20 April 2012

Romanian Fashion

I'm bringing the clothes back!  I do not have a collection of designers like my previous posts because I am focusing on one designer.  Months ago, right as I was getting engaged, I received an email from Loredana Novotni, a recent MA in Fashion graduate.  After the little bit of flattery, she asked to be featured and all I had to do was scroll down to see the pictures before I hit "Reply".

I would introduce Loredana more, but her feature on Fashion Brewery is excellent and the feature on Re-Design for Life talks about her foray into fashion.  She's been featured on numerous websites, so I'm not going to reinvent the wheel by asking my own questions.  You can see more of her work and find more features of her on her blog.  Let's get started on the collection she emailed me about: SacRED.

I'm including the pictures of her gorgeous clothes because it says far more than I can.  She included the well crafted explanation of her inspiration and concept:
The essence of my degree collection- SacRED comes from pre-Columbian art but the technical concept is in tune with contemporary art (assemblies, design, and execution illustrates merging popular traditions and avant-garde renewals).  "The Primitive" is identified largely with the complex of myths and pre-Columbian art ornaments.  My mini-collection is handmaded by myself. I used natural materials : leather, cotton and silk. Materials processing was entirely manual.  The decor is arranged to emphasize the tailoring guidelines and with it most of the human body lines. By crocheting I obtained an area with a loop texture. Decorated fields are located both in the upper and the lower part of product. Abstract ornaments resulting from styling by reduction of the original meaning of surrounding realistic elements.
The fact that most ancient magic and religious symbols are found in present ornamentation of most peoples made me determined to create reminiscent forms of abstract plastic of Neolithic civilizations. From knowledge of the ancient art as the encounter with contemporary art which turns to folk, primitive, archaic and spiritual roots, has resulted in products marked by spirituality, unity and modern and archaic dualism.
My works are oriented towards the primitive origins of human beings and fall into an artistic tradition with archaic origin, whose main function is to express the sacred presence. High and filiform figures refer to the idea of space and raising. I shaped the silhouette with the temptation to complete all by a continuous but limited line in space, chasing figures, focusing them on vertical, establishing an analogy between the carnal and the spiritual world.
My works evokes the relationships of sky-earth, matter-spirit, body and soul.  Red colour has a fundamental role in my work because is the colour of fire and blood, love and life, hope and sacrifice. Passionate red sun and blood always symbolized primary principles. Blood has a deeper significance as an element of communication between generations, individuals, species, as a kind of chemical element with infinite meanings, which defeats the time. Blood is the symbol of terrestrial life and expresses the seriousness of an inner situation.  It's a fleshy, earthly color, being a way to emotional exploration.  It is believed that the soul, as well as human and animal power is in their blood.  From this belief derived all bloody sacrificial rites, when supreme gods or those who patronized life and plant growth.  Blood becomes a symbol of immortality.  This return to origins led to the retrieval of the sacred essence of natural things, which enables man to approach the absolute.
I really like it.  It's so beautiful and anthropological.  While that's marinating in your head, give a gander to these photos, which do a phenomenal job of communicating those concepts in the clothes.  Reader, I am warning you that I will get pretty graphic in my descriptions of blood, so if that freaks you out, don't read the text.  I'm going to start with what I feel is conceptually the "beginning" of the collection.  As far as I know, there's no order, but here's how I make sense of it all:

copyright Loredana Novotni
Notice the smooth texture of the leather and how it drapes over the crocheted skirt, which has an amazing texture to it.  I've dealt with a lot of blood in my lifetime, and this connective tissue (it is--look it up!) goes from liquid and slippery to clotted and tangled.  It almost seems like a life until itself.  It connects and forms new tangles and relationships.  If you look at the two pictures, you will see that the leather has texture to it as well, a texture that does not come into being until it reaches a clotted state.  It also mimics the visual of veins and arteries, representing the state of contained, living blood, which is liquid.

The liquid state (the leather portion) slides over the clotted (crocheted) portion.  It looks like the skirt is revealed by the absence of the liquid, that there's a relationship between them.

copyright Loredana Novotni
Aha!  But there's more!  This dress, with its exaggerated  illium (hip) bones.  Considering these clothes are intended for a woman, the exaggeration of the hip bones is a reference to fertility and life.  Human reproduction throughout all cultures has a spiritual element to it, something that ties us mere mortals with the gods above/around.  The pelvis is the fountain of life, where it springs forth to bring new blood and new cries.  When there is no life, we bleed, when there is life, the blood lives in the child.  The hip area of the dress is a combination of smooth and texture, which I see as that dual nature of the uterus.  The skirt coming from underneath is smooth ending is textured strings, which continues the idea of the pelvis as a fountain of life and blood and ties it with the idea of liquid vs clotted.

Her collection also touches on the sacrifical aspect of blood.  You could also see these long skirts as symbolic of that ritualistic blood letting.

In this dress, we see that its
copyright Loredana Novotni
wholly textured with the illium bones in a structured pattern, showing the organization of life, but in a clotted state (perhaps when it has exited the body? perhaps a symbol of injury?).  This dress is also added onto with the same skirt that begins smooth and ends textured, perhaps more clearly drawing parallels to the sacrificial importance of blood.

I noticed that the model always has her wrists turned out (an easy way to blood let) and is leaning back to show submissiveness.  This is not an accident since all the pictures have the same pose.  In many of them, the model's eyes are closed, which may signify the connection to death.  However, the dresses in conjunction with the skirt have a less passive (dead looking) model.  It seems that by releasing the blood, there has been life and power gained.

I have no confirmation that I'm right on any of this, so this is a mere interpretation.  I'm doing some sort of art criticism on this blog, but I do not pretend to be any sort of expert crowned with a degree or a whole of experience; just an enthusiast who read a lot, thinks a lot, and thinks systematically at that.

copyright Loredana Novotni
copyright Loredana Novotni
I think this collection is powerful and full of rich symbolism.  I am wondering if any passing-by readers have a few cents to add.  What do you see?  Is there something that particularly strikes you about this collection?

Loredana has less heavy collections, which you can find on her blog. She's always posting where her clothes are for sale (and I've looked at them.  A lot.) and they're not outrageously priced.

I'm also including a video for this very same collection because it's creepy and very ethereal and primal simultaneously.  Enjoy!