Finally it was time to go back to Warsaw and see my students again! After 3 weeks of absense it was really necessary to see their progress and to solve whatever problems they were having with their collections.
This school year has been a bit of a challenge for the girls, as they arrived back from internships at, amongst others, Marc Jacobs in New York and Alexander McQueen, Jonathan Saunders and Richard Nicoll in London, and straight back to making a small capsule collection for June the 3rd. It was extra challenging due to my absense while in Hyères, but no one holds your hand in fashion, so pushing yourself is simply the best way to learn.
I arrived at Chopin Airport at 9 PM on Monday and after picking up some dinner - AKA a Snickers bar and some cashews - I took a taxi downtown. The apartment is right next to the Academy, so it's really easy to commute to work. A quick sashay across the courtyard and you're there.
Since we had to go through weeks of work - designs, fitting of prototypes, fabric selections and treatments - we decided to split the class over 2 days, 5 students on Tuesday and 3 on Wednesday, so I will split the blog over 2 days as well.
Compared to rainy Belgium, summer had already arrived in Warsaw. I could smell the trees and flowers blossoming as I walked to school in the morning. I almost forgot how summer feels like.. It's so nice!!
I don’t want to spoil the beans before the students’ jury in, so I will only show a small selection of each student and explain their collections. Bear in mind that these are all prototypes, so the real pieces will look completely different! I’d love to do a special report from the jury itself on the 3rd of June, but until then, here’s a small preview:
First girl up was Julia Ewa Kaleta. Julia's collection is inspired by the Freemasons and she’s recreating lace by weaving strips of leather on 3D layering of silicone coated mesh. Her collection plays on the aspects of feminine and masculine and she’s working on inverted tailoring and volumous pleating. Her colours are feminine, but the silhouettes are rather masculine in shape and structure. Julia has a tendancy to lean towards the feminine side of fashion, so I’m pushing her to discover masculinity and to find the right balance between masculine and feminine details. She did a good job, so I’m curious to see the finished pieces.
Next up was Zosia Ufnalewska. Zosia’s collection is inspired by brutalism and 70s skiwear, so we’re playing on big constructed overlayers in concrete-coloured felt and coated wools with multiple layered inserts of semi-transparent nylons and metallic coated woven polyurethane. The over layers are rather ‘brutal’, with oversized shapes and molded sleeves, but they are balanced out by subtle underlayers with layers-upon-layers of even toned fabrics in metallic silver and pastels.The quirky 70s is translated into high waisted ‘concrete’ wool bell bottoms, skirts, shorts and dresses. It’s brutally refined, so I’m looking forward to the jury.
Kasia Skórzynska’s collection is inspired by russian constructivism and the indian artist Nandan Ghiya. Her shapes have a two dimensional straight-cut constructivist approach, but to break the flatness she builds up her garments with tailored hand-sewn 3D cuts. Kasia is also developing her own brightly coloured hand painted prints, which she again breaks up geometrically and shifts with clever patternmaking and overlapping mesh. The collection has a nonchalant approach to it, which is a nice contrast to the strict shapes and excessively cut pieces. Will be interesting to see the final pieces in print! (The print on the jacket is not hers, it’s just a prototype fabric.)
Next student to show her work was Joanna Wawrzynczak with her samurai inspired collection. Joanna has been working on developing the samurai warrior into modern hi-tech silhouettes, contrasting the shapes with a wide range of intricately cut fabric developments in black and white Prince of Wales check and multiple hand embroidered polyurethane flower and beading. The samurai suit is developed into strict armour overlayers inspired by the japanese dô, paired with exessively pleated skirts and massive double layered trousers developed from an original samurai pattern. Can’t wait to see it in real.
The last student to show her collection on Tuesday was Ewa Stepnowska. Ewa was also inspired by japanese clothing, but more specifically the obi and she paired it with the Chinese hanfu and... Twin Peaks. Her idea was that a person had a dream where she found herself in the Red Room [from Twin Peaks] and somehow travelled through time to the 1930's Japanese puppet state in China, Manchukuo. Quirky, but fun! Ewa is developing 3 layers of her silhouettes - silicone printed black bodysuits based on the Red Room and chinese traditional paintings, geometrically raw-cut nude neoprene mid-layers and big pleated kimonos with angular molded sleeves, contrasted oversized pockets and big obi-bows connected through clever patternmaking. Looking forward to see this in real.
After 11,5 hours in school, LOADS of information and a hungry stomach it was finally time to go home, have some dinner and.. continue to work on my own work. Fashion seriously never stops!
Luckily the supermarket close to school is open till 10 PM, so I could grab some food and make some dinner. I love the woman working behind the meat section - she doesn’t understand a word of english and after trying to explain chicken for a few minutes she always gives me pork. I only know how to say dziekuje [thank you], so I guess it’s time to work on my polish if I want to eat a decent dinner in the future.