І. BULGARIAN FASHION DESIGN - STATUS AND TRENDS
An attempt to reform, a desire to consolidate of a new type, an aspiration for heuristics and prognostics and together with this a bigger interest to the needs of daily life and a discovery of the most adequate market prices - all this is a significant part of the characteristics of the modern Bulgarian designers and fashion houses. A positive fact is the next attempt for organizing the Bulgarian fashion design through the Association of the Fashion and Textile Designers in Bulgaria, established a couple of years ago and whose current chairperson is Dora Momekova. At the latest exhibition “BGate” in October 2007, this association demonstrated a potential and ability to incorporate into its structure important names of our fashion life. However, it is early for categorical assessments as in the years of democracy and transition to market economy a lot of wonderful initiatives related to the professional organizing of designers and fashion houses turned out to be unsuccessful due to objective or subjective reasons.
In individual, creative plan, a number of the famous names of the Bulgarian design preserved and confirmed their positions of leaders. Among these are Virginia Zdravkova and Albena Alexandrova, Eugenia Jivkova and Jana Jekova, Maria Nedkova and Natali Genova, Yordanka Chernaeva, Svetla Dimitrova, Maria Micheva, Sofia Borisova and another dozen of talented fashion designers. They continued to create new and intriguing collections charged with serious semantics and sending messages for change, elegance and challenging behaviour (Virginia Zdravkova with her Silk Touch collection, Evgenia Jivkova with her Perfect Woman collection, Albena Alexandrova with her Shackled Beauty collection , Sofia Borisova and her Allure collection, etc. The work of Mariela Gemisheva is characterized by an aspiration to predefine elegancy and new search of the challenging style (she successfully defended her work on fashion performance and was awarded the doctoral degree at the National Academy of Art), Alexandra Milusheva (Astella Atelier), Veronika Vapirova (Totally Erected), Antoaneta Dolkina (Toane), Petya Dimitrova, Miroslava Shopova, Nina Todorova and a number of other representatives of the newer generations of Bulgarian designers.
Bulgarian fashion life was rich in events in the past 2007. What happened in particular?
Irida fashion house, a holder of the two biggest awards of the Academy of Fashion – Zlatna Igla (Golden Needle) and Fashion Mercury continued successfully its search of new and more artistic forms of representation of its new design. It presented its collection named The Nightmare of a Man with an original art show at Kempinski Hotel Zografski. Again the project was beyond the trivial, the expected and it reached over the stage stereotypes. The team of creators managed to challenge its fans through the elegant symbiosis of the finest and at the same time most brave genre styles like performance, theatrical staging and fashion show. Starring roles were assigned to the actors Georgi Kurkelanov and Yoanna Bukovska, whose characters bravely faced their nightmares in order to make their dreams come true.
A lot of Bulgarian clothing companies proved their high quality and class not only at home but also abroad. Among these was fashion house Markam – holder of the award Fashion Mercury of the Fashion Academy, which quite successfully presented and contracted its new collection spring –summer 2008. This happened at the time of two international exhibitions from July 22 to 24, 2007, in Amsterdam and Dusseldorf. The premiere of this same collection was a big success at the World Fashion Show Fashiоn Premiere in Salzburg. On the fashion platform in the town of Mozart, Markam Fashion participated for the first time and was the only Bulgarian company invited by the organizers. The company from Rousse and four more Bulgarian fashion houses were presented at one of the biggest world fashion exhibitions CPD Dusseldorf, where two thousand companies were involved in the presentation of their fashion collections for the mass and the boutique market. Markam was the only representative of Bulgaria among the 620 exhibitors from 24 countries at the international fashion fair Style in Brno. The company from Rousse took part in the thirtieth anniversary event of the exhibition at the end of August with its fashion collection trends spring-summer 2008. The designs of the chief designer of the company, Nikolai Buzov, were assessed as “exclusive” by the numerous customers of the fair, as well as by the organizers and partners themselves. Outstanding specialists classified the style and the quality of Markam Fashion among the highest design segment specifying the modern fashion trends.
Markam also contributed to the support of young Bulgarian designers providing a scholarship for the most perspective student of fashion design to the value of BGN 4,000. This happened at the time of the state exam for the master of art’s degree at the National Academy of Art, Fashion speciality. The lucky person was Iva Stancheva who was granted the amount for the three educational semesters of the master’s degree. Here is how the owner of Markam fashion house, Kamen Obreshkov, commented and justified their choice on the basis of the understanding that young, creative new people of nonstandard thinking should join this business: “Our motif to support the talented Iva Stancheva for her master’s degree at the National Academy of Art is part of our overall program for support to young talents. At the end of 2007 academic year I had the pleasure to be invited to the state exam for acquiring the bachelor of art's degree in Fashion speciality. Young designers impressed me much and at that time we spontaneously took the decision to offer a scholarship to one of them. The chief designer of Markam, Nikolai Buzov, attended the enrolling for the master of art degree and after a short discussion we chose Iva Stancheva. She is a young talented designer of potential to progress in this profession and support our collections with new fresh ideas.
As a start we will offer Miss Stancheva to take active part in the development of several themes of the autumn-winter collection 2008-2009 and we will additionally pay her the fee besides the scholarship she is granted by Markam,” Kamen Obreshov added.
Events related to Bulgarian designers abroad showed again that fashion designed in Bulgaria provokes the interest abroad and makes a strong impression. Vatican Radio, for example, broadcast a special interview with Milka Alexandrova – Buchi. That happened on the occasion of her jewellery collection presentation in Rome during the week of culture in the Italian capital. In the interview for Vatican Radio, Buchi emphasized that she was inspired by the Eternal City for the creation of the 40 original accessories. Natural corals, silver and turquoise and red nuances are among the leading accents in the latest collection of Milka Alexandrova – Buchi, shown on the bank of the Tiber river. The initiative Rome Portal belongs to the administration of Sofia Region and the managers of Lazio Region and the Municipality of Rome.
Five years elapsed since the establishment of Monroe Fashion House with Milena Tsoncheva as its designer. Before that Milena Tsoncheva was designing for Rousse Mileni Fashion House. In relation with the festive occasion, the designer presented her collection Flowers in hotel Les Fleurs in Sofia. Clothes are designed in a way that enhances the layers effect. Overlaying and combinations are interesting - a skirt over a pair of trousers and a skirt over a dress. Through the years the designer managed to impose the elegance of carelessness and the street style with clothes that emphasize sex appeal and demonstrate flair for femininity, chic and provocation. Pop singer Mariana Popova opened the show dressed in the first dress she had bought from the new collection a couple of days before the date of the show. Many Bulgarian beauties and holders of the title Miss Bulgaria took part in the impressive fashion show. Paraskeva Dzhukelova, Bilyana Petrinska, Kamelia Todorova, Niki Kanchev were among the guests of the show.
In November 2007, the Fashion House of the famous Bulgarian fashion company Denyl was opened. The modern trade centre is located in the building of Mineral Souvenir in the centre of Sofia and each of the five levels is distinctive with its unique interior solution. Besides the trade area, the building hosts luxury establishments. The idea is that visitors will be able not only to shop but to get certain entertainment in their free time. Besides shops for men’s fashion, Denyl Trade Centre offers to connoisseurs of luxury the latest trends of ladies’ shoes of brand names as well as bed linen. There is perfumery, hairdressing and beauty parlour on the ground floor.
A number of other fashion houses, brand names and companies among which Miro Agressia, Votan, Apollo, Diel, Ariston S, Arda Rousse, Aries Unikat, Etere, Tani, Holiday Sona, Capasca, Liucille, Galinel, Battibaleno, Avin Lady, Review, Iventi and others also registered development, good results and new fans. No doubt, the secret of their success lies in the work that is more precise today, the modern design and the flexible approach to the permanently changing market situation in Bulgaria, as well as in the search of new, non-standard forms of presenting the new collections.