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Modern Craft

 

In our ever more rapidly changing, high-tech world, there’s something refreshing about the heritage brand. Traditional, classic and adaptable - we meet the global designers lovingly bringing the old to the new.

Words by Connie Chamberlayne

Ukraine’s Vita Kin

You don’t work in traditional fashion seasons, right? ‘No, but I meet with my clients during fashion week to show them my latest pieces. Lately I’ve been working in two directions: ultra-thin, monochrome linen, with wide, gypsy culture sleeves, and then bold, geometric patterns in strong colors inspired by elements of Ukrainian textile arts.’

What’s your biggest inspiration? ‘In general, handicrafts and artisanal work of all kinds inspire me: jewelry, textiles, and furniture - anything made by hand. I’m also fascinated when I see the result of mixing different cultures.’

How long do your pieces take to make? ‘Everything we do is intricate, but our most complicated pieces now are hand-made, cut embroidery. It takes up to a month to embroider the sleeves for one dress.’

Vita Kin

Embroidered batwing sleeve dress

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Vita Kin

Embroidered peasant tunic

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Vita Kin

Embroidered blouse

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Vita Kin

Embroidered tasseled dress

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Iran’s Miahatami

Why choose to create a heritage brand? ‘Iran (Persia) has so much amazing culture, art and history - mostly unknown to the rest of the world. Living out of Iran for many years made me understand most people don’t see or appreciate the beauty of our country. I wanted to show how colorful and beautiful the original Persian world can be through my work.’

What influenced this particular collection? ‘Persian art, architecture, history and culture are the sources of my inspiration. For SS16 I've been inspired by the Royal Qajar paintings, and most of all by Fath-Ali Shah, one of the most famous Persian Kings.’

Tell us about the unique construction of your pieces? ‘I try to give a second life to elements that have never been used in traditional clothing, but have been used in architecture and art, like mosaics and majolicas, colourful windows and paintings. It's all about mixing Persian inspiration with western modern design.’

Miahatami

geometric print crop top

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Miahatami

kaleidoscope pattern full midi skirt

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Miahatami

double breasted waistcoat

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Miahatami

embroidered trousers

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Russia’s Vilshenko

Tell us, how important to your collection is the idea of heritage? ‘It’s the base of the Vilshenko brand. We use traditional techniques and shapes but in a contemporary way. Starting a heritage brand has proved quite challenging - the techniques used were not widely available though, after several seasons, this began to grow.’

Tell us about this season’s collection... ‘For SS16 I took inspiration from the wardrobe of Marie Antoinette, referencing the decadent, embroidered gowns of the era in soft macaroon pastels. There’s folk-style blouses with embroidery, fully embroidered cotton blouses and dresses, and floral print dresses.’

What’s your research process like? ‘I’m influenced by architecture, Russian culture, ballet, literature and art. After selecting a theme I begin with a moodboard of the emotions I want to express in the collection. I’ll visit vintage markets taking inspiration from beautiful finds relevant to the collection. Then I start sketching.’

Vilshenko

floral print dress

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Vilshenko

'Sue' embroidered dress

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Vilshenko

off the shoulder top

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Vilshenko

'Boxed Vine' embroidered skirt

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Israel’s Dodo Bar Or

What inspires you the most? ‘I live in the Middle East - that's why most of my influences come from here, from everything I know and grew up on and what's familiar to me. It's an inspiring place with a very strong culture of food, smells, colours, shapes, art, architecture, music and sounds.’

Tell us about the Dodo Bar Or woman? ‘She likes to expose herself to different cultures, she’s a woman who likes challenges, who isn't submissive to trends. She is the trend setter, not led by society. She knows how to bring this character (which is the collection) into her day-to-day life.’

How does heritage feature in your research process? ‘I'll always go to this authentic side and then try to give it a modern interpretation of what's going on in the fashion world. My source has to be rooted and clear, but then I transform it to into something current and modern.’

Dodo Bar Or

'Mustafa Midi' dress

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Dodo Bar Or

'Mona' maxi dress

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Dodo Bar Or

'Fatima' dress

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Dodo Bar Or

pleated dress

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Italy’s Ermanno Gallamini

Describe your label in three words ‘Passion, dreams, crafts. The woman who dresses in Ermanno Gallamini is a woman who lives in the present, but wears the past with love and passion.’

Tell us about your current collection? ‘It came from a discovery made in an old warehouse - some unused Olona canvas pieces that once served as packaging for sails of the Amerigo Vespucci ship, the pride of our Italian Navy. I found out that my father-in-law had been aboard that very ship! I realised that coincidences are so important, and I dedicated the collection to the sea, to travel, to dreaming and to the desire to go back and rediscover.’

Describe the most intricate process that is applied to one of your garments... ‘The processing techniques that we use to create our leading pieces are always 100% done by hand. We use natural dyes and paint and embellish them using ‘old youth’ embroidery techniques.’

Ermanno Gallamini

floral lace cape

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Ermanno Gallamini

embroidered scarf

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Ermanno Gallamini

printed kimono

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Ermanno Gallamini

paisley print shorts

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