Monday, 18 November 2013

make it BIG (Barbara I Gongini)

In Barbara I Gongini's garments you can almost feel the
North Atlantic winds gusting through the rocky and rugged
coastline of the Faroe Islands or gaze at the mist shrouding
the shore in stark contrast with the dark shades of 
cliffs and volcanic rocks towering over.

> 1, 2 backstage b&w images © by Michael Maximillian Hermansen <
The otherworldly features of Barbara's homeland, a place
roughly shaped as an arrowhead where you can never be
more than 5 km. away from the Ocean and whose harsh
weather conditions call for a continuous change of clothes
between outdoor and indoor spaces, came to inspire her
multi-functional garments proudly made out of 
organic and recycled fibers. 

Faroese landscape and climate are skillfully translated in
Barbara I Gongini's avant-garde collections for both men
and women through textures, forms and color shades subtly
epitomizing her own dark universe as well. The forces of
Nature are depicted through shifting shapes; ruffles suggest
sea waves and passing clouds, fog and moist are portraied
as nettings and subtle intricacies while mist is 
represented by diaphanous layerings.

Based in Copenhagen, Barbara I Gongini made waves thanks
to an offbeat Nordic approach (as mentioned before) stemming
from her earlier experience in the art scene: she uses fashion
design to define a distinct sense of identity involving sustaina-
bility as a key issue. Her s/s 2014 womenswear collection is
conceptual and dramatic as usual and with all her signature
hallmarks: almost monochromatic crafted outfits with nettings
and even hyperbolic ruffles; sleek tops and tailored jackets
with asymmetric cuts; long deconstructed frocks 
and shroud-like layerings.

I Gongini's androgynous reading of utility garments made it
big at Copenhagen fashion week where both her mens and
womenswear collections went on display. I chose to begin
with a couple of b&w images taken backstage by photographer
Michael Maximillian Hermansen that poetically pinpoint two
powerful moments in the usual scene of pleasant pandemonium
a runway show is. The audience has been actually shown to
appreciate her garments' versatility: the collection offers different
possibilities in terms of functionality and self-expression encoura-
ging the wearer to interact with shapes, textures and volumes. 
So Nordic and conceptually dark yet composed and 
sustainable: so BIG, Barbara I Gongini.

> all catwalk images © by Copenhagen Fashion Week <

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