Work of Art

For the fashion-minded, it’s happening in London at the Scoop International Fashion Show, a boutique women’s wear tradeshow founded by fashion expert Karen Radley. More than 400 emerging and established directional designers presented their Spring/Summer 2014 collections in the unique venues of Saatchi Gallery and Phillip’s Gallery in the tony districts of Chelsea and Westminster in London. Cliché Magazine together with Terry Check, fashion writer and photographer, selected three outstanding designers who are setting the fashion trends of tomorrow. With their creative DNA and tenacity, Xenia Design’s Ksenija Vrbanic, Sara Roka, and Lucy Kepp each have a unique story.

SaraRokaSara Roka
As a little girl, Sara watched her mother sew clothes and was soon making clothes for Barbie dolls and Cabbage Patch Kids. At 12 years old she realized that a “fashion designer” was actually a job description and commented that “since then there was nothing else I wanted to do so badly.” Graduating from FIT in Milan and designing for Michael Kors and Valentino for many years, Sara Roka pursued her dream of creating a fashion collection inspired by the men’s shirt. Her brother, a swimmer with tall slender features and long arms, could never find an “off-the rack” shirt that fitted properly. She decided to make his shirts, which eventually evolved into a shirt dress with a poplin belt. “I have always loved the shirt, as it has many faces. It can be dressed down or dressed up, worn with anything, worn everywhere; beach, dinner, dancing, formal, work, or relax,” Sara explains. “When faced with having to make a quick decision for what to wear, the shirt is the easiest way to be sophisticated and casual at the same time. The shirt is great for every occasion, and the perfect can- vas for accessories and one woman’s personality to show through.” Bringing masculine fabrics and construction into a women’s collection is her trademark.

Introducing her first collection in 2010 in the midst of a financial crisis in the United States and Europe, the fashion industry struggled especially for Ms. Roka known for her designs instead for business acumen. Perseverance and passion prevailed. With Italy’s economy continuing to falter, national political unrest and austerity measures throughout the country, she was determined to design a “good mood” in the Spring/ Summer collection for 2014. Normally using muted colors like white, black and beige, she created her best collection to date with bright colors and renewed freshness. All fabrics are manufactured in Italy except for small runs of printed silk from England. In order to maintain superb workmanship and quality control, all garment production is 100% made in Italy.

LucyKeppLucy Kepp
How best to learn haute couture fashion? Spend seven years designing with the best in Paris, Ate- lier Caraco Canezou. Working with clients such as Chanel, Givenchy, and Yves Saint-Laurent, Ms. Kepp honed her skills of printing, dyeing, cutting, stitching, and designing; and started the Lucy Kepp label in 2011. South of Paris in Sancerre amidst the beauty of vineyards, Lucy focuses on her signature, Art in Fashion. Painting with colored fabrics and sculpting every garment with ribbons, she creates original pieces, no two exactly alike, pleasing clientele looking to express their individuality with truly original women’s wear. “Silk painting and ribbon pleating, exclusively made by hand, are free and spontaneous sewing techniques created be me,” Lucy states with pride. “It’s like holding on by magic.”

Yes, it is magical when viewing the latest collection, Unframed, which has no frame or point of previous reference. “Dresses as paintings daubed with silk mus- lin brushstrokes, rippling delica- tely, floating freely, and caresses suspended in movement. Dresses as sculptures, ribbons becoming form, pleated folds interlacing instinct and desire with structure and design. Contours that seduce with a mischievous and playful cut. French charm, innovative design. Each garment is signed with unique gestures from the designer’s hand.”
A recent project, Art, Fashion and Wine, was a collaboration with renowned painter, Guy le Corroller, and Lucy Kepp. “He undresses women in his paintings, she dresses them with brush strokes of fabric. The two artists have created a common work: a dress cut and draped in an original canvas painted by Guy Le Corroller”. The dress, worn by Berry Tagadda, was featured at the winery, domaine Thomas et fils. All participants are residents of Sancerre, love art and enjoy a glass of wine on occasion.

KsenijaVrbanicKsenija Vrbanic
From the countryside of Cakovec in northern Croatia, Ksenija Vrbanic created her label, XD Xenia Design, challenging the classic tailored look of the time by pioneering fashion design with an artful dimension. Fashion with a personality and breaking away from tradition are hallmarks of her avant-garde design, always experimenting with cut and construction. Currently regarded as the best-selling Croatian designer, Ksenija has achieved success on the international scene exhibiting in 80 cities around the world. In describing her design concept for Spring/Summer 2014, she commented that “each new collection is a new start. Inspiration always comes unexpected, mostly while exploring the construction. The form of the clothing piece itself is an unfailing source of inspiration in creating a new construction. Folding cut pieces in unusual combinations is the greatest challenge for me. The end is always unexpected. Of course I rely on tendencies in trends, experienced adventures and suggestions of XD clients.” The designs are unique with unconventional construction moving shapes into a new dimension… an “XD dimension.

Who buys this edgy, avant-garde apparel? Apparently, self-confident women who have their style, knowing how to combine XD with other known brands and achieving their stylized look. From artists to business women the XD clientele embraces their individuality expressing them- selves instead of conforming to the today’s trends. Whether at a cock- tail party or in the theater lobby, the most notable fashion is probably an XD Xenia design. For the past 13 years their international presence has extended to Europe, Middle East and now the United States, with fashionable boutiques in major cities. On- line sales are limited to previous collections with current collections offered exclusively in their buyer boutiques.
What’s next for Ksenija Vrbanic? Fashion evolution or maybe revolution is her lifestyle now and forever. “The game never stops, it starts from the beginning … from season to sea- son,” says Ksenija with a smile. The next stop will be fashion week in London or New York.
For more exclusive photographs, be sure to purchase our Aug/Sept 2013 issue!
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