Avant–garde Sisters

Europe demonstrates nowadays a great interest in the Belarusian dress designers, so let us try to understand what is going on today in the Belarusian fashion industry
It is not so easy to reach the Olympus of high fashion as it is rather crowded. The Parfenovich sisters gracefully did it however, becoming the first Belarusian designers who gained recognition first in Russia, then in Ukraine and eventually in Europe. “We are already starting to feel bored of all these victories”, — laugh the sisters who have collected a considerable load of various sartorial contests’ prizes for a couple of years. But, apparently, the Fortune’s wheel started up by their triple confidence is still to run up with full power.

Their passion for dress—making is hereditary, inherited from their mother and grandmother. While someone grows up listening to his favourite fairy—tales, these three have grown looking through their favourite fashion magazines that have successfully replaced fairy—tales. And soon the sisters started “devising” by themselves... By the way, Olga, Elena and Marina have never speculated whether anyone will wear their fanciful inventions and never doubted that this is “worthwhile sewing”. Their well—known lack of anxiety to please (characteristic of every true artist, by the way) in combination with their professional knowledge of folk traditions (following her elder sisters Marina is going to graduate soon from the Faculty of Folk Culture of the Pedagogical University) naturally guaranteed the creative union of the Parfenovich their first victories — first at the domestic avant—garde fashion forum “Mammoth”, and later at the famous festival “Fashion Mill”, where they won a traineeship at the international fashion school “Esmod”. After the traineeship the sisters realized that the most successful strategy is to rely on their own taste without a backward glance to the authorities and with no fear that you may be “misunderstood”.

Each of them has mastered ancient crafts — embroidery, weaving, patchwork, wickerwork, straw work... To create a tapestry or implement their idea in clay is “as easy as pie” for them. “We have studied all this in depth, and I cannot even imagine what we cannot do “, shrugs her shoulders Olga. On the lines of the ancient past mistresses, the Parfenovich sisters prefer to shape the fabric either on the model herself or inspiredly, although they are well aware of the traditional methods used by cutters at the tailor’s. This is perfectly exemplified by one of their recent collections — “Metamorphoses”. The classically accurate seams and undercuts have been located by the sisters in such “wrong” places that the result of this avant—garde artistic process is not to be described in words. The first thought that occurred to me when I saw this unimaginable meccano of black denim and red—and—grey voile is that this is our world conveyed in the language of clothing... Curiously enough, even in Minsk there are customers of the “Metamorphoses”, some brave persons who dare to wear this.

— Nothing to be surprised at, — parry the sisters. — There are more and more people every year who want to dress individually. Because now they have a choice, which contributes a great deal to the development of taste.

Remember the early 1990s, when everyone wore deerskin trousers, pyjamas and Polish puckered skirts? This was because there was no choice. Wait a couple of years and you will see how Minsk residents will change.

Apparently, the success recipe of the modern Belarusian dress—makers is not a very sophisticated one. Academic education and advertence in respect to their roots have always been up to the mark at Belarusian higher educational institutions. Besides, the daring nature of the young generation and understanding that there is a demand for what you do… Though I keep wondering: in what way shall we be different in several years due to them?

Irina Zavadskaya
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