There’s a cool quote about human nature that returns to my mental forefront a lot lately. Poet and activist Andrea Gibson made the observation, “We have to create. It is the only thing louder than destruction.”
For nearly three months we’ve witnessed the destruction of a fertile country as media reports of war in Ukraine have surfaced. We’ve seen the unspeakable horrors on the news: maternity wards bombed, children dying, all in Vladimir Putin’s deranged attempt for power and control.
For me, Andrea Gibson’s words are a resounding reminder of the beauty that springs from the small yet mighty Ukraine, a free and democratic country once brimming with gorgeous art and lively, colorful architecture. The fight that Ukraine is fighting is, in itself, both inspiring and beautiful. And with that, I’d like to share with you the work of some of my Ukrainian friends. Let’s take a respite from the chaos of current affairs, find a quiet spot….and simply….enjoy the beauty.
I will be introducing you to five of my very unique, very talented friends in fashion and the arts, and each one of them calls Kyiv, Ukraine, their home. Today I’d like you to meet artist Asya Kozina, who elevates plain white paper into utter magnificence.
Asya has created a collection of elaborate ‘powdered’ wigs from a distant time and place. “Historical wigs always fascinated me, especially the Baroque era,” said Asya. “This is art for art’s sake. Aesthetics for the sake of aesthetics, no practical sense…But they’re beautiful,” she mused.
Asya explained that paper helps to highlight shapes and forms in a unique way. Paper is “extremely versatile. I see great potential in it. It’s a way to translate ideas and largely, for me, it is also a metaphor of life and art,” she stated.
As dreamy and delicate as a paper snowflake, the massive ship headdress, shown below, boasts gossamer-thin and deftly-feathered cuts of precision. The detail is awe-inspiring.
In addition to the fanciful wigs and headdresses, Asya also fashions ensembles of traditional Mongolian wedding attire, crafted entirely out of the same unassuming material. Her designs are based on research from historical illustrations and old sepia wedding photographs. Each costume takes literally months to painstakingly hand cut and assemble.
Traditional Mongolian wedding gowns are known for their vivid, saturated colors and heavy opulent textiles. But Asya, however, feels color would actually detract from the elaborate shapes and forms found in the ceremonial garb. White paper, she insists, is infinitely more interesting. The absence of color allows her to capture the exquisite decorative elements of a nation’s wedding attire, which she believes is the most accurate representation of a country.
Stay tuned for more features on contemporary Ukrainian artists, coming up…as we honor the determination and courage of the people of Ukraine. 🇺🇦
Ciao for now, from your favorite fashionista!