Today the art of fashion design is developing fast in our country, with a whole galaxy of designers working prolifically. Each of them has his or her own unique perspective on contemporary art, and unique approach to national traditions, as reflected in their apparel collections. Designers Saodat Muradhojaeva, member of the “Hunarmand” Association, and Denis Tomilin, member of the “Osiyo Ramzi” apparel designers association of Uzbekistan, and winner of the Academy of Arts’ 2014 Gold Medal are known to many. They graduated from the class taught by the Honoured Artist of Uzbekistan Y. L. Frumgartz.
Apparel designed by Saodat Muradhojaeva, original in workmanship and style, is widely known in the country. Her collections predominantly feature traditional textiles of which she makes costumes of many world’s nations. One good example is her collection called “On the Morava River Shore” (2007). Well-known are her costumes of the southern parts of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The designer also recreated festive and nuptial attire and costumes of many ethnic groups living in Uzbekistan.
In 2013 Muradhojaeva demonstrated her “Tiklanish” project in the Young People’s Art Centre in Tashkent. The designer’s collection presented historical costume of ancient Sogdiana, as well as Boisun (Surkhandarya Province) Jeinov (Kashkadarya Province), Nurata (Navoi Province), Karakalpakstan and Khorezm, and of the cities Tashkent, Kokand, Samarqand and Bukhara, along with traditional bride and groom costumes from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. The most ancient and unique in her collection is a costume worn by the residents of Sogdiana in the VIII-X centuries; the sketch was drawn from frescos covering the walls of the Bezekliq temple.
Quite interesting in the “Tiklanish” project collection are traditional costumes of the Afghan, Iranian and Balkh peoples now living in Kashkadarya Province. Groom’s attire consists of a long silk shirt with a sub-horizontal collar, unlined yaktak robe, and a long festive vazra sash. The red sash for the wedding ceremony was embroidered by the bride. The day on which the costume was ready was to be the day of the wedding, when the groom wore a red gardi turban. On the wedding day, an ancient women’s ghizza headdress was replaced by the white arus-kanna adormed with embroidery and coins. The costume was complete with details such as sinsila and hadabak (headband of green velvet), guishi (a neck piece of black cloth), and chakka-duo, triangular charm worn on a temple.
To make dresses for her “Spring Session” collection Muradhojaeva used adras, silk and bekasam, finding appropriate structure for these brightly coloured textiles. Her other fashion collection, “The Impressionists”, can be compared to the symbolic representation of impressionist paintings on fabric. The designer structurally expressed in the garments her vision of the famous masterpieces by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Gauguin, Vincent Van Gogh, Edgar Degas, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Toulouse Lautrec… She fixed the plisse silk with a thickening cloth, filling in the background with abstract shapes of machine- and hand-made embroidery. The colour palette and size of the designs were identical to the original painting she referred to.
Muradhojaeva turns not only to the art of the West, but also to the Oriental miniature masterpieces. Her “Shahnameh” collection is designed for men. The items are made of Italian leather and ornamented with hand-embroidered miniatures performed in the same style as those in ancient manuscripts: that is, framed with embroidered edging.
The “Shepherd’s Lady-Friends” collection was inspired by the extraordinarily textured horns of a mountain goat Muradhojaeva sighted at a friend’s place; while the prototype for the herdsman image was a photograph of a young shepherd displayed at a photo exhibition; a young man caringly holding a newborn lamb is a sight that goes to the hearts of the rural girls.
The “Jade Butterfly” (Nefritli kapalak) collection features costumes of adras, silk and brocade in soft-green shades similar to those of a jade stone. The cut matches the style of the Chinese national dress. All the garments are filled with embroidered butterflies shown in different aspects. Headdress and footwear on a ten centimetre wooden sole the designer made of traditional textiles. The art of fashion designer Saodat Muradhojaeva has many facets; her apparel of locally produced fabrics is original and complemented with interesting accessories.
For almost 10 years now designer Denis Tomilin has created original fashion items, showing them at home and abroad. In 1993-1995 Tomilin took a two-year dress-making course offered at the Textile Industry Culture Centre. In 1997 he entered the Tashkent Institute of Textile and Light Industry, graduating in 2004 with a Master’s degree in Art Design and Textile, Apparel and Footwear Design. His Master’s thesis, “Physiological and Hygienic Apparel Design for Pregnant Women”, supported his first collection that highlighted beneficial hygienic properties of denim in a hot climate. Demonstrated in the Chinese city of Shanghai, the collection was highly appreciated by experts from many countries.
In 2007 Tomilin participated in the Tashkent Fashion Week presenting a collection called “Bliss”. It mostly featured jersey items ornamented with locally-made textiles. The cut allowed a pregnant woman to wear his transformer dress from the first weeks of pregnancy till the birth of a child. In 2006, together with designer Elmira Ibragimova he created a collection called “The Radiant Way” that was exhibited at the national festival, “The Uzbek Costume: Traditions and Modern Day”.
When creating his “Autumnal Rainbow”, “Oriental Jewellery”, “Mashrab”, “Coloured Yarn”, “Festive”, and “The Gold of Bukhara” costumes Tomilin drew on the rarities of applied arts and crafts, on customs and traditions, and on the textile making technology. The master laminated khan-atlas silk with a polymer film, thus introducing an innovation into the world of fashion design. Apparel made of this fabric can be worn on a cloudy or rainy day. The “Autumnal Shine” collection is also made in this technique. The cut parts of men’s and women’s jackets are covered with hot film that is stitched to the cloth to prevent it from coming off. Jackets and coats for everyday wear are complemented with the same type of bags, dark skirts and trousers. Traditional ichigi (makhsi) boots are adorned with khan-atlas, its natural pattern cleverly employed. Another innovation Tomilin introduced to the world of fashion is a heat-treated silk: thus processed, the material is easier to launder and clean.
With locally produced textiles, Tomilin uses references to Oriental architecture. In the “Denim” collection the cloth is ornamented with images of architectural monuments of Bukhara and Samarqand in gold and silver placed in the centre of a symbolic round seal. Collar, hem and front piece of the modern velvet garments are ornamented with embroidery. The collection consists of three crepe-de-chine costumes in a style similar to the classical Uzbek women’s dress. Traditional knee-high dress with a yoke and a gathering, a collar, and elbow-length sleeves is complete with a long wide skirt.
Popular motion picture “Pirates of the Caribbean” inspired Tomilin’s collection “Mashrab” (2009). Creative Oriental version of the lead character’s image comes across with the help of calico and adras silk, which, depending on the wearer’s build, take the corresponding shape. Besides, the designer used related thematic ornamental elements: he twined ribbons of the fabric into fishnets. Turban-like headdress comes on top. Tomilin also works for young children. His collections are called “The Orange Sun”, “Love You”, “Hipsters”, “Color Line”… The designer takes individual approach to each child, creating a costume to match his or her personality, selecting the right colour, cut, and even small details.
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