(jiří macek) The diploma work of Jakub Polanka at the AAAD in Prague presented both an interesting collection on the theme of harmony among contrasts and an interesting personal text on the meaning of fashion.
“This collection was created because, otherwise, I would miss it in my life like a piece of a puzzle in the smile of an almost completed picture of the Mona Lisa. And I also hope that at least one woman will find strength or pleasure in one of the pieces from my collection. If I am able to give one single woman a feeling of exceptionality, my sculpture, cuisine, and designs have some meaning,” writes Polanka in the final part of his diploma work.
Although Polanka does not spend much time in the Czech Republic, he has quickly become one of the most distinctive fashion designers from the youngest generation of Czech designers and a nominee for last year’s Discovery of the Year Award of Czech Grand Design. He has been living in France for some years where he studied at the Institute de mode and worked in the studio of Philippe Starck. Currently, he works for the Peclers trend studio whose work he describes in the following way: “Nobody in the Czech Republic knows that there are studios that study culture, philosophy, politics, fashion, and other subjects. They turn their studies and conclusions into catalogues including instructions and assumptions about what the trends for the next season will be like, how to wear them, and what materials, treatment, forms, and girls will be hot – all of this a couple of years in advance. According to their themes, I do research and look for photos that would illustrate a specific theme in the best way possible. Of course, I design everything in my own theme – from the silhouette to the last button. There are about forty women in this studio. The system of work is completely different from everything I have been used to in the past. Even though I understand the system of trend development and its predictability, I do not believe that I follow the trends blindly (in fact, I try to go against them on purpose).”
Individual models from the Search For Harmony Among Contrasts collection differ only slightly, as if one resulted from the other – from its cut, color, and gestures. Jakub Polanka compares it to sculpting when a certain shape gradually comes out of a certain type of material. However, this may be a question of aging when one thing causes another and then grows. It is fascinating to go through the collection and to recognize the tiny details and changes. Whether one is walking in the countryside or living in one place, one learns to recognize every single change in the boughs of the trees. Time comes out.
Polanka adds, “For many years, I have been looking for the approach that meets my ideas of the creative process best. I examine existing clothing collections and often analyze my older work. Thus, I have found out that not only is any work created by emotions too hysterical, but any work created by logic is stupid and illegible. Only work created with a ‘breath out’ is able to touch our souls because it is candid. Because I often create intuitively, I usually follow my own essence.”
“Ka’i čikudžo’ – the face of a flower, the character of bamboo. This is my imagination of a temperamentally strong woman (a reference to bamboo, which is very solid and durable wood) who does not renounce her femininity (a reference to the beauty of a flower). Even though these are two things that go very well together, many men have problems understanding them. However, Ka’i čikudžo’ does not depict an exception, but more or less describes most women. Such a woman is the core and basis of all, her charm and a dream of a woman is as important as material and structure. For this reason, fashion designers or brands should offer both a product and philosophy related to the specific brand or product. It is not a question of a piece of a textile stitched together, but the way it is presented and what opinion or illusion it brings – these are the milestones when a product turns into art, or poetry.”
“I believe that things that have been made without manipulation are, in their essence, often more timeless. Now, this is a complicated situation because fashion is made for customers, not for designers. However, in my case, my work is a sort of psychoanalysis for me. I do not mean to say that, in my clothes, one will be able to find what I had for breakfast or that I have problems in some relationship. When you look at my designs closely and try to analyze them, you will discover certain links to my search for balance between ‘armor and aura’ because I do not know how much to protect myself or to open myself up emotionally. Thus, both architectural and ephemeral clothes are created. Because I am a sort of communicative loner, my outfits (and the girls wearing them) give a slightly lonely impression despite being part of a group. I am striving to come to terms with myself. For this reason, I chose the theme of the collection to be the search for harmony.”
The whole text from the diploma work can be found atblog.olo-dressing.cz.
Foto: Vendula Fantová