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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).