May 15, 2013 - Jun 5, 2013
Lead by fashion designer Liběna Rochová, eleven students from the Studio of Fashion and Footwear Design at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague show their mid-term projects relating to lore, folk literature and tradition.
aim of the Bohemia project is to unite traditional crafts with its application
in contemporary fashion design. This project, blending tradition with the
contemporary Czech art scene, will be exhibited at the Gallery of the Czech
Center New York at the Bohemian National Hall during Design Week NYC 2013.
The Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague was established in 1885. It became a prestigious educational platform in the fields of design, architecture, fine art, photography and film animation, nurturing internationally recognised creative personalities, among the most important of which are the glass artists Stanislav Libensky and Frantisek Vizner, the designer Ladislav Sutnar and the artist and puppeteer Jiri Trnka. Today, there are six faculties in the academy, divided up into individual studios led by Rony Plesl, Maxim Velcovsky, Olgoj Chorchoj, Federico Diaz, Jiri Pelcl, Libena Rochova, Rostislav Vanek, Eva Eisler and others. Each year, AAAD arranges a selective exhibition and is very active in domestic and foreign presentations and events. Its students and graduates have won numerous awards, including the Czech Grand Design Awards, and have gained internships and jobs in high-profile brand name companies. In recent years, Antonin Simon was given a design opportunity with Raf Simons, Lucie Koldova worked in Arik Levy’s Paris studio, Eliska Kuchtova has been working for Camper and Jan Plechac and Henry Wielgus have been designing for Cappellini. The academy is intensively developing collaborations with Czech manufacturers such as the carmaker Skoda Auto, the footwear manufacturers Botas and Bata and glassworks such as Bomma. The AAAD campus is located in the historical centre of Prague.
In my project I was inspired by clothing for everyday wear and work and by trends of modifying technical essentials like seams and buttons into decorative elements instead of concealing them. I was interested in hands-on cutting work – folding and cutting up a rectangular section of fabric with minimum waste and taking advantage of the selvage as a natural edge, without the use of paper patterns. The visual message is adapted to function; the cut and the material itself give rise to components such as the length of the sleeve and body, the number of pockets and the size of the collar.
I chose as the source of my inspiration the traditional folk clothing that originated in my native region, the Central Mountains of Slovakia. I chose this folk costume because I have a connection with it and because it comes from the traditions and places that I grew up with. I was attracted mainly by its simplicity, naturalness, purity and colorfulness. I attempted to transfer its individual layers and morphology into contemporary clothing by minimizing the individual layers or combining them into one. Another theme was natural female beauty in times past, which I compared with today’s feminine ideal, associated with the revelation and contemporary perception of a woman’s body. In creating the clothing, I worked with slashing, resulting in openings revealing parts of the body in such a way that the exposed areas were unexpected – just a piece of skin, a shoulder or a birthmark.
"She was barefoot, longhaired, without a coat or headgear, let alone a scarf upon her neck…" Karolína Světlá
The form originates from the women’s shirt of the poetic Podještědí foothill region, which gradually transformed, with the addition of other parts of the costume, into one romantic dress for the heroine.
I was inspired in my work by the Mourning Costume. I minimized the decoration to emphasize the true essence of its function, while retaining its traditional form.
The cornerstone of this project was the vision of using traditional, quality materials: leather, canvas and wood. My idea was to create a product with extremely long life, made from only quality materials, which could be used ‘in the woods’ and ‘in the city’. I came up with the concept of the shopping bag, which, thanks to its robust construction and quality materials is characterized by high quality, color combination options and playfulness, while the wooden handle, as well as solving the problem of holding the textile in the hand, adds practicality, ergonomics and distinction to the whole project.
“Before the river starts to hum,
the lonely source is heard to sing,
Before the tree begins its song,
the leaves will set to rustling...
If they should bud, let they like I
fall down always in love’s circle"
I was inspired by the Vlčnov folk costume and its development in the course of the 20th century. In my models I attempted to confront two different development attitudes – a functional costume, simple and utilitarian as working clothing, and a wedding costume, very decorative and uncomfortable. I applied an age-old technique of pleating to the clothing, which I situated in places that would be restricting and uncomfortable for the wearer, just like in the costume of today.
In creating the collection for the BOHEMIA project, the essential theme of the assignment was ‘tradition’, to be inspired by our national folklore and literature. When I consider these things, I am always attracted primarily by the spirit and atmosphere that I sense behind a certain tale that I find in the area in question.
I was attracted by the head-covering of the Pilsen costume, which is known as a “dove”. As the name suggests, it is reminiscent of a bird's wings and it was worn in accordance with social custom with the wings symbolically either outstretched or folded downwards (depending on whether the wearer was a single girl or a married woman – in the latter case downturned). These established rules and superstition fascinate me. I like them and dislike them at the same time. This aspect of change in the costume was my stimulus for the main idea to create an item of clothing that could be transformed. By tightening laces that pass through the arrangement of the dress, it can be drawn tighter and each of these positions has a different mood, which, however, the wearer of today can fortunately choose freely according to her mood.
I chose as the material silk organza, which perfectly satisfied the properties that I required. It is a material that is not floppy, but is at the same time light, so that the large forms that I wanted to create would not drape. It also served well for achieving greater or lesser transparency by gathering and layering of the fabric, which I took advantage of to emphasize the graphic line of the arrangement – binding the seams created darker lines.
The theme of folklore in clothing does not mean only beauty, decorativeness, complicated fabrication of costumes or ornamentation. It is also about the laborious manual work that people had to do daily before donning their beautiful costumes for celebrations. This collection of four dresses is inspired by Jean-Francois Millet’s famous 19th century painting ‘The Gleaners’. They come from a desire to create functional, helpful clothes for gathering fruit, based on hitching up or folding the skirt in such a way that both hands remain free for full use in collecting. Painters’ canvas is used as the material for its strength and functionality, as well as being inspired by painting. The functionality of the dresses was subjected to the test of gathering sloes, which they passed.
The ‘Apron’ collection was influenced most by my relationship to folk clothing. I focused specifically on one type of garment, the apron, which constitutes one of the most fundamental parts of both work wear and carnival folk costume. I carry the morphology over into the cut and work especially with the principle of the apron as a universal garment that grows together with the figure. It is a dialogue between specially treated classic materials and materials that refer to the original identity of the first garments.
My inspiration for the Bohemia project was the folk carnival ‘The Ride of Kings’, which constitutes part of the folklore of Moravia, Silesia and Slovenia. Because it also takes place in the town that I come from, it has for me a profound character. During the festival, just one young boy is chosen from the village. He must be a virgin and less than 12 years old. It is the greatest possible honor for a family in the village. During the ceremony, the boy is dressed up in a female costume with all accessories. It is a reminder of a folk legend about the flight of a king, who made his way from his hiding place back to his castle disguised as a girl.
The sense of a man in a woman’s dress, the ritual itself of putting on layers of clothing and ideas of the contradictions between men and women's costumes and their social and psychological character were for me the most essential. It was not an attempt to interpret the folk costume, but rather the ritual itself and its impact on the individual. I chose a number of the main components of the costume: the vest, apron/skirt, trousers and jerkin. With these I created my own personal dressing ritual and further transformed the components of the clothing in such a way that free, quite ambiguous garments emerged in which a vest and skirt, jerkin and vest or trousers and skirt were combined into one. Carrying over the meaning into the present day and seeking classic male elements from a contemporary perspective are the features that best characterize the potential of my collection.
Folding Folk - Footwear and Jewelry Pieces
- the time when black ice covers the road -
Layers and shadows became the main themes in my work. I was attracted by the folded and layered shapes characteristic of traditional Czech carnival clothing as well as footwear, and how fascinating are these striking shapes that form around us when twilight falls.
Alongside creative fashion design “on the boundaries of clothing form” with a sculptural approach, in which we seek new paths in fashion, our studio wants to (and must) cooperate with industry. During their studies, students have to become acquainted with the procedure in industrial manufacture.
The concept of cooperation with the footwear manufacturer Baťa consists of a reworking of the iconic training shoe design ‘Baťa Bullets’, which were manufactured in the 1960s - to build on this design and take an individual creative route, while preserving both the shoe and the aspect of creativity and the creative act.
Not redesign, but the individual student’s creativity kept in check by a rubber sole!
To know the craft is a 100% advantage; you get greater respect in companies.
You know how to cut cloth and how to fashion a garment…
I worked for the Institute of Folk Craftsmanship, a little island of people during communism who were adept at a craft and stood fast for what they believed. I went through the weaving workshops in the Drahany highland region and a mother-of-pearl processing firm near Jihlava and created a collection for the institute.
An obsession with work, perceptiveness, openness, humility and industry are the important qualities of a perfect graduate from my studio.
For the first year it was all “Rochová”, but that’s not bad; it’s development. Every student is an individual and I want them to imprint that into their clothes.
I demand the personal imprint of the students.
I don’t want to make dresses and shoes with the students. I want to see a theme, a path and a concept. No pain, no gain!
Studio of Fashion and
The main idea behind the new concept of the studio is a focus on a creative conception of the clothing form. This term also includes footwear and fashion accessories.
This main route –
concentration on the development of creative thinking – should have the final
form of a unique creation that goes beyond previous types of clothing, footwear
and accessories towards a free artistic form.
Free thinking and exploration are directed towards the discovery of one’s own sources with an emphasis on the personality of the student. This idea of support for the personality and the creative development of the student is one of the principal ideas of the studio.
Alongside this creative searching, overlapping into ‘fashion art' and ‘fashion at the edge’, the student is led towards the know-how necessary to transfer this free creativity into a commercially defined fashion form, with preparation for the 'real world' of the Czech and foreign fashion industry.
The student is given leadership in creating a brand and running a firm.
Fundamental is the path to excellent craftsmanship, in the field of dressmaking and tailoring as well as haute-couture, i.e. demanding craft workmanship. It is necessary to acquire skills with contemporary advanced technologies in the areas of materials and processes.
doc. Liběna Rochová
She has operated for several years on the Czech scene, which she very often represents abroad (with exhibitions and shows in Vienna, Paris, Lyon, New York, Düsseldorf and Los Angeles), and her expertise and skills have allowed her to design theater, film and show costumes, artistic objects for the body, gowns for singers as well as ordinary commissions, pret-a-porter collections and lastly – the field most prestigious for every fashion designer – collections of unique models. Her work focuses on free, individual creation, which is more open to a fine art form than a purely fashion one.
She cooperates with the Austrian association of lace manufacturers for which she creates inspiring models. Her works are represented in the collection of the Museé de Tissus in Lyon and in the museums of decorative arts in Prague and Brno.
In 1992, she was awarded the title ‘Designer of the Season’ at the Styl Brno trade fair, in 1995 she won the Design Center of the Czech Republic’s ‘Excellent Design’ award and in 2009 her 'Homage to Glass' collection won the Czech Grand Design second prize. She designs the ‘Liběna Rochová for AJETO’ glass jewelry line for AJETO.
She conducts regular summer workshops at the farm of actor Bolek Polívka.
In 1999, she founded Studio LR in Prague, and in 2005 a gallery supporting young designers was established within Studio LR.
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From: May 15, 2013
To: Jun 5, 2013