lviv fashion week: roksolana bogutska

(images via lfw)

right, so. the lviv fashion week regular roksolana bogutska (Роксолана Богуцька) actually opted to showcase her a/w 2013 range in several cities over the past couple of months, and her exhibitions popped up not only in lviv, but also łódż and minsk, and although as we usually do when we discuss her work (see a/w 2010, s/s 2012, a/w 2012, s/s 2013), we’ll be focusing on her hometown of lviv here, we’ll also use a bit of reference material from the other cities to supplement the background of the show.

and so, as we’ve been appreciating ms. bogutska for a while, thanks to her refined and ladylike looks that are often rendered something like the ukrainian version of one of the more sophisticated western houses (such as carolina herrera or oscar de la renta), and for the upcoming fall that was fully on display once more. this season also represented, the ukrainian site virtual pointed out, the atelier’s fifteenth anniversary, so it seemed a good time to form a sort of retrospective of the work she does best.

alors. the theme, this time around, as usual, was sourced from vintage fashions. as another article on virtual explained (trans.), “(f)or quite a long period, a significant feature of the designer’s style was ethnicity, but today’s inspiration for Roksolana’s collection was diverse – creative artists from different historical styles (modernism, art nouveau, pop art), ethnicity and Urban Studies, and the style of the forties, fifties, sixties, seventies of the twentieth century.”

however, on the other hand, the belarus fashion week site pinned things down a little bit more by reporting that (trans.) “the style era of 30-40s,” was the main inspiration for the upcoming fall. and while we regularly see vintage attributes in her work, for my part, i’d say that some of the sophisticated pantsuits reminded me of the looks katharine hepburn popularized in the 1940’s, while there were some definite forties-fifties new look touches in those nipped-in waists and full-skirted dresses, which was especially accentuated by those dainty driving gloves and bold tartans and checks.

as is quite obvious, of course, the prefers to work with the finest of natural materials, and although i think we’ve been over this in the past, it probably bears repeating that she produces all of her garments in italy. this season, the polish site obiektywna łódż reported, her choices included various furs (but of course), linen, velvet, leather, wool, satin, cashmere, and silk, and whatever one may feel about her clothes in general, i think the luxe aspect of the fine textiles shines through, even in the images. it’s quite stunning, really.

but because she is ukrainian and does so like to tie her work back to her homeland (and this i really do love about the designer), the russian site rivne today detailed how she employs (trans.) “(h)and-made embroidery patterns, as well as prints, and ornaments used from ancient Ukrainian embroidery.”  they also went on to quote the designer herself as explaining that she does (but of course) like to tie her collections back to ukraine with little cultural touches.

and ultimately this is another factor i really appreciate about ms. bogutska. she’s quite talented at giving her collections a global appeal and a modernity and classicism that transcends just the city or country (or even the region of eastern europe) and instead creates pieces that appear more globally-minded, but like the best of them, adds little cultural touches to help keep both the craft alive and the country globally relevant. it’s a nice way to bring things back without, like, overwhelming us with culture (when some of her customers truly might not want/need it).

so. as for the pieces themselves, the site went on to point out that there were (trans.) “(s)oft feminine colours, including textured black, dark blue, burgundy, and reddish-gold. Bogutskaya invariably suggests wearing dresses of varying lengths, as well as pants – up above the ankle and long, straight, and narrow cuts, combined with blouses, jackets, tank tops of different lengths and different styles, with or without belts. By the way, the belt that she likes to wear is…only a very narrow one.”

meanwhile, as the bfw site chimed in that, among other elements, we saw (trans.) “Cossack embroidery,” i was rather amused to read the polish site kobieta like, full-on not knowing what to make of the visiting designer. they seemed to wonder how the poles would read the clothes, and whether she’d be back (if these were the only two factors to matter). but i’d ask, seriously, wouldn’t you want her? after all, i love that she caters to a bit older girls and manages to make them look so fine and stately in all of their opulent materials and colours, never showing off too much skin or going too far with the tightness, just flattering basically every body type and age with her classic, vintage-inflected looks.

and she reminded me of the lovely mexican designer lydia lavin in her evening gown department, infusing her creations with a bit of cultural flair in terms of both the bold colour and the beautiful trims, and seriously, how i’d love and adore seeing one of these (particularly that gorgeous teal variation) on a red carpet in lieu of all the vuitton and prada. ain’t gonna happen, though, so we’ve got to make the most we can with them here. can you imagine though? i guess that would be too daring, too awesome. sigh. tooooo bad (see additional catwalk images at marek makowski & mtm fashion and read a nice little interview with the designer at lviv today).

(check out the catwalk video here)

australia fashion week: romance was born

(images via vogue)

so despite all the rabid drooling and heavy panting a lot of kids do surrounding the designers anna plunkett and luke sales’ label romance was born, i honestly have to admit after several seasons following their wares (see s/s 2011, s/s 2012, s/s 2013, a/w 2013), i’ve been at best kind of on the fence and at worst, rather skeptical of their motives, finding it all a bit of an attention-pander. but! even the cynic in me has a heart (at least, at times), and there were those times their s/s 2014 range, with all its kawaii moments and cotton candy colours wore me down and drew me in.

maybe part of it was that the upcoming spring’s work reminded me of what might happen if opt’s beloved meadham kirchhoff took up residence in tokyo, and i mean that in the most enthusiastic possible way. anyway, for the designers’ latest showing in sydney, titled ‘mushroom magic,’ yen magazine explained that “(w)illingly and with gay abandon, you tumble headfirst, falling into a world that has turned quite topsy-turvy, like some psychedelic dream. With a puff and a poof, you land softly, cushioned by your frilly skirts and petit-coats. You have fallen into a Pip and Pop sparkling wonderland. As the shimmery dust settles, you gaze across a luminescent landscape, where every horizon is crystal crusted and cloudy meringue hilltops sprout the most delicate sugary flowers, where mandala pathways lead into mystic forests. Cute creatures peep shyly out from behind spotted magic mushrooms that seem to beckon, ‘eat me.'”

and while we could spend most of our day drawing out the nonsensical even further, perhaps we should hone in on point; the sydney morning herald reported that “(t)he aim is thought provocation and unlimited artistic abandon not mass consumption. For those who sat in the bleachers on Monday night amid a Willy Wonka-meets-Alice In Wonderland set by Tanya Schultz, the artist behind PIP and POP, Romance Was Born filled a void that is sometimes lacking in everyday dressing with fantasy, whim and weirdness.  From Mushroom Magic, expect blouses, t-shirts and dresses boasting psychedelic pastels embellished with mushrooms and Disney cartoon appliquéd and large pussy bows.”

and as pages digital more simply summed things up as “a mix of sharp 60s silhouettes and psychedelic 70s prints,” an eternally-enthused marie claire yammered on that “(g)iven the theme, it was easy to assume that Sales and Plunkett would have to rethink their approach from last year. While their 2012 Marven Comic collection had an ease of wearability, this year’s ‘Maidens to Princesses’ range was a visual feast for the eyes, with full skirts, puffy shirts and dramatic capes in bold prints vying for attention. ‘We don’t really follow fashion trends, but we focus on prints, and we have noticed amazing engineered prints to be a real focus,’ said Luke Sales…Indeed they were, with bright pinks and rich purples fusing together to create an almost psychadelic effect.”

“Guests were invited down RWB’s hyper colour rabbit hole, to be greeted by a cheery collection of childlike graphic prints and playful silhouettes that could have came straight from the psychedelic ’60s or peace-loving ’70s,” shrieked fab sugar. “Cutesy dolly dresses and textured flares lead the way for a lineup of dreamlike dresses, made all the more extravagant by the addition of puffy chiffon sleeves, tight, tutu-like tulle frills and solid pearl and sequin embellishment,” and pedestrian similarly blathered that “(t)he clothes – which inspired awe and joy – are a wholly unique expression of two artists unbound by the kind of rules designated by sales managers and trend forecasters. This is freedom in fashion; fearless and fucking fantastic.”

finally, though, there was an eternally calmed and more composed (and intelligent, of course) the vine to break things down for us: “Alice in Wonderland is a complicated reference, it was written in the Victorian era, animated in the early fifties, but only found popularity in the Leary days of the late 1960s. Each of these eras was referenced by Romance, in the form of full and flouncing New Look skirts (a great deal shorter than the original versions), elaborate Victorian sleeves from puffs to legs of mutton, and even the occasional Beull and Paddle, big sixties collars, kaftans and extreme x-shaped flares and a heavy, century-spanning dose of the substance assisted dream-state…It’s unlikely that many will wear most of the garments that were on show, but they will wear the t-shirts and tights that come out of them. Most of all, as always, but even more so, Romance Was Born are a reminder that we need more magic (or mushrooms) in our lives.”

(watch it in action here)