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.

Ana Put

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

 

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A 20-a calatorie a Galei UAD

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O calatorie, de orice fel ar fi ea, implica obstacole, situatii neasteptate, descoperiri si redescoperiri, dezamagiri, surprize, intalniri si despartiri inevitabile. O calatorie te schimba si te invata ca doar acordand timp poti explora spatiile strabatute. Gala UAD este o calatorie care a ajuns la cea de-a 20-a destinatie si toti calatorii care au pornit in ea, mai devreme sau mai tarziu, au contribuit la cartografierea unui spatiu aparte. De la cadrele didactice care au incercat mereu sa le ofere studentilor resursele necesare pentru a-si perfectiona talentul, la organizatori care construiesc de la an la an una din cele mai relevante platforme de promovare a tinerilor designer de la noi din tara, la presa de specialitate care sustine talentele aflate la inceput de drum, sau la platformele online care viralizeaza prin mijloace proprii colectiile absolventilor, toti acesti “calatori” isi intersecteaza drumurile o data pe an pentru a lua cu ei mai departe in drumul lor o parte din creativitatea, energia si experienta Galei UAD.

14 colectii la nivel de licenta, coordonate de catre  Prof.Univ.Dr. Anca Pia Rusan, Lect.Univ.Dr. Lavinia Ban și Prep.Univ.Drd. Smaranda Bercea si 10 colectii la nivel de masterat coordonate de catre Prof. Univ.Dr. Elena Basso Stanescu și Prof.Univ.Dr. Anca Pia Rusan au stabilit reperele unui spatiu creativ unde voivozii se inarmeaza cu accesorii statement, personajele Disney ne dezvaluie partea intunecata a fanteziei, casnicele isi neaga conditia, subculturile mixeaza elemente din zone aparent eterogene, matematica si iubirea isi continua jocul in alb si negru, iar destinele trecutului bantuie inca strazile cateodata intortocheate, cateodata prea clare ale unui oras aflat intr-o continua metamorfoza. Pe podiumul amenajat in interiorul Teatrului Național din Cluj-Napoca au defilat deopotriva colectii feminine si masculine compuse din tinute realizate din materiale traditionale sau neconventionale prelucrate prin diferite tehnici de matlasare, imprimare, brodare. Colectiile prezentate, completate de un styling de efect si de accesorii pe masura (incaltamintea creata de Mihaela Glavan special pentru unele dintre colectii a fost preferata mea) au incercat sa se alinieze la tendintele din moda actuala si sa se integreze intr-un lifestyle contemporan.

Sabina Pop isi alege dificila sarcina de a ne face sa zambim intr-un prezent in care trecutul a fost de atat de multe ori reinterpretat incat multe batalii au fost pierdute in fata plictiselii si a nonsensului. Dar ea reuseste sa castige aceasta batalie, inarmata cu o mana de voivozi „blindati” in materiale neconventionale si bling-bling-uri care le atesta apartenenta la o castă cool si dezinvolta.

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Acelasi exercitiu ludic il incearca si Vitos Ildikó, adaugandu-i o tenta critica si pe alocuri sinistra. Gasindu-si inspiratie in imaginarul animatiilor Disney, Ildikó reinterpreteaza inocenta prin prisma luciditatii unui adult prins intr-o realitate precara. Tricotajele realizate din saci menajeri, ce constituie materialul principal al colectiei, țes un comentariu ironic la adresa societatii in care designerul traieste si este fortat sa recicleze aceleasi idei pentru a supravietui in sistemul modei. Razvratirea ei consta tocmai in procesul reciclarii, dar nu al ideilor ci al materialelor, intr-o incercare de a-si pastra inocenta viziunii.

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Colectia designerului Nazarica Bartoș m-a dus cu gandul la unul dintre filmele mele preferate, Blue Velvet. Intitulatata “White Picket Fence” si avand ca inspiratie imaginea casnicei anilor 50, colectia incearca sa ne ofere acces la ceea ce se ascunde dincolo de imaginea unei feminitati idealizate. The grass isn’t greener in the underground, asa cum nuantele de roz ale materialelor folosite de designer nu sunt ale unui roz care in mod normal te duce cu gandul la o feminitate gingasa, fragila, inocenta. Stylingul dezvaluie psihozele ascunse in spatele gardurilor perfect vopsite in alb, iar sacosele si borsetele alimenteaza dramatismul unui univers feminin captiv intr-o lume a prejudecatilor.

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Anamaria Puț ne spune povestea unui personaj nonconformist, obligat sa se adapteze unei lumi a nuantelor domoale. Surrender, numele colectiei, nu pare insa a fi declaratia de capitulare in fata normelor sociale, ci o manevra subtila si inteligenta de infiltrare in conformism fara a nega individualitatea purtatorului. Avand ca inspiratie stilul de viata si vestimentatia punk, colectia Anamariei Puț reuseste sa reinterpreteze haosul si socul vizual generat de punk intr-o maniera perversa. Perversitatea ei reiese din alegerea materialelor, din culorilor predominante, din styling-ul unitar.

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O alta colectie masculina care mi-a atras atentia a fost cea a lui Demeter Evelin intitulata Maasai Cricket Warriors. Explorand vestimentatia tribala si cea sportiva, cu trimitere la echipamentul jucatorilor de cricket din Kenya (echipa despre care am aflat cu aceasta ocazie ca militeaza pentru rezolvarea problemelor specifice comunitatii sarace), colectia construieste imaginea unui grup care pune pret atat pe vestimentatia pe care o poarta cat si pe mesajul pe care aceasta il transmite. Statement-urile pacifiste imprimate pe unele dintre piesele colectiei comunica la nivel vizual convingerile celor care aleg sa le poarte. Uniti in credinte, impartasind aceleasi valori, luptatorii urbani ai lui Demeter Evelin formeaza un trib degajat din care multi ar dori sa faca parte.

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Puț Carla investigheaza la randul ei dinamica unui grup de indivizi aparte. Atentia ei se indreapta spre cei aflati fara adapost, fortati sa supravietuiasca intr-un spatiu din care au fost exclusi. Relatia conflictuala dintre acestia si spatiul urban ostil se transforma treptat intr-o simbioza in care individul, pentru a supravietui, se camufleaza imprumutand elemente caracteristice din acel spatiu. Asocierea dintre materiale naturale si neconventionale, suprapunerile realizate prin styling intregesc o colectie consistenta. Rucsacele din material transparent poarta cu ele spiritul unor strazi cateodata goale, cateodata pline, la fel ca si strazile interioare ale purtatorilor.

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Iluzia optica in colectia lui Bakó Emese este compusa dintr-un joc al pieselor pierdute, o reuniune estetica a contrastelor. Al Jebre, numele colectiei este termenul care se afla la originea algebrei si la originea portretizarii iubirii de catre designer. Piese vestimentare masculine sunt suprapuse peste cele feminine, texturile diferite ale materialelor se completeaza reciproc, transparentele dezvaluie alte suprafete sub atenta observatie a designerului. Formulele prin care ea incearca sa exploreze natura schimbatoare a iubirii isi gasesc rezultatul intr-un dialog cerebral dintre sexe.

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Crina Moldovan se foloseste de formule matematice riguroase pentru a construi piese vestimentare cerebrale. ”Curatate” de orice artificiu vizual, piesele ce constituie colectia designerului, intitulata sugestiv Cub, pun accent pe functionalitate. Siluetele simple, construite din linii drepte sunt realizate din lana, metal, piele, materiale care, la nivel conceptual, fac trimitere la experimentele artistului minimalist, Carl Andre. Rigurozitatea ansamblurilor ma duce cu gandul la uniforme, uniformele unui grup de femei moderne, inteligente, care au capacitatea de a percepe versatilitatea si relevanta unei astfel de garderobe pentru prezentul in care traiesc.

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Colectia lui Aitai Lorincz ne confera o calatorie fizica si spirituala intr-un trecut dominat estetic de imaginea Reginei Maria. Siluetele colectiei sunt inspirate de silueta perioadei interbelice, de mantourile lui Paul Poiret, de linia camasilor de noapte taranesti, a sumanelor si caftanelor boieresti. Materialele selectate de designer, organza, tulul, stofele peliculizate sunt innobilate cu perle si pietre si contribuie la reconstruirea unui trecut romanțat.

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Gabriela Dejo isi gaseste inspiratia undeva departe de haosul occidentului. Estetica japoneza wabi-sabi reprezinta o modalitate de a percepe frumusetea printr-o acceptare a imperfectiunii. Imprimeurile inspirate din elemente ale naturii radiografiate, texturile materialelor folosite si accesoriile realizate din bambus contribuie la construirea unui univers vestimentar in care constientizarea ciclului natural al cresterii, degradarii si mortii il face pe individ sa isi reevalueze propriile valori.

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Departe de haosul si murmurul sacaitor al realitatii modei ne-au dus si colectiile absolventilor UAD de anul acesta si pentru cateva ore am reusit sa ne detasam de nimicurile cotidiene si ne-am reamintit (macar unii dintre noi) cat de frumos pare un nou inceput de drum. Restul…e doar fum si iluzie.

 

Credit foto colectii: Daniel Robu