UNTAMED SKIN – THE ROMANIAN BLOUSE

Opening: 24 April, h 19:00 – 04:00

Part of the White Night of the Galleries (24 April), Night of Museums (16 May) and Romanian Design Week (16-18 May)

Awarded with three Special Mentions at London Fashion Week – International Fashion Showcase 2015, the “Untamed Skin – the Romanian Blouse” exhibition takes the story of the exquisite Romanian blouse back to its roots as a wild, yet delicate garment which was always worn close to the skin, hand-crafted using natural textiles and pigments, and embroidered with primordial symbols and patterns.

For this exhibition, fashion designers Alexandru Nimurad and Alexandra Abraham and jewellery-designer Vika Tonu developed their collective clothing, accessory and jewellery collection around the blouse as an organic structure, honouring its distinctive local background and visual history.

Imbued with narrative and memory, each garment designed by Alexandru Nimurad interprets a specific IA (Romanin blouse) that used to be worn during some of the important ritual events in someone’s life such as birth, marriage and burial, the jewellery collection “Ensemble of Broken Pieces” conceived by Vika Tonu with Alexandru Nimurad echoes the story of Queen Marie of Romania and Alexandra Abraham juxtaposes the architectural and anatomical leather harnesses over long dresses made of natural cotton, in the same technique as it used to be made in the old days.

The exhibition is organized by Galateca gallery in partnership with the Romanian Cultural Institute in London and was first showcased as part of International Fashion Showcase IFS 2015, the first joint collaboration between the British Council and the British Fashion Council and the only BFC initiative that is open to the public during London Fashion Week, where is was awarded with three Special Mentions at all categories Best Country Exhibition, Best Emerging Designer (Alexandru Nimurad & Vika Tonu for their jewellery collection) & Best Curator (Roxana Gibescu).

Together with The Romanian Cultural Institutes in Bruxelles and Berlin, Galateca will itinerate the exhibition to the Design Centre Winkelhaal in Antwerp between 29 May-10 June and to BraubachFive Art and Design Gallery in Frankfurt between 26-28 June.

*Alexandru Nimurad is a fashion designer with a passion for graphic design. Alexandru is a young designer based in Bucharest, Romania. He studied both architecture (at the Bucharest University of Architecture and Urbanism) and fashion design (at the Bucharest University of Arts).  His illustrations have been showcased at the National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC Bucharest, 2010) and in several other exhibitions. One might found his projects on online platforms such as SUB25, A PAGE, DASH, Casseur Magazine and on acclaimed international fashion publications ID Magazine, All Hollow or Cockaigne.In 2014 he was part of the Glastonbury Festival Creative Team, as a graphic artist and set designer. For “Untamed Skin –The Romanian Blouse”, Alexandru Nimurad created garments that reinterpret the Romanian blouse (“ia”) and the jewellery capsule collection “Ensemble of Broken Pieces”, made together with fellow designer Vika Tonu.

For “Untamed Skin”, Alexandru Nimurad created garments that reinterpret the Romanian blouse (“ia”), the traditional rituals from rural Romania and other symbols such as the deer and the stag. Each outfit interprets a specific blouse that was made for five ritualistic events during one’s life and were worn only once in a lifetime: being ready for marriage, the wedding, being a mother, helping giving birth and the funeral. What inspired Alexandru Nimurad’s garments was the strong bond between peasants and nature that was beautifully represented in the simplicity and complexity of the Romanian blouses.

After graduating The Interdisciplinary Course of Art and Design at the Huddersfield University, in the United Kingdom, Vika Tonu chose jewellery, print and collage as main areas of activity. Vika Tonu Design was born in June 2013, concurrently with the first ring series entitled ‘Dimiourgia’, revealing a universe of jewellery loaded with symbolism and power. Her style can be described as minimalistic, geometric, one of simplification striving to achieve the essence of things. For her jewellery collections, she has collaborated with design brands Alexandru Nimurad, Imaculatura, WOLF25, Atelierul de Haine and with artist Naiana Vatavu, her her projects have been showcased part of International Fashion Showcase 2015 – London Fashion Week, Contemporary Jewellery Fair AUTOR 10 – Bucharest, Romanian Design Week, Avanpremiere Gala 14 at the Museum Of Modern Art Bucharest, ROD, Play Design Fair and on numerous online and offline fashion publications such as Harper’s Bazaar, Beau Monde, Psychologies Magazine, The Institute, Autor Magazine,Apage Magazine, SUB25, Promotime Moldova, SAKS Magazine Moldova, Decanted Design, Experimentalist.

For the „Untamed Skin – The Romanian Blouse” project, the designer, teamed up with Alexandru Nimurad, and created a conceptual jewellery collection entitled “Ensemble of Broken Pieces” consisting of six heart-shaped neckpieces, molded in bronze, silver and gold plated and adorned with precious and semi precious stones like raw diamond, rubies, zirconia stone, pyrite and natural corals. The collection tells the story of a yearning heart that goes through the process of loss followed by its gradual healing. Each piece represents a step on a journey of rebirth, recovery and rejuvenation, and captures the raw and savage beauty of the heavy feelings that possess our beings when in pain. “Ensemble of Broken Pieces” is inspired from the story of Queen Maria of Romania and has as central element the aggrieved heart – left as a legacy for Romania by her Majesty.

Alexandra Abraham also studied both architecture and fashion-design in Bucharest. She is an unconventional accessories designer with an interest for the role and multiple possibilities of the harness in fashion as a link between clothing and accessories. Her collections re-conceptualize the leather accessory and re-interpret the use of fixed elements in order to express functional freedom.

Shee collaborated on several occasions with fashion-design brands Simona Semen, Imaculatura, but also with artist Ioana Sisea and her collections were presented at the Avanpremiere Gala in Bucharest, Galateca Gallery and Studio Arte. She has been highlighted in some of the important national and international fashion publications, online and offline, such as All Hollow, SUB25, Unica, The One, Beau Monde, IMute, Whisper, Glamour, Le Mile, DeVour, Bissous, Jute. In 2015 she participated in the International Fashion Showcase 2015 – London Fashion Week and at the Design Salon in Bucharest – Galeria Orizont, where she received the “Award for originality and excellence”.

In the suggestively entitled exhibition „Untamed Skin – The Romanian Blouse”, IA (the Romanian blouse) is seen by Alexandra Abraham as gaining an ancient form, unfinished, raw but bright, as it was once created. The natural flow of the cotton cloth used in creating long dresses is complemented by the harnesses that replace the traditional primordial symbols sewn on these blouses. The long dresses showcased, elements of rooting and tradition, become the support for the architectural leather harnesses that complement the whole outfits.

Roxana Gibescu is currently curator at Galateca, Gallery of Contemporary Art and Design in Bucharest and worked previously at the Romanian Cultural Institute in London. She curated projects at international festivals as well as exhibitions in museums from London (Horniman Museum), Pittsburgh (Andy Warhol Museum) and Romania (Brukenthal Museum). At London Fashion Week 2015, Roxana Gibescu won for “Untamed Skin” the Special Mention for the best curator.

Special thanks: Asociația Culturala NeoArt România, IMDD, BCU, Forbes, Agentia de C’Arte, Modernism, ArtClue, HipMag, The Re-Art, Igloo, Biz, Designist, Elle, Harper’s Bazar, Rock FM, Senso TV, TV City, Forbes, Radio Romania Cultural.

Photo: Vlad Birdu, Make-up: Diana Ionescu, Model: Geanina Pistol, Location: Satori Studio, Jewellery: Alexandru Nimurad & Vika Tonu Design, Wardrobe: Alexandru Nimurad and Harness: Alexandra Abraham.