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Designing for Project IMA: Reinterpretation and Reuse

Our guest blogger today is Margarita Mileva, a designer in tonight's Project IMA fashion show.

“Fashion is architecture: it is a matter of proportions.” – Coco Chanel

I grew up in a family of artists: my father was a painter and my mother is a sculptor. At home, it was like an open house for other artists to come over and passionately discuss art and politics. For me, the best painter was my dad and the best sculptor was my mom. So I guess the other “real” artistic professions, in which I will not compete with them, was to become an architect. I was good in mat, loved problem solving, and was fascinated by shapes and colors, so becoming an architect was a very natural path for me to choose. From here comes my deep interest towards fashion as an art form, with its volumes, colors and proportions.

This is my second participation in Project IMA. Two years ago, my daughter and I created a dress made from rubber bands as part of Project IMA: Fashion Unbound.  It was a great experience to be involved with the Indianapolis Museum of Art and I am thrilled that I have the opportunity to contribute again. For my current entry, I found inspiration in this evening dress by Norman Norell:

I wanted to grasp the spirit of Norell’s work and give it a new, contemporary interpretation. My work, which will be made entirely from different sized black rubber bands and industrial felt scraps, is continuation of the design ideas developed in my conceptual project “Recycling of the Architectural Office,” in which I explored the ever-changing character of the contemporary architectural office and how standard tools become obsolete in lieu of digital technology. Recently I’ve also been thinking about our current economic condition, and opening our senses towards the use of alternative materials, recycling and upcycling. I believe that we have to be environmentally responsible and conscious about our surroundings. My submission to Project IMA is my creative response towards finding new sources and expressions. Intrigued and inspired by the Chantilly lace that Norell used, I created my own version of the delicate net by using only black rubber bands. Thousands of rubber bands are knotted, interlocked, twisted together and assembled in order to create the unique texture of the garment. Looking for a fusion of past and present, I’ve chosen to pay respect in this way and give a modern interpretation of the artistic techniques associated with creating fabric, all done by hand. Norell used fox fur to trim the lampshade-shaped top of the evening dress. Half a century later, and living in different environment, I decided to interpret his design by using colorful industrial felt scrap circles. The felt that I used is 100% wool – a biodegradable and renewable material.

In my work, I am inspired both by the artistic and cultural heritage of couture, and am intrigued by innovative designers like Norell who changed the shape and the mood of fashion with his geometrical shapes and attention to detail.  You’ll have to come to Project IMA tonight to see the results of my work.  I hope that you will find it interesting, challenging and a valuable contribution to the show.


Filed under: Art, Public Programs, Textile & Fashion, The Collection, The Toby

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