Fresh talents

Vogue x Saudi Arabia

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Vogue Italia teamed up with Rubaiyat, the faimous Saudi luxury fashion retailer, to support the young talents of Saudia Arabia fashion scene. The result was a great event held during 3 days (20th-22nd of April) in various locations of city of Jeddah – Boulevard, Rubaiyat Department Store, Park Hayatt hotel.

10 Saudi young fashion designers – the finalists of the Vogue contest, had the opportunity to showcase their creations in front of the Vogue team and to meet iconic figures such as Franca Sozzani, Alberta Ferretti, Silvia Venturini Fendi.

Finally there was not one, but four designers, selected by Vogue Italia as result of Saudi Talent Scouting. They will be further promoted by Vogue Italia, who provides them with a valuable support at the beginning of their career. Nora Aldamer of Chador, Mariam Bin Mahfouz and Nouf Hakeem of Haal Inc. will have the opportunity to participate at Milano Moda Donna, while Alaa Balkhy (Fyunka) will start a collaboration with Carpisa.

For me, as I attended for the first time a fashion event in Jeddah, it was a good opportunity to get a real picture of the Saudi fashion design scene and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. There were plenty of passionate youngsters, fresh graduates that showed maturity and professionalism in their creative approach. Therefore Vogue Experience Jeddah will go on.

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Selection of young Saudi fashion designers work, as displayed at Rubaiyat Department Store during the Vogue event, Saudi Talent Scouting in Jeddah.

Creepyyeha

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Definitely, launching and promoting your own fashion label became way easier these days. Yet with all the benefits provided, social media cannot do the job alone. The originality, creativity and desirability of the final product are also required for a successful business.

Creepyyeha is a good exemple. Brainchild of New York based designer Lisa Leung, Creepyyeaha offers an alternative approach to lingerie. Promoting the tempting game of underwear versus outerwear, hard pieces versus soft touch, Creepyyeah successfully mixes pop references in a new look of harajuku-style-lolita playing femme fatale. Using casual and charming presentation (most of the pieces are modeled by designer herself), adorable, eclectic and unique, Creepyyeaha rapidly gained attention both online and offline.

All the lingerie items are custom handmade, and can be ordered simply by contacting the designer.

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Gala UAD 2015 – Closeup of the Show

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The Fashion Design Gala of University of Art and Design Cluj-Napoca, a fashion event that has grown beautiful over the years, reaching its 21st edition in 2015, became a major reference of Romanian fashion design scene. Evolving in a professional context (both in terms of setup, organization and audience involved) the Gala show brings out a flow of creative energy, bursting with ideas and visual information – an almost hallucinatory gear that is uneasy to depict in a few words. Luckily, the pictures speak better than words.

Fortunately, an event of this scale enjoys a well deserved media coverage. Lots of reviews are written about UAD Fashion Gala every year. The same goes with this year’s edition. While I was wondering what else should I add to this chapter, I found appropriate to contribute with a few personal notes, highlighting some (technical) details  that caught my attention and probably were not so visible during the parade.

The show itself was impressive – the atmosphere at Sala Polivalenta Cluj-Napoca, the music, the long catwalk, the amazing audience. 26 collections of 35 were carefully selected for the show. Everyone could value the silhouettes outline, the simple and relaxed tailoring details, the shapes and fabrics developed by young graduates, along with accessories and styling. In addition, there was a welcomed difference between the BA and MA collections, in terms of concerns and creative approach, in the complexity of fashion discourse, in the way they developed and solved technical aspects. Graduation collections this year were coordinated by Prof.PhD Elena Basso Stanescu and Lect.PhD.Lucian Broscatean at BA level and by Prof.PhD Elena Basso-Stanescu and Prof.PhD Anca Pia Rusan at MA.

At first glance the collection displayed had a rather homogenous and unified look. At a closer examination the outfits become even more attractive. While most of the silhouettes and minimalist constructions presented on the runway  are perfectly synchronized to international trends in the field and have the great advantage of being extremely wearable. some particular fabrics, surface interventions or experimental approaches bring something extra, defining the identity of the Fashion Design Department of UAD. The official photos of the Gala, shot by Emil Costrut, allowed me to magnify some interesting details.

 

BACHELOR collections:

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Bianca Negrea‘s Fuse – a well mastered collection, casual and distinguished at the same time, was inspired by Romanian traditional elements interpreted in a modern key. Starting from the Bear custom (an ancient New Year ritual, where individuals cover their bodies with straw), Bianca has developed a range of materials using beads and fringes of different thicknesses. Soft and ubercool robes, fringed accessories paired with huge bags have enjoyed great success, Bianca Negrea being one of the multi-awarded graduates of the 2015 Gala.

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Aliz Simon‘s Nouvelle Ere collection talks about the meaning of femininity and sophistication nowadays. Her series of neoprene coats, with carefully designed volumes and proportions, subtle layering in shades of white and powder pink, make an intelligent dialogue between old and new, symmetrical and asymmetrical, elegant and normcore.

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At Linda Szabo (Parallels) the outfits were inspired by New Look. Hence the 40s focus on shoulders and waist, it is worth noting the way those details were reinvented here in contemporary spirit. Keeping the story in neutral tones, Linda dealt mainly with volumetric exercises and surface treatment by subtle means – quilted details obtained by handmade embroidery and dashed lines prints. The shapes of the skirts look very modern and new, while the harnesses and padded bags complement the outfits.

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The materials used for Isabela Teodor‘s collection La Vita e Bella deserve a special mention. Long leather coats and pants were hand painted through repeated interventions achieving a special patina effect. The combination of these artsy pieces with white blouses bring out a luxurious look.

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With White Reflection, Sim Arabela managed one of the most popular white collections on the catwalk of the Gala. If simplicity and elegance are desirable but can just as easily slip into banality, Arabela Sim has to be valued for the way she handled the silhouettes and proportions of this collection, adding large embroideries with shiny beads, and a couple of nice clutches.

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Asphalt collection by Sorana Barb delivers a series of leather pieces, where the rhythms of black / white, matt / gloss are supported by round tailoring, asymmetrical parts and bold accessories made out of car mats.

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The Untitled collection by Diana Ilea uses minimal means – simple lines, a few basic materials, black and white stripes and graphic prints inspired by Tapies, yet manages to get some fresh outfits, highly wearable and up to date. I appreciated the proportions and styling elements that complete the look: Birkenstocks, red socks, plastic bags. I think the strength of this collection is in the way it succeeds to combine the artsy elements with the so called normcore streetstyle.

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Ana-Maria Leordean invites us to a Journey to the center of the heart, conveying an energetic message, innocent and visceral at the same time. The playful costumes decorated with funny badges or the huge heart printed on pleated fabric simply cannot go unnoticed.

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Diana Chis with her Artificial Creatures, stands out through well-studied patterns, nice combinations of fabrics (wool mixed with Lurex and nude tulle), interesting closure systems. Note the double clutches that complement the clean-cut outfits.

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Nadejda Iacubina with her collection titled “Marry me, mother!” conveys a genuine message picked from Romanian folklore. She recalls “the girl fair from Gaina”, an ethno-cultural manifestation that once made possible the meeting and the marriage of  youth in Transylvania. The theme provides a great opportunity for the designer to process leather and wooden details, to pleat, stitch or fray raw canvases into remarkable unisex outfits. Following the main features of Romanian traditional costumes, this type of clothes can cope equally well on a fashion catwalk, in an art exhibition or in a modern wardrobe.

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Sugar Rush, a signature statement of Diana Dobrescu, literally shone on the catwalk of the Gala. Outfits composed as collages of tinfoil that make you think at sweets packaging from supermarket shelves were paired with toy necklaces and transparent bags containing all sorts of candies, sweets and other surprises.

 

MASTER collections:

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Ancuta Sarca, fascinated by color and creative effervescence specific to urban subcultures, defines her concept of Eleganza in vibrant details, obtained by unconventional means. The pieces, modeled by real people, and cut from alternative materials such as plastic foil, lacy oilcloth accessorized with vintage jewelry, exude an air of aristocratic and irresistible energy. Inspired by all things related to excess, decadence, luxury, eclecticism, this collection stands out as one of the most colorful appearances on the catwalk of Gala 2015. The paintings adorning the outfits are signed by artist Andreea Tivadar.

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Innumerable collection, belonging to Alina Morar, takes inspiration from Romanian subcultures. Exploring a niche aesthetics and pushing good taste to the limit, Alina transforms “maneliada”(a journey through the world of manele music) in a very exciting fashion experience. This generates a series of cool outfits inspired by male tailoring, using classic fabrics redesigned (striped fabrics or  Jaquards), equipped with opulent details and kitch touches.

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Cycle in Style collection (by Andrea Szanto) deserves a special mention for the way the designer choses to rework sportswear fabrics specific to cycling and make some creative combinations with mesh, sequins or rigid bands. The lightweight jackets, the apron-skirts, the pants with bright accents on the pockets or sequins attached to the inside seams definitely have to be considered for a fashionable wardrobes.

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Anca Zaharia‘s NORMA/DEADAL collection is concerned about issues such as innovation, functionality, ergonomics, technology, future materials. She combines extremely elaborate masculine outfits (oversized jackets with details processed by laser cut techniques and digital print) with elastic therapeutic tapes – a styling idea that I liked a lot.

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Loredana Ghetie talks about metrosexual narcissism making explicit references to urban society, contemporary glamor and its inherent superficiality. She used the concept of “Multiglitter Man“. The outfits, worn by female models for the show, are borderline kitsch, yet highly qualitative, wearable and cool.

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For her Nouveau Riche collection, Inga Bragaru introduces expensive fabrics – leather, fur, velvet and sequins, in order to delineate a fabulous, snobbish and arrogant character. The final look brings a touch of theatricality, which is ultimately very attractive. The option for color blocks – from poison green, indigo and cobalt blue to orange, black and gold, with all those styling elements (long gloves and head bows), fill the picture perfectly.

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Magdalena Butnariu has a longtime fascination for natural elements (if we remember the hairpieces. teeth and branches that she formerly used to accessorize her BA collection). For her MA collection entitled SPIRIT AMARA – “AN YE HARM NONE, DO WHAT YE WILL” she inserted plants into the structure of materials or placed them into glass bags that become portable terrariums.

ANDREEA-CASTRASE-3 ANDREEA-CASTRASE-4 Rites of passage, Andreea Castrase‘s collection, drew everyone’s attention through the maturity of creative approach, the consistency of final look, sophisticated details, exceptional finishes. Beyond the elegant shapes, the intellectual and poetic undertones (which already enshrined Andreea as a young designer with many national and international awards under the belt), we have to note the remarkable details: laser cut laces, bands and buckles that accessorize dresses subtly remodeling their shapes.

Images sources: Francis Sandor (catwalk atmosphere Gala 2015) / Emil Costrut (catwalk images used for the cropped the details).

DOODLE

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Tina Chirita is a young Romanian talent, with a BA degree in Fashion design from University of Art and Design Cluj-Napoca. Her graduation collection was inspired by doodle – an unfocused and unconscious type of drawing related to the attitude of bored pupils during the classes.

For Tina, the DOODLE became an interesting route while she was trying to convert the spontaneous lines into new patterns and fabrics. For this collection, she played monochrome, focusing on the fabrics which evolved into irregular shapes. The outfits are made out of knitted or quilted structures, yet the main attraction remains the material achieved through a felting technique (see the images below). These fabrics are handmade processed. She completed the doodle adventure with a pair of sunglasses with eyebrows (specially designed) which are really awesome.

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Tina Chirita – Doodle collection

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Lucian Rusu – Radical of Image

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With a recent MA degree from University of Art and Design Cluj-Napoca, a graduation collection that has received many awards and appreciations, Lucian Rusu is definitely one of the promising new talents on Romanian fashion scene. Originally titled “Radical din chip” (which can be translated as ‘radical of image‘ or ‘square root of image‘), this strangely beautiful collection was inspired by bodily and mental fragmentation, a theme that allowed the creator to formulate his personal fashion aesthetic.

The designs stand out through the adventurous outline of the silhouettes, interesting fabrics and surprising details. Not to mention the spectacular handbags using fragments of bicycle wheels. Besides, Lucian Rusu is one of those designers who lean toward an intellectual approach to fashion. Therefore, I took him a short interview:

 

How do you feel as a fresh MA graduate?

I have gained more confidence in expressing myself through art. I am also more disciplined and self-consistent. 

 

Your collection has an intriguing title – ‘Radical of Image’. What’s the story behind it?

What happens to one’s beauty following a car accident? Everything began with this question in mind! I was not interested in „the aesthetic of ugliness” and neither in the concept of disability or dysmorphic effects perceived as a grotesque performance. I’d rather say that my intention was to create a personal approach towards a disfigured countenance. The real sources of inspiration were represented, on the one hand, by the collages of the Iranian artist Ashkan Honarvar and, on the other hand, by „Le théorème d’Almodóvar”, the novel of the renowned „invisible” writer Antoni Casas Ros. The organic connection between these means of artistic expression is materialized, in both cases, by bringing a series of physically disrupted faces to light. However, it was not the idea itself of alteration or loss of identity that mattered, but rather the restoration of this identity. The image of beauty never falls apart in this process, even when dislocation is implied. The title suggests a chemical and mathematical symbol, a group of atoms that remain unaltered within a chemical reaction and act in the manner of one single element. 

 

Which was the best part of your creative process?

The production of the accessories.

 

You introduced some new fabrics here. Can you tell me more about these experiments?

These fabrics constituted an important step during the whole process of creation. It was through the manufacturing methods that I managed to shape the effects meant to highlight the theme of this project. I used natural fabrics such as wool fibre or cashmere, but unconventional textiles, by which I mean synthetic fibres, were also constituent parts of the products. I used composite materials as well, due to their consistency and their adequacy to various purposes. These materials are often used in several designing areas in order to cover different surfaces and structures – such as automobile or yachting upholstery, but they are also found in fashion design or in the production of hi-tech accessories. 

 

In your opinion, which are the key ingredients to a genuine fashion product?

I strongly believe that authenticity arises from the sincerity of the story behind the product. 

 

Can you mention a turning point in your training as a fashion designer?

I can’t think of one precise moment; there have been several moments that helped me to discover and explore my own path. A different important aspect is represented by my encounters with people that have taught me so many things. Right now I am “writing” my personal history in relation to fashion design.

 

Which are your fashion concerns at this point?

I am interested in shaping a product that results from the connection with unconventional elements derived from uncommon frames of life. I also intend to create sustainable items – I don’t believe in fashion products designed solely as works of art.

 

What’s next?

Besides study, I wish to gain experience for a real job, to try an internship or whatever helps me grow as a fashion designer.

 

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Lucian Rusu – Radical of Image collection / MA University of Art and Design Cluj-Napoca, coordinating professor: Elena Basso Stanescu/
Photo credit: Ionut Staicu/ Artistic direction & styling: Ina Borcea/ Hair: Claudiu Alex Sarghe/ Make-up: Alexandra Craescu/ Model: Maia Filip, MRA Agency

Below, you can find a selection of designer’s moodboards and sketches related to his graduation collection

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Folcloriada

These days it takes much more than a BA degree to become a true fashion designer. Three years of university studies provide fashion students a certain amount of knowledge, specific skills and techniques to be developed and completed further with other experiences, internships, additional courses and a proper job in the field.

Therefore, it is not easy at all for a fashion student in the last year to put himself/herself together in order to articulate a mature discourse and to make a personal statement with the first collection. Yet, some of the students that presented their collections on the catwalk of the UAD Fashion Gala 2014 (the graduation show of Fashion Department at University of Art and Design Cluj-Napoca), succeeded to make a strong impression.

Definitely, Giorgiana Giuroiu was one of them. Her graduating collection titled Folcloriada stood out through the originality of the inspiration source, the novelty in interpreting a traditional theme and the innovative materials introduced.

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The collection has its roots in Romanian folklore and the title refers to a “healing” journey meant to recover the authentic values of cultural heritage. In many ways, this collection epitomizes designer’s personal quest, that moved from her passion of studying specific elements of Romanian traditional costume (headpieces, peasant coats, masks and belts) to the challenge of converting them into comprehensive contemporary outfits. The ironic twist also helped a lot.

The clothing ensembles resulted from this creative experiment succeeded to integrate folk elements in contemporary style, abstracting the traditional costume silhouette and proposing new solutions for the textile surfaces. The techno shepherds on the catwalk wore outfits made out of quilted plastic filled with raw wool, holographic leather jackets, impressive belts and handmade knitwear paired with sneakers and metallic leggings.

Below, there are  a few sketches and moodboards from designer’s lab, giving some hints of her creative process.

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And here are some close-ups of the final products.

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Giorgiana Giuroiu’s graduation collection from University of Art and Design Cluj-Napoca/ coordinators: Professor PhD Anca Pia Rusan, Lecturer PhD Lavinia Ban, Tutor PhD Smaranda Bercea/ Catwalk photos by Daniel Robu, backstage photos by Raisa Hagiu.

IMperfection

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A fresh graduate from University of Art and Design Cluj-Napoca (MA studies), Gabriela Dejo  explores the concept of ‘imperfection’ in her eponymous collection presented at UAD Fashion Design Gala 2014. The notion of beauty as imperfection has become more significant over the last years, a direction which has grown as ‘human’ reaction against the rapid advances in technology and the idealized world of the digital era. In her own way, Gabriela searches an emotional version of reality in asymmetric cuts, printed fabrics inspired by nature, straw accessories, clothes that could easily melt into the natural landscapes. In designer’s words: “…in a chaotic world, there are still simplicity, principles and good taste; these can be found in the culture of the Far East, in the Japanese aesthetic. Reduced to pure essence, wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity of nature, in accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay and death.”

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“IMperfection” – MA collection by Gabriela Dejo/ Coordinating teacher: Prof. PhD Anca Pia Rusan
Photography : luviar.ro by Mihai Andrei Popa/ Photo Assistants : Maria Balea & Marius Dobra/ Make-Up & Hair : Anca Marchis/ Model : Fica Balancan