DISCOVERING: Miriam Martínez Abellán

Miriam Martínez Abellán

Miriam Martínez Abellán ia visual artist and teacher based in Murcia (Spain). She holds a degree in Art History from the University of Murcia and a Diploma in Piano from the Conservatory of Music. She found her true artistic expression in analogue collage (handmade).

Miriam Martínez Abellán

Far from digital, she prefers a direct and emotional experience with the materials. She collects vintage aesthetic images from photographs, postcards, old books or magazines, objects with history and various elements. Her work can be found in galleries such as Modus Operandi (Madrid), Artevistas Gallery and Miscelánea (Barcelona) or on the international art platform queartetienes.com. Her studio located in Murcia.

Website of Miriam Martínez Abellán http://www.miriammartinezabellan.com/

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Miriam Martínez Abellán

SOTS ART FASHION: THE ORIGIN AND EVOLUTION OF PERCEPTION

Sots-art in fashion, collage by Myroslav Melnyk

Melnyk Myroslav, PhD in Art Theory and History,

Orcid ID: 0000-0002-0494-9403

Since Sots Art was built on irony over the values and symbols of the USSR, it would be logical that after the collapse of the empire this art direction lost its relevance. But after 1991 the ideas and aesthetics of Sots Art came into fashion several times: costume exhibitions have been held in art museums, fashion collections have appeared on catwalks and in media. A new generation of designers and recipients of their creativity has updated in a new way USSR signs and symbols.  From the 1920s to the 1980s these symbols were an ideological weapon, an instrument of social and aesthetic pressure, designed to further strengthen the Soviet system, and since the late 1980s have turned into kitsch – ridiculing outdated ideological myth, irony over false reality, history, and culture of lies.

Sergey Borisov’s photo, 1987

The first wave of Sots Art came into fashion during the “Perestroika” period (1985 – 1991).  Then, in the wake of the debunking of dogmas and cults, Sots Art expressed a desire to change the country for the better, freeing it from the ubiquitous false ideology, debunking the “sanctity” of its symbols. The desecration of everything Soviet – something that should have been treated with piety – was a sign of dismissal, a demonstration of long-awaited freedom. Avant-garde artists laughed, sewing clothes from the red flags and banners, drawing and embroidering hackneyed slogans and quotes, using the iconic attributes of Soviet life as accessories.  Since already in 1988 laws gave the right to engage in entrepreneurship, numerous new cooperatives carried these ideas to the masses: T-shirts with inscriptions and images in the Sots Art stylistic were replicated.

Hungarian designet Tamás Király with model, 1986

With the collapse of the USSR and the declaration of independence by its former republics, everything “Soviet” had negative connotations. The fashion of the 1990s celebrated crises and the fashion of the 2000s – glamour.

The first designer who, working in line with Sots Art, become popular in Russia, and achieved international success was Denis Simachev. The designer decorated his creations with Soviet coats of arms, folk ornaments, matryoshka dolls, and prints made of Soviet money. He mixed the former Soviet and modern Russian, ridiculed symbols and stereotypes that Russians are not proud of, made fun of the recent past, which was hated, and thanks to irony, made it “cool”. It is interesting that such creativity based on stereotypes resonated with Russian and foreign mass consumers, and Simachev’s works were forged and replicated actively.

Sots Art by Denis Simachev

In the 2010s, public sentiment in post-Soviet countries changed and, against the background of disappointments from instability and economic problems of the first years of independence, nostalgia for the USSR emerged. This nostalgia was strongly stimulated by Russian propaganda with its numerous retranslations of iconic Soviet films, products “from the childhood” advertisements, TV series about former heroes, etc. The older generation was nostalgic for the times “when we were young”, young people romantically perceived the culture, the negative aspects of which they did not feel on themselves.

In the 2010s, thanks to a new look at the aesthetics of Sots Art, Gosha Rubchinskiy, Demna Gvasalia, Yulia Efimchuk, and other designers from the post-Soviet space received worldwide recognition. With their works, they reinterpreted the codes, as nostalgic and at the same time warning against the return of utopian ideas, pointing to current socio-cultural problems.

Gosha Rubchinsky

In 2008, Gosha Rubchinsky made his debut with the collection  “Empire of evil”, which included T-shirts with two-headed eagles, as well as bears with weapons and other symbols associated with aggressive Russian international politics. The next designer’s shows also played with the aesthetics of late Soviet fashion and the symbols of the USSR. Oddly enough, this approach has been very successful at the international level. Rubchinsky launched the trend and other young designers wanted to repeat his success story.

Yulia Efimchuk started her career with competitions for young designers, and since 2012, the shows of the brand “Yulia Yefimtchuk+” have been held at the famous Kyiv Fashion Days. Yefimchuk’s collections have always been dominated by pure shapes and unambiguous colors like white, black, and a rich shade of red. Sots Art in her collections is added with the inscriptions on the clothes that resemble posters about labor exploits: “Labor”, “Peace to the world” and “Every day it becomes more joyful to live”. Despite the decommunization policy in Ukraine, in her spring-summer 2017 collection designer even used the words “Communism” and “Socialism”.  That, as well as the cut and colors (white, scarlet, dark blue), refer to the images of Soviet posters, to which the designer appealed.

Yulia Yefimtchuk+

Demna Gvasalia created the Parisian brand Vetements in 2014. Elements of Sots Art in his work indicated his origin from the Georgian Soviet republic, which added a certain exoticism in the eyes of European consumers. Thanks to Gvasalia’s worldwide success, international fashion columnists have drawn attention to the phenomenon of “Georgian fashion”. 

The listed designers are called “the new generation in the New East”, and their fashion collections are considered as the most earnest and most relevant way to speak about the past.

“Komar & Melamid” at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art
“Komar & Melamid” at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art

But fashion is only part of a larger cultural trend. 2019 was the peak year for the actualization of the Sots Art in the Post-Soviet space. The exhibition “Komar & Melamid”, dedicated to the founders of Sots Art, was held at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art. The project was their first retrospective in Russia and included works created by the artists after their association in a creative duo. The exhibition in its genre resembled a collection of quotations-works and documents extracted from the key and most famous projects of artists. The character of Komar & Melamid appeared in the art to destroy the monopoly of socialist realism in the USSR, to discredit modernism in the Western world, and to outline the contours of a new international style, the distinctive feature of which would be aesthetic and philosophical eclecticism, on the ruins of both branches of the art of the twentieth century. The demonstration of this program became the core of the exhibition concept.

The Estonian Museum of Modern Art KUMU hosted the exhibition “Sots Art and Fashion” in 2019. Yulia Efimchuk from Ukraine, Marit Ilison from Estonia, Sonja Litichevskaya from Germany, Nina Neretina, and Donis Pouppis from Russia have presented fashion collections in which the socialist past of their countries has been turned into a source of inspiration and demonstrates the coping of the Eastern European culture with its  Soviet past.

“Sots Art and Fashion” in KUMU

In the Odessa museum of modern art, the avant-garde fashion of the 1990s “Perekroika” exhibition was held in 2019. The exhibition included samples of clothes and accessories from 1988 – 1998, created by designers from Odessa.  There were dresses made from Soviet tapestries, flags, and other artifacts in the style of Sots Art.

Studying and understanding of Sots Art objects, stunning of its specifics and its perception, defining its new connotations is particularly relevant and interesting in the light of decommunization, understanding the “undesirable past” and searching for options of positioning Ukrainian culture in the global world.

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Viktor & Rolf fall 2021 couture

Viktor & Rolf fall 2021 couture

Viktor&Rolf is the avant-garde luxury fashion house founded in 1993 by fashion artists Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren after their graduation from the Arnhem Academy of Art and Design. The duo designed their fall 2021 couture collection with a lot of humor.

Viktor & Rolf fall 2021 couture

The collection pays homage, in its own way, to members of royal families through a bittersweet regressive style exercise. The completely oversized looks – both in the radical proportions adorned with Swarovski crystals and the multicolored pearl crowns – are accompanied by large scarves on which we can read slogans such as “Always wear your invisible crown”“Princess ? no bitch, queen!” but also “Don’t be a drag, just be a queen”, a nod to the lyrics of the song Born this way by Lady Gaga. A desire also to express through these theatrical couture pieces an ambiguity, between the desire “to make a spectacle of oneself and “to save appearances” according to the note accompanying the presentation of the show.

Viktor & Rolf fall 2021 couture

This collection explored the main question of our digital age: What is real? Image can align with the true person or not, as when a person, like a royal, has a public persona. With deep fakes entering the picture, concepts of truth are more complicated. Viktor&Rolf aren’t offering solutions…

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Viktor & Rolf fall 2021 couture

Zendaya as a fashion icon

Zendaya

25-year-old actress will become the youngest recipient of the CFDA’s Fashion Icon Award

American actress Zendaya made headlines not only for her cinema, but for stepping out in stylish fashion creations. She has many covers, fashion stories and ad cfmpaigns.

Zendaya is an ambassador for Bulgari, Lancôme, and Valentino. She has supported emerging designers and established labels alike, working with Tommy Hilfiger, with whom she staged concurrent fashion shows in Paris and Harlem in 2019. 

She follows in the footsteps of Naomi Campbell, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Pharrell Williams, Rihanna, and Jennifer Lopez, who have all taken the Fashion Icon Award from CFDA. The CFDA Fashion Awards take place in New York on November 10.

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Illustrator and designer “Yoon” Phannapast Taychamaythakool

Illustration by “Yoon” Phannapast Taychamaythakool

Thai illustrator and designer “Yoon” Phannapast Taychamaythakool created many ars pieces, murals for Nescafe, campaign for Gucci and images for children’s books.

“Yoon” Phannapast Taychamaythakool for Nescafe
“Yoon” Phannapast Taychamaythakool for Nescafe
Phannapast graduated from Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand with a Fashion Design degree. After she graduated, she worked with Thai fashion brands, while at the same time, continuing her love for drawing and handcrafts. She has reached international fame following her collaborations with global fashion brand Gucci.

“Yoon” Phannapast Taychamaythakool also illustrated magazines and books. She uses different personalities of animals to represent her feelings at the time. 

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“Yoon” Phannapast Taychamaythakool

Charles Jeffrey Loverboy ss 2022

Charles Jeffrey Loverboy ss 2022

Charles Jeffrey Loverboy is one of my favorite young designers. he does not create goods, but artistic images. In the spring-summer 2022 collection, the artist showed bright and mystical images of either shamans or clowns.

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Costumes at the Benaki Museum

Funny shoes by AVAVAV spring 2022

AVAVAV spring-summer 2022

Swedish designer Beate Karlsson’s creative director of AVAVAV inhabited borders between fantasy and reality. “My aesthetic is sometimes borderline camp…but without trying to create things that are camp for the sake of camp. My drive is to try to come up with something that makes people feel something new and strong. My biggest passion in terms of innovative fashion is both trying to come up with new silhouettes and being inspired by what I experienced as a child and this monstrous animation world,” says the designer. Karlsson’s spring-summer 2022 collection for AVAVAV is called “Underwater Harmony”.

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UKRAINIAN ILLUSTRATOR VICTOR TKACHENKO

Victor Tkachenko

Victor Tkachenko, born in 1960 in Ukrainian Kryvyi Rih, is an artist currently living in Toronto, Canada.  Working primarily with acrylic on canvas, Tkachenko displays a mastery of line and colour through purposeful brushwork. In most of Tkachenko’s works persist feelings of melancholy, mystery, and wonder.

Victor Tkachenko’s illustrations

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Charles James

Charles James

James, who was born in England in 1906. At the age of nineteen, James opened his first milliner shop in Chicago, using the name of “Charles Boucheron”, as his father forbade him to use that of James.

“Charles Boucheron”

 In 1936, he established the company Charles James (London) Ltd., using his own name officially for the first time. He showed his first collection in the French capital in 1937. That same year, he created a one-of-a-kind white satin quilted jacket described by Salvador Dalí as “the first soft sculpture”.

James moved permanently to New York in 1939 where he established Charles James, Inc. Later Charles James becomes best known for his ballgowns and highly structured aesthetic. James describes fashion as “what is rare, correctly proportioned and, though utterly discrete, libidinous.” James is in the details as well as in the larger shapes. He grants every aspect of his garments — seams, draping, fabric, color — a distinct autonomy, and you see them for themselves and as part of a whole. 

James retired in 1958. He died in 1978 of bronchial pneumonia. James inspired many designers, including Christian Dior, who said he was “the greatest talent of my generation”. Since 1982, Charles’ works have been exhibited in the best museums in the world.

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Charles James

Dolce & Gabbana presented their new Alta Moda collection at Venice

Dame Helen Mirren, Jennifer Lopez at Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda in Venice

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana presented their latest Alta Moda collection in a venue that has, until now, never hosted a fashion show: St Mark’s Square. They explained their choice of the location: “For us, Venice represents the perfect harmony of opposites that attract: it is romantic and sensual, melancholic and joyful, rational and visionary, luminous and nocturnal, sacred and profane, dark and golden. It is the city of Casanova, of the Carnival, of the historic regatta on the Grand Canal.”

St Mark’s Square

The brand guests included Dame Helen Mirren, Jennifer Lopez, Sean Combs, Doja Cat, Kris Jenner, Kourtney Kardashian, Ciara, Monica Bellucci, Christian Bale, and Kitty Spencer were all there, each dressed in Dolce & Gabbana. The label also cast children of some of the most well-known guests: Jessie James and D’Lila Star, the daughters Sean Combs, Monica Bellucci’s daughter Deva, Christian Bale’s daughter Emmeline and Heidi Klum’s daughter Leni.

There were over 100 different looks at the runway. The Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda show was a celebration of high craftsmanship, with all pieces rendered in luscious silks, brocades, velvets, glass and crystals, embroidery and special fabrics. Sequined dresses and sculptural gold elements were reminiscent of the Venice’s architecture, and some things were decorated with printed photos of views of te city.

The Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda collection, as well as the show in Venice with star guests, is quite in the spirit of the brand’s DNA – pretentious, but nothing new or interesting from the point of view of art of costume.

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Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda in Venice

Fashion and style, fashion theory & hystory