Ex-runway star turned designer, responsible for excellently made dresses eliciting gasps from ladies passing by the store in 1 Čubrina Street in Belgrade, discusses the main traits of the Belgrade fashion scene, her favourite domestic designers and the greatest challenges of creating items of clothing.
What item of clothing makes you the proudest?
I love every dress we make, especially those models that come out right the first time round. I am proudest of our manufacturing and of what our dresses look like from inside. We pay a lot of attention to the reverse side of each dress, which has to be impeccable, especially since we have open edges on the front.
Fashion Studio Click marked the jubilee of the Fashion Week this year; you have been an inseparable part of this event, since the beginnings of the Belgrade fashion scene we know today, as a model. What would you say characterizes the fashion scene in Serbia today?
First, I have to commend the Fashion Studio Click. Throughout these years they never folded, they never flirted with the so-called “general taste”, they never swerved off the course of true fashion. That makes me very proud of Nenad. Today, all the designers we can see represent Belgrade fashion in a way that is completely aligned with the world trends, compared to some of the manifestations that have branched out and away from what fashion actually is. Unfortunately, these designers don’t have the adequate conditions to work. Except for the Fashion Week, no one is helping them with issues of presentation and they are facing challenges in manufacture and finding points of sale. Still, I would like to emphasize that there are amazing talents out there. As for that, I would characterize the fashion in Serbia as excellent and very imaginative and, in that respect, equal to that of Paris, New York… There are stories that many an element of the current trend had first been created in the studios of our designers, only to be seen and then craftily copied by others.
It is safe to say you have worked with the greatest Serbian designers of the contemporary generation. Which one of them suits your personal fashion sensibility the best?
Dragana Ognjenović is a designer I always single out. She is brilliant, in addition to being a person I love. I went with her to New York when she was presenting her collection at the NY Fashion Week, in the official part, with serious buyers sitting in front rows. She still has all the doors open to her everywhere and she is capable of creating a spectacle out of nothing, not just in fashion but also in interior design. Of course, I must not forget to mention Igor Todorović too, for whom I have immense respect and whom I adore. He is a wonderful creature; I have full faith in him, he is a real class act. Everything he does is beautiful and of high quality. At this year’s FW, Aleksandar Protić and Doda Komad were certainly especially interesting to look at. These are spectacles in their own right.
You have had an opportunity to see fashion from different angles as a model, to test out different fashion sensibilities and wear designs that perhaps, as a fashion connoisseur, would not have caught your eye. Did you consider, back then when you were a model, going into fashion design?
No. I tackle fashion design in a different way compared to the fashion we are talking about here. I went into fashion because, at some point, I could not financially afford the fashion I liked. At some point, the prices went not just out of reach, but beyond anything that would be considered even remotely reasonable. I still don’t get it. At the same time, the materials keep getting worse and worse, with each new generation. These are polyesters that have been processed to feel like silk to touch, but they are not silk – they are polyesters with a price that will make your head spin. We purchase natural materials exclusively and we mostly get them from Italy. These are predominantly woollen fabrics. Our idea is to have the manufacture impeccable and yet to keep the price at a level that allows women to afford these items. Every dress we make looks like something you could walk down any fashion capital in the world and walk through any door in. I know, because I’ve worn them.
What are you working on in your studio these days?
We are currently organizing a trip to Naples and working on some bags. We will have only one type of bags – totes. This is the type of bag I like the most and I use it morning to night. And, of course, a small clutch purse. Also, we are sticking to dresses and jackets that we have been working on. We also have some t-shirts we want to make, but the main emphasis surely is on the dresses. Simply put, I believe that a girl from Belgrade deserves a well-made dress, manufactured from good materials, but that she also has to have an opportunity to look different, each day. I think a dress can and should be worn every day, not just for evenings out. Some mornings, I force myself to put on a dress – and already after half an hour, I can feel it working its magic. Truly, a dress has the power to make your day.
By: Miljana Nešković