The Genteel
February 28, 2021

Karina Abramova

When Daniele Tamagni, a young Italian photographer, went on an assignment to Congo in 2006, he encountered a surreal sight that he did not expect to see. Against the backdrop of a Brazzaville shantytown, in a country ravaged by civil wars, bombings and suffering, he saw groups of spectacularly dressed men (and few women) in the streets.

By Karina Abramova

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Karina Abramova

Toronto Canada

Karin reports from Toronto but travels extensively throughout the year. She was born in Russia, grew up in Czech Republic and Vancouver, and has her sights set on the rest of the world; having dabbled in finance, acting, photography, she is now interested in BRIC fashion, art, design, literature, and exploring cities' lesser known sides. 

Besides introducing the word "paparazzi" to the English dictionary, Italian director Federico Fellini is best remembered for his opulent films that were often a fantastical combination of dreams, fantasy and desire. Set design and costuming played a large part in creating his extravagant images. Fellini was not the only director who paid serious attention to clothing in film but his work is the most illustrious example of fashion playing the role of a functional intermediary of character and narrative in cinema. 

Products made in the U.S.S.R. often terrorized the lives of millions of Soviets due to their indestructibility, poor usability and lack of key product features. But at the same time, Soviet products boasted a certain "Russianness", with space-age aesthetics, Slavic motifs and rugged interpretations of Western goods. Let us open up the cabinet of wonders that contains the overlooked Soviet designs of the 60's and the 70's.

Spring is around the corner, and with it, the imminent arrival of rainy days. April showers bring May flowers, but the downpours are certainly more bearable if one is wrapped in comfortable and stylish rainwear. Karina Abramova discovers innovative and intelligently designed rain gear that has sprung like flowers after the rain.

A new wave of African designers is emerging. They're cranking up the colour, thinking ethics and environmental soundness, and turning to traditional techniques, textiles and patterns that many in the West have never experienced before. 

Ever since Karl Lagerfeld introduced a clothing collection for H&M in November 2004, the world has seen an onslaught of "masstige" products (prestige for the masses). Designers and retailers may be cashing in, but have we come to a point where collaborations are now negatively affecting brand value? Might there be an end for the masstige?

Miami has served many roles over the years: the glamorous rendition of the city's criminal underbelly in Miami Vice, the bloody arena of the cocaine wars, the party-hard capitol of America. But within the past decade, a new role emerged: that of a dynamic international art hub. Over the past decade, Miami's culture has been developing exponentially thanks to the proactive efforts of prominent Miamians, the city's favourable geographic location, the arrival of the weightiest art fair in the world, the tropical weather and the unmistakable duo of chic and cheesy. 

Whilst casually perusing the spring/summer 2012 temptations presented at New York Fashion Week, one collection stood out the most. I loved Rodarte's S/S 2012 collection at first sight: a dreamer's playground, a warm summer night and uncompromising beauty - with the work of a famous painter written all over it. When a designer draws his or her influence from a fine artist, there is often little discussion of the artist's work. Which prompted me to revisit a number of significant art-inspired fashion collections and tell the story of the artists behind them.

There's a time for high fashion, and then there's a time for silly costumes - preferably alongside Bordeaux sunshine, grand cru wines and mountains of oysters, cheeses and foie gras ... while marathon running, strutting or walking. This is not a feverish fantasy, but a fun reality that takes place every September in Pauillac, in the Bordeaux region of France. This is the Marathon du Médoc.

Karina Abramova's in-depth and comprehensive account of Design Miami illustrates why the event, now in its seventh year, has been heralded as one of the most prominent forums for international design.

With a record 50,000 attendees, and 2,000 artists from 265 galleries worldwide, Art Basel, and various art shows surrounding the Miami perimeter, have lifted the city's cultural scene to new heights. The Genteel's Karina Abramova explores Miami's art and design marvels, and leaves no exhibit unturned.

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