina Cheteles si Raul Tisa din pasiune, dedicare, si dorinta de a impartasi celor interesati o altfel de viziune asupra frumusetii, o frumusete privita ca un atribut al personalitatii. Este de asemenea primul salon din Cluj care a fost alaturi de tinerii designeri clujeni oferindu-le un spatiu in care isi pot expune creatiile vestimentare spre cumparare (showroom-ul a fost inaugurat odata cu salonul Vestige Atelier des Beaux Arts, iar acum s-a mutat in cel de-al doilea salon Vestige, Vestige Centre Ville). Aceasta fiind doar una din multele colaborari frumoase dintre salon si zona designului vestimentar. Printre colaborarile de seama ale sale se numara colaborarea cu Gala UAD, cu Festivalul de film TIFF, cu cele mai de seama reviste de specialitate, ELLE si Harper’s Bazaar, participari la concursuri nationale si internationale workshop-uri tinute de experti din domeniul modei.

Al doilea motiv pentru care am acceptat provocarea de a deveni imaginea lor a fost transparenta de care au dat dovada in promovarea acestei imagini. Daca alte saloane aleg sa apeleze la modele profesioniste, Vestige a riscat de la inceput si a preferat sa reinventeze frumusetea neexplorata a unor femei obisnuite. Astfel ca, schimbarea de look devine ceva mai mult decat o simpla schimbare de look, ea implica o schimbare de atitudine si induce curajul de a explora diferitele ipostaze ale propriei feminitati. Cu ajutorul Siminei Cheteles care mi-a compus frumoasa nuanta de blond pudrat rose, al Lidiei Gligor care mi-a scos in evidenta feminitatea, prin machiaj,  purtand creatiile talentatului designer Ovidiu Pop, accesorizate de bijuteriile unicat create de Raluca Buzura si gentile semnate INDEE, am intrat in pielea unor diferite tipologii feminine. Pe parcursul acestei transformari am avut ocazia sa joc diferite personaje, realizand in final ca fiecare dintre ele contribuie la construirea propriei mele identitati. Pot fi seducatoare, romantica, gingasa, rafinata, creativa, sofisticata. Descoperindu-mi aceste noi ipostaze, am realizat ca feminitatea poate fi cea mai subtila arma a unei femei, pentru ca ea confera frumusetii puterea de a deveni atemporala.

(scroll down for the english version)

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Concept and Hairstyling  – Simina Diana Cheteles

Make-up – Lidia Gligor

Fashion Designer – Ovidiu Pop

Jewellery Designer – Raluca Buzura

Bag Designer – INDEE

Photographer – Emil Costrut

Changes, especially radical ones, have never been an important part of my life. For various reasons, or just out of convenience, I always chose to follow and analyze the changes around me by distancing myself from them. Gradually, I managed to create a private space where I felt safe, a space in which I found myself, and where I was able to grow at my own pace. This kind of space I think it’s better known as the “comfort zone”.

So, the invitation that came from the Vestige team, to become their new image represented a challenge for me, from different aspects. It was a challenge from an aesthetic point of view (this was the first time I changed the color of my hair, the first time I experience such a wide range of hairstyles and make-ups), it was a challenge for the way in which I usually communicate my identity to the world, and last, but not least, it was a challenge from a personal point of view (I had the opportunity to finally deconstruct my comfort zone)

I accepted this challenge first of all because it came from a team of professionals in whom I trust. If you are followers of my blog, you already know that I have been following and supporting the activity of Vestige Atelier des Beaux Arts. Vestige is a project conceived by its two owners, Simina Cheteles and Raul Tisa, out of passion, dedication, and the desire to share a different vision of beauty, a beauty regarded as an attribute of personality.  It is also the first beauty salon in Cluj which supported young designers by offering them a space where they could showcase their designs (the designers showroom was open at the same time as Vestige Atelier des Beaux Arts, but it was recently moved and rebranded inside the second Vestige beauty salon,  Vestige Centre Ville). This is just one of the many special collaborations between Vestige and the fashion design domain. Among the most notable collaborations there is the collaboration with the UAD Gala, with the TIFF Film Festival, with ELLE and Harper’s Bazaar, participations in national and international competitions, workshops organized by the salon in Cluj, held by experts from the fashion field.

The second reason for which I accepted the challenge of becoming their image was due to the transparency they have shown in promoting their image in the past. If other salons turn to professional models for their campaigns, Vestige chose to take a risk, even from the beginning, and preferred to reinvent the unexplored beauty of an ordinary woman. Thus, a makeover becomes more than a simple change of look, it also implies a change of attitude and gives you the courage to experiment the different aspects of your own femininity. With the help of Simina Cheteles, who dyed my hair in this beautiful shade of powdered pink blonde, and of Lidia Gligor who highlighted my feminine features through make-up, by wearing the design pieces created by the talented Ovidiu Pop, accessorized by designer jewellery made by Raluca Buzura, and INDEE handbags, I managed to portray different types of feminine beauty. Throughout this transformation, I had the opportunity to play with different characters in which I discovered bits and pieces of my own character. I discovered that I can be seductive, romantic, delicate, refined, creative, sophisticated.  By discovering new facets of my own femininity, I realized that femininity can be women’s most subtle weapon, because it offers beauty the power to become timeless.

Into the Woods with Juergen Teller

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Juergen Teller is unsettling us with each new photo, collaboration, campaign. His latest, the F/W 2015 Ad Campaign for Sonia Rykiel is another proof of his ability to twist our preconceived ideas of what beauty is. And for this, he teams up with the new artistic director of Sonia Rykiel, Julie de Libran who has previously worked with Louis Vuitton and Prada. Since she took the artistic helms of the brand, she has managed to handle Sonia Rykiel’s large legacy and to infuse it with modernity and a little bit of edge.

What I particularly like about this fashion film, besides Georgia May and Lizzy Jagger, is Teller’s clever play on image and sound. If you watch the video on mute, there is a kind of a dark sweetness emanating from the images, but if you turn on the sound, composed of the looped laughter of the sisters, the whole scenery turns into an eerie visual composition where the fantasy of luxury and the fascination of the natural unknown come out to play.

Images:

How Not to Get Bored (of Fashion) on Weekends

For me, the best way to relax on weekends is to watch movies. Sometimes, they can be the best remedy for fatigue, stress, boredom, sadness, and other such feelings that accompanied you throughout the week. So I’m thinking of sharing with you, each week, one movie that helped me detach from reality, and helped me enrich my visual repertory.

For this week, I chose Air Doll, a movie directed by Hirokazu Koreeda.

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WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

As in many Japanese movies, the plot synopsis is either hard to put into words, or (if you manage that) the words don’t do it justice, so please bear with me.  The movie is about a sex doll, named Nozomi, who is the sole companion of a middle aged man. He treats her as a human being, and one day, as he is away at work, the doll starts to come to life. And from here on, the weird delicate beauty of the movie unravels, but you will have to experience that on your own.

WHY DID I LIKE IT?

Air Doll is a tender visual metaphor about the unbearable lightness of life, and love, and human connection. Koreeda’s dreamy visual style captures Nozomi’s coming to life, her discovery of love and suffering in a world where people are so afraid to experience such emotions that they isolate themselves. They replace humanity with inanimate objects so they can protect themselves from pain. The director’s camera is floating through typically Japanese settings at a leisurely pace, mostly observing, sometimes even wandering, and it allows us, the viewers, to rediscover reality through Nozomi’s eyes. The soundtrack is composed by World’s End Girlfriend and it goes so well with the atmosphere of the movie that it merges you deep into Koreeda’s magical realism.

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IS THERE ANY FASHION IN IT?

The female character of the movie, impeccably interpreted by Bae Doona, has a limited wardrobe, composed mainly of fetishistic costumes (housemaid costume, nurse costume), due to her initial nature. They reminded me of Marc Jacobs collaboration with Richard Prince, way back when Marc was designing for Louis Vuitton, and of Murmur’s “Roleplay” collection.

74fe9c25a9713597974d243f6b942907Nozomi’s outfits, when she starts coming to life, become innocent, resembling a young girl’s wardrobe, in pale colors and fluid materials. Her style can easily be described as eerie, and fragile, as her existence.  

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Dress Like a Painting

If you are tired of dressing like a celebrity, or like a fashion icon, if your everyday fashion ensembles are too normcore, if you are tired of trends, or just tired of fashion people telling you how you should dress….dress like a painting.

Write in Google a painter whose name you’ve heard on the news because his paintings were sold in an auction for a surrealist sum of money, go to “Images”, and select your favorite painting based on color, shape, and on how pretty and interesting you consider it to be, and start composing your outfit.

For today, I chose Pablo Picasso’s painting called “Women with Yellow Hat”. It depicts one of his muses; I think she was also his last. For those of you who are interested in finding out more about the girl in the painting, her name is Jacqueline Roque and she appears in more paintings than any other of Picasso’s muses. A strong, and sort of strange woman, isolating herself and Picasso in the villa Chateau de Vauvenargue, is depicted in this painting as a tender, yet sinuous being. Her face is half covered in an almost burning light, half covered in darkness. I like the toughness of the lines that define her features, and I enjoy Picasso’s use of primary colors.

My designer choices for reinterpreting Jacqueline’s portrait would be:

– a jacket and a  bracelet by Celine

– shoes by Stella McCartney

– hat by Eugenia Kim

A little bit of toughness, a little bit of playfulness, and a little bit of tromp l’oeil romanticism.

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How to Have Fun with Trends

I have never been a fan of the color red when it comes to my personal fashion choices, but I have always been intrigued by its use in different visual compositions. Be it paintings, posters, videos, or movies, the powerful presence of this color always caught my attention. REDRUM, REDRUM, REDRUM, keeps coming to my mind, and it has a lot to do with how I perceive this color on a symbolic level. Love and death, sex and violence can easily be associated with the color red, and can infuse it with the power of subversion. And when it comes to subversion and the many facets of the color red, one must simply mention Kubrick, one of the movie directors who succeeded in transforming movie frames into enigmatic visual narratives. Kubrick’s use of primary colors which carry symbolic significance represents one of the main characteristics of his work. Thus, red underscores varying levels of meaning in his movies: physical and psychological violence in A Clockwork Orange, and The Shinning, sexuality and temptation in Eyes Wide Shut, humanity and lack of it in Space Odyssey.

Some of this season’s collections bare a scarlet sign, and as I was browsing them I came up with an idea: to select the pieces which resemble characters from Kubrick’s movies. I chose them based on the atmosphere of the movie, on the psychological characteristics of the characters, but also based on their fashion choices as they were revealed in the movies. It’s a fun creative game which you can play while watching your favorite movies.

Alice Harford (Eyes Wide Shut) dressed in Alexander McQueen

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(Full Metal Jacket) The uniforms worn by the soldiers designed by Thomas Tait

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Wendy Torrance (The Shinning) dressed in Hermes

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Lady Honoria Lyndon (Barry Lyndon) dressed in Simone Rocha

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The Cat Lady (A Clockwork Orange) dressed in J. W. Anderson

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Any female character (2001: A Space Odyssey) dressed in Christopher Kane

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Lolita (Lolita) dressed in Fendi

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Image source:

10 Ingredients for a New Generation of Designers

The current state of fashion was described by some as overabundant, redundant, and obsolete in a way. These words weigh heavy on the designers and challenge them to come up with a plan to resuscitate the curiosity and excitement of the fashion crowd. Some have focused on the story, some on the heritage, some on innovation, some on product. A similar mood and a desire to refresh the “current state of fashion affairs” was felt during this year’s UAD Gala, an event celebrating its 21st edition. From the unconventional venue where the event was held, to the soundtrack of each collection, every little detail was smartly orchestrated and managed to infuse a sense of optimism and ease.

26 collections belonging to this year’s graduate students of the Fashion Design department walked down the catwalk, a catwalk specially designed for the event on the halls of the modern Sala Polivalenta in Cluj-Napoca. The BA collections were coordinated by Prof.Univ.Phd. Elena Basso Stănescu and Lect.Univ.Phd. Lucian Broscățean, while the MA collections were coordinated by Prof.Univ.Phd. Elena Basso Stănescu and Prof.Univ.Phd. Anca Pia Rusan.

As in every year since I’ve been attending the UAD Gala as fashion aficionado, supporter of the event, or as member of the Henkel jury (from which I had the pleasure of taking part this year), my first reaction after watching the collections was one of admiration towards the talent of the graduate designers, but also towards the collective involvement of those who guide, and support their talent. What follows next is a period of a few days in which I revisit my first impressions of each collection. I look at the photos, I read my notes, I try to make up stories that can narrate what some of the collections managed to convey. But this year, thinking about what I told you at the beginning of the article, I felt the need to try a new approach and think of the “ingredients” that made this year’s UAD Gala an invigorating event.

  1. Optimism

Aliz Simon – Nouvelle Ere

Mixing with ease the minimalism of colour combinations and experimentation with shapes, Aliz Simon managed to portray a personal view of a new age, as the title of the collection announces. The association of hard and soft materials reveals a modern type of femininity. The woman she envisions belongs to present times, is not afraid to experiment, and manages to maintain her innocence through a sophisticated play on details. Her optimism and wits when it comes to the reinterpretation of symbols and sophistication convinced me and the other members of the Henkel jury to reward her with the Perwoll Young Designers Award.

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  1. Interdisciplinarity

Diana Ilea – Untitled

Blurring the lines between art and fashion, Diana Ilea plays with the concept of abstraction. Inspired by modern art, her collection reflects the search for meaning through simplicity. The minimalist lines of the garments are destabilized by violent strokes of red and abstract insertions of ‘untitled” doodles. The association of materialities infuse energy into the designs.

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  1. References

Linda Szabo – Parallels

Referencing the feminine lines characteristic of Dior’s “new look” and combining them with the hardness of elements belonging to military apparel, Linda Szabo’s collection reveals her interest in the historical investigation of fashion. The softness of the colour pallet is contrasted by the toughness of the harnesses, the asymmetric tailoring, and the wadding volumetries. A certain metaphorical struggle can be sensed in Linda’s investigation of the parallels between war and peace, austerity and aesthetical indulgence.

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  1. Reinterpretation

Bianca Negrea – Fuse

The story of a collection is composed of separate points of reference and it takes a skilled narrative tailor to sew them together. Bianca Negrea found inspiration in a zoomorphic folkloric ritual which takes place in winter in some parts of Romania, and is known as “Fools Day”. This ritual implies dressing up in a bear suit, people covered in mud and lard, so it seems kind of crazy of Bianca to choose such an inspiration for her collection. But this is where her collection stands out, due to the designer’s ability to reinterpret a story and infuse it with new meanings. By extracting only the relevant aspects of this story and filtering them through her own esthetic perspective, Bianca Negrea managed to present us a very cool, urban and extravagant collection…which is a long way from lard and mud.

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  1. Social commentary

Regian Frolich – “Rising Weapons”

Besides their aesthetic function, the purpose of clothes is to protect the wearer from the aggressions of his surrounding environment, be it climatic, social, or human aggressions. Regian Frolich’s collection, entitled “Rising Weapon” seems to tackle a sensitive aspect of our present: the impending threat of war generated by the ongoing conflicts from different parts of the world. Inspired by military attire, his clothes are designed to shelter our physical body from the destructive social nature. The pieces composing the collection are layered through styling in order to resemble a textile shield which renders the feeling of safety, without ignoring the functional aspect of such attire.

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  1. Deconstruction and Reconstruction of Folkloric Heritage

Nadejda Iacubina – “Marita-ma mama!”

When it comes to deconstructing Romanian folklore, many would roll their eyes and tell you that nothing new can be said or done about the subject. Nadejda Iacubina begs to differ, and I salute her for that, because I think that in order to consume ones curiosity regarding a certain subject, one should revisit it, deconstruct and reconstruct it until you assimilate what you were meant to learn and discover. It is a kind of ritual of self-discovery, and the idea of ritual stands at the core of Iacubina’s collection. From a spiritual perspective, the ritual of marriage represents a union between two individuals, who become one. Focusing on the reinterpretation of traditional male attire, the designs symbolise a renunciation of all preconceived ideas regarding gender differences and reveal a visual union of the couple. The clothes were made out of raw cotton, leather, and wool with graphic insertions of gold, harmoniously combined. The accessories were inspired by dowry chests, revealing the designer’s attention to details.

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  1. Meditation

Magdalena Butnariu – “Spirit Amara: “an harm it none, do what ye will”

The fragile nature of creation offers it a unique beauty. Magdalena Butnariu’s collection investigates this kind of beauty attributing it to nature, celebrating its ability to detach itself and those that embrace it from a mechanized existence. As the models came down the runway in their perfectly starched ensembles, I couldn’t help imagining them as members of a cult, a secret society living in a dystopic reality which has lost its contact with nature, carrying on their backs the remains of a lost world. Eager to save the last traces of humanity, they carry in their wooden and glass backpacks the last specimens of plants, hoping they will find a way to save them. They also hide between the perfectly cut and pleated folds of their garments, as in a herbarium, their favourite flowers which still bare the smell of grass, and trees, and rain. The detached beauty of the garments bore a kind of nostalgia which invites you to meditate on the importance of nature and memory. Through her story, designs, accessories and the mood her collection generated, she managed to impress the Henkel jury and was rewarded with the Perwoll Young Designers Award for best MA collection.

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  1. Eclecticism

Ancuta Sarca – “Eleganza”

One of the reasons I enjoyed this year’s UAD Gala was the fact that I got to see some of the BA graduates from two years ago, who were now presenting their MA collections. One of those designers is Ancuta Sarca whose funky “Ghetto Superstar” collection from two years ago made me think of running away to join the La S.A.P.E sartorial gang in Congo. During these two years Ancuta had the chance, through a scholarship offered by the University, to work as an intern in the Meadham Kirchhoff design studio in London. This experience did not change her aesthetic approach, but enriched it with a pathological desire to experiment. Her BA collection entitled “Eleganza” is an eclectic composition mixing 18th century opulence with 20th century subcultures. For me it had a New Romanticism feel which certainly had to do with the uninhabited joy and decadence of mixing colors and textures. Ancuta Sarca had fun designing her collection, from her rollercoaster ride through history and aesthetics, until the styling details like the shoes which were hand-made by her, or the abstract print strokes that covered some of the garments which were painted by Andreea Tivadar. ”Eleganza” can easily function as fashion manifesto for a youth subculture whose members enjoy contemplating the thought of drinking tea and eating cake with Marie Antoinette in a Candy Crush castle.

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  1. Irony

Alina Morar – Fara Numar

Alina Morar chooses to explore the manele subculture focusing on the fashion choices of those embracing it in order to raise questions regarding prejudices, differences, and the aesthetical value of kitsch. The distinct features of the manele fashion style are opulence, an attraction for oriental embellishments, logo display, western affordable luxury clothing brands, and flashy jewellery. Alina uses all these elements of a distinct fashion style and reinterprets them in such a way that it tricks us into liking a style which we despised for its lack of consistency, refinement and good taste. But how does she manage to do that? She uses elements from the manelist wardrobe such as suits, flashy jewellery, robes and sportswear and reinterprets them through different tailoring techniques to give them a modern and unconventional edge. Her irony is subtle and witty.

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  1. Introspection

Andreea Castrase – Rites of Passage

Having as sources of inspiration myth, ritual, ceremony, transition, Andreea Castrase’s collection distinguished itself through a certain detachment. Her introspective approach on the analysis of concepts allowed her to create garments which carry with them the beauty of ideas while being able to stand alone as functional and wearable items of clothing. The designer uses natural fabrics which she embellishes with lace to create the illusion of dimension, and metallic buckles to give weight and offer closure. Clothes can sometimes function as intimate symbols of personal transformation, and Andreea Castrase understands that. The items composing her collection have the ability to become timeless pieces, carrying with them  the stories of many rites of passage.

For her creativity, the use of concept and modern sewing and cutting techniques, Andreea Castrase was rewarded with the Syoss Award for innovative design.

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Photos by Emil Costrut

Every Cloud has a Silver Lining

Despite the rain and the mud which turned the first day of Electric Castle in a post-apocalyptic scenery where its inhabitants were forced to abandon their festival apparel (flowers, spikes and everything nice) and struggle to find a pair of rubber boots and a raincoat in order to blend in, and not sink in, the party spirit survived. The electric vibes managed to stop the rain, and during the last days of the festival the rubber boots turned from necessity into a fashion trend.

And speaking of fashion, there was plenty, and at the heart of it was the Fashion Unplugged space. For those who didn’t fancy the raincore trend (rubber boots + raincoat), for those who wanted to pimp their boots with colorful stencils, or for those who wanted to experience a total make-over, the Fashion Unplugged area was the best place to be. Throughout the festival, the Electric Castle “inhabitants” were able interact with designs signed by young Romanian designers from Cluj-Napoca. The price tags were friendly, and those interested in the clothes and accessories were not at all shy about buying them. The constant flow of visitors turned the Fashion Unplugged tent into a vibrant area of the festival. I am glad I had the chance to experience fashion in such a fun and youthful way.

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Styling sessions

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Some of the Fashion Unpluggers 11667333_1586323124963849_5949699054145119846_n

A Sneak Peek of the UAD Fashion Design Collections @ Expo Transilvania Exhibition

A long title for a short blog post, but the fact is I want to save all my fancy words for a long blog post with a short title in which I will tell you more about my favorite collections from this year’s UAD Gala. Until then, I have some images for you from the UAD Exhibition at Expo Transilvania which opened this Sunday and includes the graduation works of students from every University department.

This year, the Fashion Design department chose to present the works of the students through a photo editorial shot by Emil Costrut which was displayed on the walls of the exhibition hall. The photos represent stylized outfits of the graduates collections and offer us a glimpse of what the designers were trying to reveal through their designs. Some of my favorite collections were:

Aliz Simon

Aliz Simon

Bianca Negrea

Bianca Negrea

Nadejda Iacubina

Nadejda Iacubina

Alina Morar

Alina Morar

Ancuta Sarca

Ancuta Sarca

Andreea Castrase

Andreea Castrase

Magdalena Butnariu

Magdalena Butnariu

Getting Ready for the 21st UAD Gala

Busy week this week on the blog, a lot of exciting events, but the one closest to my heart is the UAD Fashion Design Gala. The event will take place on the 27th of June, which is tomorrow, and this year it will take place in an unconventional location, the new and very modern Sala Polivalenta building in Cluj-Napoca. I can’t wait to see the collections of this year’s graduates, especially the MA collections because a few of the MA graduates had a very interesting professional journey these last two years, and I am sure that their collections will reflect that.

I am also excited that once again I was invited to be a member of the Henkel jury who will award the best collections according to a set of criteria established by representatives of the brand.

Previews with some of the collections we will be viewing tomorrow can be seen on the official Gala UAD facebook page and Instagram, so if you are curious and want to stay in touch with the things to come, like and follow them 🙂

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Style Yourself

“Style can be cultivated along the way, or it can be mimicked. With a little skillfulness, you can simulate style. But the ones that truly have style are usually the ones who don’t care much about clothes. They are comfortable with themselves, and know themselves well, so style comes naturally to them. And this kind of easiness is something you are born with.” This is one of the many interesting and consistent statements that Ovidiu Buta, one of the most preeminent figures from the Romanian fashion industry has made throughout his career. His vast knowledge in the industry is confirmed by every creative project he initiates or takes part in. This is why the opportunity to meet and interact with him during the event organized by Vestige in Cluj-Napoca is something to look forward to.

Style Yourself is a compact styling course where Ovidiu Buta will share the most interesting and important styling tips and tricks, used by the industry’s specialists. Those who register to the event will have the chance to find out how to properly use colors, lengths, accessories, fabrics, and specific clothing items in order to highlight their natural beauty, as well as how to efficiently organize their wardrobe, and many more interesting facts.

The styling courses will take place this Friday and Saturday, starting from 6:00 pm at the new Vestige beauty center, Vestige Centre Ville, in the center of Cluj-Napoca. For more information, and for reservations, you can call these numbers: 0364 110 220 / 0364 102 914.

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@ Electric Castle, Fashion is Unplugged

FashionUnplugged_LOGO_ID_Profile_pic_yellow_01-1A couple of months ago I was telling you about a new creative project, Fashion Unplugged, whose aim is to promote young fashion designers from Cluj-Napoca as part of Electric City, an event promoting the forthcoming Electric Castle Music Festival.

After its success during the Electric City event, the Fashion Unplugged team is announcing a second project which will take place during the third edition of the Electric Castle Festival at Banffy Castle, near Cluj. The Fashion Unplugged project invites us fashion aficionados to mix good music with quality fashion design on a specially designed Fashion Stage where 20 designers, stylists, make-up and hairstyle specialists, photographers and special guests will offer us the chance to interact in a nonconventional way with fashion.

Throughout the entire music festival, the Fashion Unplugged “line-up” will include styling workshops, fashion consulting, trend presentations and personalized shopping sessions. The designs on display have been specially created for this event, and had music festival outfits as inspiration. Visitors can purchase the designed products on spot at affordable prices.

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The 20 designers who will showcase their designs on the Fashion Stage from the 25th of July until the 28th of July are: Aitai  Lorincz,  Flore  Diana,  Ancuța Sarca,  Andras Andrea, Crina Bulprich, Teodora Vișinescu, Oana Lupaș, Astrid Țîrlea, Ingrid Teodosiu, Anca Țința, Alexandra  Ivașcu,  Nazarica Bartoș, Luis  Drăjan,  Emese Bakó,  Georgiana  Giuroiu,  Florin  Brătan, Sabina Pop.

Fashion Unplugged is a chance for fashion lovers, as well as for a wider audience to interact with designers and their products, to find out more about their work and to consult specialists in styling (Catalin Enache, the official X Factor Romania stylist is the special guest of the event), hairstyle and make-up, and hopefully to understand that we can wear Romanian designs and be cool about it. Those who will step on the Fashion Stage at Electric Castle will get the chance to experience a total make-over which will be caught on camera by Emil Costrut and will be uploaded on the Catwalk15 app.

Fashion Unplugged is powered by The One Magazine.

Setup arrangements by Aramis Feeling

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Art & Fashion for Education

Among many qualities fashion has, one that is close to my heart is its power to change people through the stories it unfolds. Even though fashion design is based on individuality and how each designer reinterprets the world around them, the way in which their ideas, concepts and creations interact can generate a unique experience. Art and Fashion for Education is an event built around this idea of a special kind of interaction, an interaction between art, fashion and education whose goal is to raise funds for individuals with special abilities, but without financial possibilities. In order to achieve this noble goal, a series of Romanian designers were invited to create unique pieces of clothing inspired by renowned artists and their art works. The designers are: Smaranda Almășan inspired by Mike Kelley, Andreea Bădală by Méret Oppenheim , Lucian Broscățean by Joseph Kosuth, Ioana Ciolacu by Damián Ortega, Andrei Dudău by Apichatpong Weerasethakul , Răzvan Firea by Tamara Łempicka, Olah Gyárfás by Cy Twombly, Adelina Ivan by Antony Gormley , Irina Marinescu by Mircea Suciu , Marina Moldovan by Ben Vautier, Sabina Pop  by Nick Cave, Lucian Rusu by Gottfried Helnwein, Carmen Secăreanu by Maya Lin.

It was very interesting to see which were the chosen artists and how did the designers manage to translate art into clothing, to mix their individual aesthetic with the aesthetical universe of the artist they have chosen. In some cases I was able to guess the designer just by looking at his/her inspiration because I could sense the influence of a certain artist in a designer’s work. The entire story behind this event seemed to be a personal one. From the selection of the artist, to the choosing of the fabric, to the final display of the garment, each designer had the opportunity to recreate a work of art by infusing it with his/her personal touch.

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So when Lucian Broscățean invited me to take part in his project, as model for the series of images accompanying his design for this event I was overwhelmed with excitement. First of all because I have been a fan and follower of his work for a long time, and have always admired his in-depth analysis of concepts, his unique designs, and his meticulously constructed universe, second of all because I have always been interested in the dialogue between fashion design and art so this was a unique opportunity to observe the way in which this dialogue can be created. Lucian’s inspiration was the work of Joseph Kosuth, one of the most renowned conceptual artists of the 20th century. His work is centered on the exploration of the production and role of language and meaning within art, and although his art may seem detached and stripped of personal meaning, it seduces the viewer at an intellectual level… just like Lucian’s designs. The photos were taken by Mihai Plătică, a talented photographer from Cluj who managed to capture the atmosphere and depth of Lucian’s design and concept.

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Art & Fashion for Education is a project initiated and curated by Pavilion Curatorial Office (Răzvan Ion, Eugen Rădescu and Gergő Horváth) and Bucharest Biennale – Bucharest International Biennial for Contemporary Art. The funds raised throughout this event will be used to buy PC’s which will be donated to talented underprivileged teenagers. The beneficiaries of the program will be selected with the help of ‘Noi Orizonturi’ Foundation.

The exhibition opened on the 14th of May and will go on until the 12th of June inside the Teatrul de Comedie in Bucharest (The Comedy Theatre). It will also take place in Timișoara at the Art Museum (June 23 – July 17, 2015) and in Cluj-Napoca at the National Art Museum (September 3 – 16, 2015).

Fashion Unplugged

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This weekend in Cluj-Napoca, fashion unites its creative force with music and brings you Fashion Unplugged. The event is part of Electric City Youth Day, a series of concerts that will take place in different locations in the city throughout this Saturday. Fashion Unplugged aims at promoting Romanian fashion design and Romanian young fashion designers. Sala Polivalenta will host a concept space where visitors will be able to see and buy designer pieces belonging to: Andras Andrea, Florin Bratan – Flow, Luis Drajan, Diana Flore, Oana Lupas, Constantine/Renakossy, Anamaria Pop, Sabina Pop, Anca Tinta, and Teodora Visinescu.

The Fashion Unplugged team offers us a small preview of the collections that will be showcased on the 28th of March: a photo shooting of different outfits composed of the designers’ pieces perfect for concerts and after-parties. “Sporty-gal meets different kind of casual boys”, “Oversized details”, or “Metallic black&white” are styling alternatives put together by Diana Flore for the photo shooting. It’s up to you to choose to be comfortable and original, a little bit extravagant, urban glam, or all black.

unplugged shooting 1Cristina – shirt and pants Oana Lupaș

Andi – hoodie Diana Flore

Vlad – t-shirt Flow, pants Constantine/Renakossy

unplugged shooting 2Cristina – dress Sabina Pop

Andi – pants Luis Drăjan, t-shirt Constantine/Renakossy

Vlad – beanie Flow

unplugged shooting 3Cristina – jacket Oana Lupaș, t-shirt and pants Teodora Vișinescu

Fashion Unplugged is powered by The One Magazine.

Setup arrangements by Aramis Feeling www.aramisfeeling.ro

Photos: Emil Costruț

Models: Cristina Oltean, Andi Pop, Vlad Albu

Hair & make-up: Carmen Burci – Paese

Styling: Diana Flore

A Cloakroom of One’s Own

Olivier Saillard, one of the most renowned fashion historians and curators, together with the talented Tilda Swinton have orchestrated a new fashion performance. It premiered a few months ago in Paris during the Festival d’Automne à Paris, and was staged for the second time in Florence, during the Pitti Immagine Uomo event. Entitled “Cloakroom – Vestiaire Obligatoire”, the performance represents a visual reflection on the importance of personal interaction between clothes and their wearers.  In order to do that, Saillard separated the clothes from their owners, and used as symbolic space the cloakroom. The cloakrooms from theaters, restaurants, and clubs are temporary spaces, ephemeral places where clothes are kept while their owners are away. They are, in a way, heterotopic spaces, where clothes can gain new meanings. Alienated from their wearer, and from any status or affiliation with a specific brand, clothes become anonymous canvases waiting for someone to give them meaning. Cloakroom_3

Cloakroom_33Tilde Swinton and Olivier Saillard are the cloakroom keepers. But they do not only watch over the clothes while their owners are gone, they interact with them at a very emotional level. Tilda whispers secret words into the pockets of a coat; she gently caresses a scarf, and tries to resuscitate the meaning out of a blue blazer. Olivier sits quite in the background and subtly intervenes in the performance when he is needed. He is sometimes guiding her, other times helping her, and most of the time just watching. His presence is more subtle than Tilda’s, while her improvisation is almost hypnotizing. The artistic dynamic between the two of them is impeccable, and their performance is not at all pretentious. As Tilda said in an interview, “it is something quite ephemeral, you can’t quite describe it, you can’t write about it, although it’s nice for people to try and write about it, it’s an hour spent in a space…playing”. As I am writing this article, and listening to Tilda’s words, I’m realizing that she is actually right. Sometimes words are just not enough, they just disturb a more meaningful silence. Cloakroom_12

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Cloakroom_31Through his performances, Saillard has always tried to tackle different aspects of fashion. Whether it’s “The Impossible Wardrobe”, or “Eternity Dress”, his focus seems to be on the importance of clothes perceived as bearers of history, identity, and personal stories. With “Cloakroom – Vestiaire Obligatoire” he wanted to remind us the importance of humanity in fashion in a time when we are witnessing the objectification of objects through commerce. The fast paced life of a contemporary garment does not allow it to acquire identity, to form a relationship with its wearer, because there is always a new and more interesting garment waiting to be bought and consumed. Olivier Saillard and Tilda Swinton are trying to offer the clothes a space where they can rest, where they can be pampered and talked to, where they can be more than simple commodities.

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3 for Cluj

Last week I introduced a new category on the blog, promising you a weekly selection of three new and exciting designers. This week’s selection is based on the list of nominees for Romanian ELLE Style Awards category “Best Young Designer”. ELLE Style Awards is one of the most anticipated events in the Romanian fashion industry due to the magazine’s notoriety, as well as for its effervescent selection of designers, models, photographs, artists, and more. This year’s nominees for “Best Young Designer” category were: Alina Morar, Emese Bako, Crina Bulprich, and Imaculatura (a fashion project coordinated by Anca Adina Cojocaru and Irina Constantin). The winner, Alina Morar, was announced yesterday during the Award Gala which was held in Bucharest.

What I found interesting in this year’s selection for this category is the fact that out of 4 nominees, 3 are young designers from Cluj-Napoca. Alina Morar, Emese Bako, and Crina Bulprich are graduates of the University of Art and Design’s Fashion Design department, and together with some of their design colleagues, under the thorough guidance of their University professors, have managed to reconfigure the Romanian fashion map. Although its capital city – Bucharest – is still functioning as headquarter for the fashion industry, with all its events, magazines, boutiques, stores, and connections, Cluj-Napoca is becoming a laboratory for young and fresh ideas and designers. The reasons for this shift is due to the city’s artistic buzz, as well as the UAD (University of Art and Design) on-going strive to create a dialogue with the international fashion scene through internships, scholarships and creative support offered to their students. The emerging group of fashion designers are already proving their relevance on the national fashion stage.

ALINA MORAR

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EMESE BAKO

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CRINA BULPRICH

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Les femmes s’ennuient le dimanche

This week the Romanian brand MURMUR launched a new line of clothing, dedicated to a more private audience, MURMUR Roleplay. As those of you who are familiar with the brand may already know, the aesthetic explored by its designer Andreea Badala is centred on seduction, on sensuality and desire. The MURMUR woman is a strong woman because she knows how to explore her femininity through specific elements which define the feminine universe. Her private space is where she feels comfortable, and her clothes are her weapons of seduction.

With this new line of clothing, MURMUR Roleplay, Andreea Badala wants to explore the hidden corners of her woman’s private space. What she discovers is a place of escape from the everyday restrictions, from socially accepted norms which enclose her fantasy. MURMUR Roleplay explores this “forbidden” place and turns it into a playground for those willing to enter it, offering them an appropriate wardrobe for their secret fantasies.

This new clothing line is composed of outfits, and pret-a-porter pieces inspired by fantasies and roleplaying. Be it a sensual housewife, a seductive housemaid, an untamed athlete, a temptatious nun, or a naughty schoolgirl, all of these roles that a woman plays in order to allure the outside world into her private space are part of a process of self – discovery. All these different characters are hidden inside a woman’s subconscious. The trick is to know how and when to let them out to play.

The collection was launched in a nonconventional space – a hotel, as a performance where different models playing different roles were placed in separate rooms of the hotel. The performance was designed to resemble a peep-show where guests were invited to visually explore the phantasies orchestrated by the designer.

murmur roleplay

murmur roleplay

murmur roleplay

murmur roleplay

murmur roleplay

Photo: George Sandu

You can find the collection at: http://www.murmurstore.com/roleplay