Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Fashion Embroidery

Is it my imagination, or is there a resurgence in embroidery as a ornament on women's clothing?  From ancient times, traditional Ukrainian embroidered ornaments вишиванки on clothing have also performed the function of magical talisman - protection for the wearer.  It is a symbolic vocabulary - with a power of its own.

Ukrainian embroidery has never been something ordinary, especially because each piece carries the energy of the person who worked and embroidered!  But here we have fashion designers and entire fashion houses pursuing the idea of feminine ornamentation using Ukrainian embroidery!

I was out somewhere, thankfully with my camera, and caught these three stunning pieces of evidence in Canada's FASHION magazine dated Summer 2012, and if I remember correctly, STYLE too. You can see that first photo is a modern version of the Hutsul Keptar - the architecturally structured vest that wears everywhere, and in every season.  Just look how softly and intricately it is embroidered, and tassled, with such lovely wearable colors, too.

And this second photo has the most lovely embroidered sleeve peeking out of the women's coat sleeve.  A stylized embroidery that ever so gently peeks out of a structured outfit instantly conveys power and pretty.

And the neck piece that has versatility to go over just about any piece of clothing, the gerdan.  Lacy, and bead worked, this piece should be in every girls' collection - typically Ukrainian.

And if you see the golden hued crown of intricately braided hair коса, this style has been imitated and celebrated everywhere from the pages of Elle magazine to British Pop-star Kylie Minogue.

Sadly, not all of us can be as beautifully and outrageously dressed in Ukrainian embroideries as Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko but you have to admit - she does have a point there. Representating the nation to the international community, in a position of power, she has shown solidarity and respect for women.  This is a powerful thing, a message about "berehenia" - the "keeper of the hearth".  Embroideries like hers are a statement, about women, their craft, their talent, and the garment design.  And she champions women everywhere by wearing such wonderful handiwork!! And when embroideries have by design become "written amulets" of power and influence, the wearer communicates a lot to the world simply by wearing such a beautiful garment.

Women everywhere are rediscovering the beauty of truly richly designed and thoughtfully ornamented fashion.  And Ukrainians have certainly influenced many.  Actually, whether for fashion, patriotism, or as national identifiers, Ukrainian embroidered garments imply that a person cherishes his ancestry.  More power to them!

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