(Impressions from the last two years)


Любомир СтойковThe events in the field of the design of garments and the major fashion events in Bulgaria during the last two years give reason to share some - although superficial - inpressions. Where to look for the assets and drawbacks, advantages and disadvantages, achievements and failure in the contemporary Bulgarian fashion ? Have our designers become better ? Did they approach their style to the high professional standards of their world-known colleagues like Yves Saint Laurent and Tom Ford, Armani and Valentino, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen, Donna Karan and Oscar de la Renta, Ungaro and Lacroix, Vivienne Westwood and Betsey Johnson ? What are the major events that happened during the time between the issue of Almanac of Bulgarian fashion 2000 and Almanac of Bulgarian fashion 2001 ? Clear answers to those questions can be gien by a closer scrutiny in the dynamic of the Bulgarian fashion design, the major trends in the fashion photography, the change in the condition of the model agencies and beauty contests, as well as the unique journalist formation "Academy of fashion".

1. Fashion design

Unfortunately, huge success or purely creative triumph in local and in international aspect can't be indicated during the past period. For most of our designers it was still difficult to organise their own production. Most of them did not have the opportunity to prepare high quality collections and to have self-confidence to compete their foreign colleagues.

And still, what was most interesting in Bulgarian fashion in the period between 2000 and 2001 ? Being aware of the simple and limitted possibilities of Bulgarian designers and the local fashion industry (mostly due to a lack of educational traditions, as well as the whole disbalance in the transition to market economy) some positive features in the development of Bulgarian fashion can be pointed.

In aesthetic aspect the past period marked a decrease of the poor taste, of the elementary imitation and poor quality of tailoring the clothes. Along with that, meganomaniacal manifestations and self-evaluation for fashion of "world level", masterpieces of the "haute couture and vanguard fashion", many prizes of "top designers", "top models", "top coiffeurs", etc. did not lack.

1.1. Individual achievements

The evolution in style and the improvement of the professionalism in the fashion creation is impossible without the presence of the authors, without the individual touch of the designer works.

Which are the most pronounced names in Bulgarian fashion during the past period ?

Любомир СтойковGeorgi Kolev. His rich creative biography includes many important details: he is a graduate of the Bulgarian academy of fine arts and of the Higher academy of fine arts in Lodz (Poland); he is a master of arts and he has been invited by Andjei Vaida to design the costumes for one of his films. In 1977 Georgi Kolev is among the 5 nominated designers in the world - together with Hanae Mori, Gee Laroche, Francesco Smalto and Salvatore Feragamo (Hvar island, Yugoslavia). Years on end he has worked in the Center for New Commodities and Fashion, "Ruen", "Veda", etc. He is among the founders of the International forum of aesthetics in Plovdiv in 1987, from where starts its existence the Forum of fashion, later renamed to Forum Bulgarian fashion, whose active member he is till now. From 1990 to 1992 he is a chairman of the society "Design" of the Union of Bulgarian artists. He created the collections of representative clothes of the Bulgarian national team of eurythmics for the championships in Strassburgh and Vienna. He has developed men's and lady's perfumes in narrow series. He has also organised an author's boutique in Tbilisi (Georgia). He has received many awards - diplomas, gold medals, etc. - for his international participations, among which "Lada - Desisslava" (1980, 1981) and the International fashion festival in Plovdiv (1985, 1986, 1987, 1988).

In 1999 he created the fashion studio "Georgi Kolev", a year later he received the "Golden needle" award of the Academy of fashion - for overall contribution to Bulgarian fashion design. Today Georgi Kolev develops lady's, children's and men's collections, directed to maximum plain line and inner harmony between elements and accessories.

Darina Manchenko is among the big names in Bulgarian fashion design. She has an excellent reputation of a creator having a finished style, high professionalism and aesthetic perfection. In the period 1972 - 1975 she took a course in French literature in the Sorbona. In 1975 she graduated the Higher school of fashion stylistics, haute couture fashion and costume "Arman Gojel" in Paris, in 1982 she graduated the Sofia university "St. Kliment Ohridski" - subject French philology. Years on end she has designed costumes for the cinema, theatre and television. She is nominated many times for the "Golden needle" award of the Academy of fashion as the best designer.

Модел на Дарина Манченко, есен-зима 2001-2002 г.In 2000 she celebrated in the proper manner a 25-year anniversary since the beginning of her creative career. The show, at which the designer presented her newest production, was visited by David Pizanti, the recent director of the house for lady's fashion "Pret-a-porte Paris". The collection, differentiated in three parts, was an eloquent testimony to the fact that the author has a talent: a mixture of urban chic and fine folklore elements, with a sense of humour in the designer contaminations - a bag in the shape of trousers and tassels instead of buttons. All this shows the main message of Darina Manchenko, according to which fashion changes over and over again, but the style remains (like Chanel).

Along with this the author has also coded other of her basic principles - the cultural bridge between the generations and the mixing of stylistic special features from the different periods are preferred to the cold elegance, lacking life and brought to aesthetic hermetism. Manchenko did her best to catch the modern day, the current moment with her anniversary collection. And she succeeded namely because her products were filled with warmth and femininity. The singer Beloslava - a daughter of the actress Aneta Sotirova - appeared at the end of the review, wearing a wedding dress, inspired from the national costume.

During the autumn of 2001 Darina Manchenko made an author's review together with another famous Bulgarian designer - Yordanka Chernaeva. The delight from the show, which took place at the Royals restaurant, was full due to the original choice of the models - famous Bulgarian actresses and TV stars - Bilyana Petrinska, Gala, Ernesta Shinova, Kamelia Todorova, Koina Russeva, Snejina Petrova, Silvia Vargova. Manchenko thinks that the woman in the autumn-winter season can practically wear the same toilet through the whole day: "She wouldn't have to change her clothes during the day, only the accessories". The designer stresses the attention on the possibility of replacement of the different components - jackets, skirts and trousers can be combined in a free manner. The cut bias was used in most of the 20 models that were shown. The fabrics used are mainly wool, satin silk, woolen jersey, raw silk with cotton and organza, the colour accents are black, grey and white - for the clothes, blue and red for the accessories.

Модел на Евгения Живкова за "Жени стил", пролет-лято 2001 г.Evgenia Jivkova. The last two years were very favourable to Evgenia Jivkova, chief designer of the fashion house "Jeni Style". She was declared designer of the year 2000, she was also awarded with the "Golden needle" from the Academy of fashion in the most authoritative category - for individual contribution to Bulgarian fashion design (Jivkova already has a "Golden needle" but as a fashion house). Her development demonstrates indisputable virtues and skills to cope perfectly with the aesthetic challenges and with the market and economic barriers, that Bulgarian designers face. She was the one that won the competition for providing with clothing the Bulgarian Olympians at the games in Sidney. In our newest political history Evgenia Jivkova will enter as the first designer deputy. She was elected to be a deputy from the "Coalition for Bulgaria" at the elections for the 39th ordinary national assembly. Ever since the first months of her social and state activities she made public crytical remarks for many fashion blunders in the Parliament ( the poor culture of dressin, the neglecting of the regulations of the journals for appropriate outlook, etc.).

Evgenia Jivkova reinforces the influence of her design with the original choice of the places for her reviews. In September 2000 she chose the National Historic museum in the "Boyana" residence, in March 2001 she organized her review under the dome of the circus "Balkanski" in Mladost quarter in Sofia. It must be noted that the change of the "geography" of the reviews and particularly the different space conception in this case helps the designer to reveal her creative idea, since the clothes are exposed in a way that helps keeping them in mind longer.

On her review in september (2001) in the National Palace of Culture she brought again before the public the two advertising faces of her collections - the 6th beauty in the world - Evgenia Kalkandjieva, and the three times world champion in eurythmics Maria Petrova, for the formal and sports line respectively. The models that were presented (together with the bridal clothes) numbered 70. The lenghtened outlines and the gauzy and vapoury fabrics "partnered" in an interesting and fascinating way and lended fine erotic touch to the designer message. The combination of jersey and raw silk is now in fashion and is very practical, according to "Jeny Style". Having in mind the domineering invasion of the sport outline and the accessories in the womens suits, Jeni Jivkova doesn't overlook the classic formal toilet, but in her collection it is enriched with up-to-date motives and fragments.

Undoubtedly Zaprian Marinov is among those bulgarian fashion aces, for which the last year of the century ended successfully. His review in the National Palace of Culture in the end of December 2000 showed his development, maturity and perfectionism. The value of these virtues is multiplied due to the hard economic and business climate. The first winner of the Golden needle award of the Academy of fashion made his fans happy again and proved that there are reasons to speak about the own face of Bulgarian fashion. The double premiere - presenting 80 models, for men and women respectively - was aiming to bring his creative understanding of style before the public. Among the materials it is worth to drwa the attention to the big use of cashmere, cold wool, and also the silk and lace in the formal wear. The fabrics "Stenly" were of his favour, especially the cashmere and eco furs. The colours vary from blue-green through grey, red ans black.

The new approach is connected mainly with the accent on the clothes, made of cold wool and velvet on one hand, and on the other hand on the asymmetric builds in the clothes in different colours. The men's suits made of polyester silk are with lenghtened silhouette - with high buttoning.

Among the presented jackets and the outer garments there were models with pointed lapels. The coats were designed in shortened and lenghtened proportions. The eyes of the numerous spactators in the hall were fixed on the charming Peter Genadiev, who played wonderfully the central part in the defile, and the unprofessional model Jenya Terzieva, who appeared at the end dressed in her own wedding dress made by "Egoist" - a magnificent formal garment, in which before a few months she got married. All of the models were boutique. The quality is guaranteed by the professional make and perfect technology. The aesthetic weight of the clothes for the strong sex fell on the single-breasted suits with high buttoning, and in the clothes for the fair sex the accent was set on the plain line and the ellegant to sophistication silhouette.

1.2. Joint achievements

The role of Forum Bulgarian fashion considerably grew up as a selectionist and patron for a big part of Bulgarian creators of apparel. There's no doubt that this most representative professional formation of designers in our country marked a considerable progress both in extensive (by increasing the number of participants in the seasonal exhibitions), and although on a smaller scale, in intensive way (by improving the quality of the presented clothing).

What is characteristic of the newest achievements of Forum Bulgarian fashion ? Its last exhibitions, in the autumn of 2000 and in the spring - in 2001 respectively, were of larger dimensions in duration and in number of participants, even to some extent in the evolution in quality of the design shown. The choreography and the mise-en-scene of the different evenings were entrusted to leading Bulgarian agencies and masters of modelling productions - Amalia Tincheva, Georgi Georgiev - Pentagram, Rozalia Tinkova, Evgenia Kalkandjieva, Petar Genadiev, etc. The honorary chairman of the forum Ivan Chalakov as well as most of its members did not spare strength and energy to make it a divide between old and new, tradition and innovation. Even more - just this manifestation should have - by their intentions, freed the indispensable reform in Bulgarian design - a reform, which has to open our country more to Europe and stimulate Bulgarian designers at most.

The spring exhibition of Forum Bulgarian fashion (april 2001) was called by the media not without reason "a forum record-holder". Besides that it continued 5 evenings, an eloquent fact for the exceptional interest in it was the number of the participants, which exceeded 90. Among the advantages that are easy to remember was the massive participation of the young creators of apparel, including students of the Academy of fine arts and New Bulgarian university, pupils from the Technical scholl of apparel and 151st school, whose fresh thinking and creative innovation (although sometimes marked by the inevitableawkwardness and lack of balance) are very useful for the development of our design. Fresh suggestions puffed from the works of the young Krasi and Ani Stefanovi. The forum would also be remembered with the visit of the charming Denny Mendes - Miss Italy '96 (face of fashion house Sasch) and with the presence of prestigeous foreign brands, presented in Bulgaria.

"Rila style"

Модел на "Рила стил", пролет-лято 2002 г.Being awarded for the third time with the Golden needle award for collective contribution to Bulgarian design (for 1999), the fashion house shows high class, clever management and flexible, dynamically developing design, which, without pretending to be "high fashion", is up to the requirements for ready garments and is in harmony with the needs of many people.

The assets of the most popular and according to many most successful Bulgarian fashion house were considerably enlarged during the past period. It became a tradition two times in the year the fashion house to present its collections in "Pret-a-porte Paris" ( it participated 15 times so far with its own counter in Port deu Versail ). Company representatives also visit the exhibition in Dusseldorf and important fashion events in Great Britain and United States. Iskra Koleva, Marina Mladenova and Uliana Krasteva are the creative main body, developing the new themes. Constant overall consultant of the house is the famous French designer of apparel and textile Sasha Pasha, and in the lead of all that is the managing director Hilda Savcheva, who managed to bring its team to front European positions during the complicated years of transition to market economy. Recently new plants were opened in Biala Slatina with more than 150 work positions and modern equipment, and in the village Popitsa with 100 work positions. The fashion goods of "Rila Style" are sold on several continents - including France, USA, Spain, Italy, Austria, Greece, Portugal, Israel and in other places all over the world. When two years ago "Rila Style" launched the two main themes "Fema" and "Get" it was clear that a new stage in the development of the fashion house is beginning. The strategy was directed to invigoration and diversification of the sizes and silhouettes; using modern materials as satin, leather and denim, and as a whole imposing the mixed style - at the same time juvenile and sport-elegant, but with a new impression.

For the spring and summer of 2002 "Rila Style" lays emphasis on freedom and comfort of the form. In skirts the accent falls on the so called "A-silhouette", the trousers are beginning to get narrower in the hip. The dressof the type shirtwaist becomes of the day, to the lovers of stronger feelings are recommended the dresses "Hollywood" with a bare back. Among the most used textiles are preferred silk, viscose, taffeta, cotton, linen, veiling, batiste, chiffon, etc. As for the shades and colour combinations, they vary between faded golden and pale green, sandy beige and coral. The blue-green and sandy shades, as well as red, white, black, ochre and orange are favoured by Rila Style. The reasons ? First, because parts of them are inevitably connected with the hot season and second, because just they fit perfectly the concept, demanding more dynamics, bigger freedom of movements along with the romantic feminine puffs and the common adjustment for more active lifestyle, more tourism and sport. A conception that reflects on the form, which acquires more and more graceful outlines.

Модел на "Дифер""Difer" is the fore-post of the company "Bartimex", which registered its tenth birthday in 2000. Being a successor of one of the famous in the past Bulgarian fashion houses "Valentina", today fashion house "Difer" can boast with orders for the Buckingham palace, famous clients among which the great sportsman Lubo Ganev, the motor pilots Yasen Popov and Bilyan Popov and others. At its anniversary show "Difer" (designer Nikolay Nikolov and constructor Blagoy Gramatikov) presented the collection men's fashion spring-summer 2001 and autumn-winter 2001-2002. The silhouette was free and half-free and offered comfort, perfect vision and feeling of freshness and actuality. The accent fell on the fabrics - 100 % wool, wool and polyester (for the autumn-winter suits) and polyester and viscose (for the spring-summer models). For the first time models marched in procession in public, dressed in unique dinner-jackets, a part of the formal garments, ordered by the company "Boots and son" for the Buckingham Palace. All fabrics, including the satin and threads were supplied from abroad. As well as clothes for the royal court "Difer" manufactures clothes for famous brands such as "Lacost", "Loran Serer", "Kiabi" and "Fabri style".

Модел на "Монтели"Monteli emerges as one of the favourites in Bulgarian men's fashion. The company is awarded two times with the "Golden needle" award for collective contribution to Bulgarian fashion design. A leading role for the success has the tandem Iliyan Vassilev - manager, Zdravka Montolova - designer and Rozalina Blagoeva - trade director. During the summer of 2000 the fashion house completed 5 years. The anniversary was marked with a celebration and a retrospective review of garments, produced since 1996 until that moment, as well as a defile of the newest collection. It brought the serene and optimistic mood of the sweltering summer with the characteristic care-free state of mind and sensation for freedom. The clothes invoked associations with the sea and its endless beaches, the attendant emotions and adventures. The collection was designed for the young in age or in spirit men, who seek comfort and ease of movements.

The line of clothes was clean, the silhouette - free and simple. The trousers were varied: long and broad, loose and straight 3/4 models. An impression for originality and miltifunctionality was left by the trousers with ties under the knee, which can be worn as 3/4 or as long. Some of them had pockets but the trend was the clean line. The long and loose shirts ensured comfortability and freshness in the summer heat. The jackets were "shirt" type, without or with a half lining, straight and loose. The outerwear (short jackets without buttoning) was meant for the cool sea evenings. The other variant valid for both men and women were the unisex sweaters made of 100% eco-cotton. Most impressive proved to be the sweaters "fisherman's net" type and the divided-skirts for men.

1.3. The new generation

To be continued ...


Channel amazing ideas at the Fashion marketing school Raleigh with comprehensive programs created to bring out the couture in you.

Copyright © 2003-2010 Lubomir Stoykov

Web design