Fresh style insights, tips and commentary by Michelle Tea, Michael Braithwaite, Leo Plass, Page McBee and Carrie Leilam Love.

Monday, August 2, 2010

From Serbia With Love

Wow, folks. I have a wicked migraine. However, I refuse to leave you with nothing on this foggy Monday, so we're going to try something new. An experiment of sorts. I'm going to post a veritable cornucopia of pictures from Ivana Pilja's origami-inspired collection and I want YOU to tell ME about it. What you think about the designs, is it appropriation or is it inspiration, anything you can muster in the comment section... these are just light-handed suggestions, not prompts. The more thoughtful and witty your ideas, the better. This is true style Democracy in action! I'm not going to ask you to be respectful. Respect can easily go awry and lead to a dictatorial regime, but I WILL say please, Jesus, don't turn this into one of those terrible internet free-for-alls. How tedious.

What you should know:

1. Ivana Pilja is Serbian.
2. This is a collection she did as her graduate project at the          College of Textile, in Belgrade.
3. She is 26 and has bangs that could cut glass.

Here we go. Make it count:

I know you all have opinions. Let loose. I'll check in when I no longer have to close one eye to be able to deal with my laptop.


  1. Here's my word association: mickey mouse, architecture, CIRCLES, minnie mouse, SQUARES.

  2. Honestly, this doesn't do much for me. I've seen paper-like architectural stuff done in a more dramatic and interesting way before, and I've seen Japanese-inspired styling done much classier and more seamlessly before. This feels kitschy done. I sort of like the X pattern band around the end of that puffy skirt, but these shapes are neither challenging, nor aesthetically alluring. I'd write more, but the collection doesn't interest me enough to go on.

    -Sassy McBitch

  3. That kitschy sentence shouldn't have a word after "kitschy."

  4. Look, first off I love the minnie/mickey mouse connection. Secondly this is the girl's GRADUATE STUDENT WORK collection for x's sake, and additionally it can be both appropriation and inspiration. Can't it not now?

    There is no shortage of origami fashion - a blog post unto itself really, and if I could imbed images into my thread, I would show you Lady Gaga and her thierry mugler origami dresses. I would show you Alexander McQueen! Duh! I would show you one of my favorite origami dresses by Sandra Backlund. I would hurl origami grenades from Galliano. I would show you Andre Lima and crazy shit from Mauricio Velasquez Posada. Then I would point to more and more and more Galliano. LE CREATIVE SWEATSHOP! And more Galliano! Look I've done my research, and also I like origami - you should know this!

    So, there's the history of appropriation. But there is also an element of horror in a lot of origami fashion, hence the term "scarigami". You get the kind of terrifying Gareth Pugh kind of stuff you wouldn't be caught dead in unless you were prone to hanging out in dungeons.

    I think Ivana Pilja brings a kind of femininity to these rigid folded dresses. It's almost like Karl Lagerfeld helped her with the folds while spraying perfume all over the shop. These are still party dresses after all, ones that look like you could wear them, and fashion your hair into a minnie mouse shaped party head.

    They are more parisian than eastern bloc. They are more origami than scarigami. They look like little gifts, big bows for the necks and little tiny boxes for the skirts. Nothing over the top. The tailoring, hard to tell from the pictures, seems adept, and let her go. She's got bangs that could cut glass, and even though from afar, her dresses look razor sharp, they're actually very welcoming and rather soft, all in all.

    As for the previous comment that "I've seen paper-like architectural stuff done in a more dramatic and interesting way before, and I've seen Japanese-inspired styling done much classier and more seamlessly before." It's true - there are much more stunning and wildly imaginative architectural things done with origami-inspired fashion. And true, there are much more sophisticated examples of construction, but the girl's just starting out. Her paper cranes are fine. Let her fold 1,000 of them. They'll fly just fine.

  5. oh no! did i just turn this into one of those terrible internet free-for-alls?

  6. 1. Anisse, you constantly entertain me. Thank You for that.
    2. I would totally rock the maroon dress with the diamond shoulders.

    As a writer, beyond my own satisfaction with a piece of work, I want people to say about it, "I would read that." Saying "I would wear that" to a designer I think is similar.

    I think this work fits into space between totally envelope pushing and your average interpretation of the futuristic mini-dress trend -- which basically means it's wearable without being boring, which basically means she is going to be rich.