‘Inspired by engineering and industrialization, everything is linear and iron-cast. There is a theme of disconnection as everything is precisely disjointed proportionately,’
‘Shapes are inspired by post-modernist architecture, primarily the simplification of form and creation of ornament from the structure and theme. All balanced perfectly with shapes that eulogize the female form and its hourglass silhouette in a directional way,’ Vogue
| interview by The Greek Designers |
SS08 London Fashion Week photo credits: Panos Davios
Your collections have been defined by the architectural movement of Deconstructivism. As you have stated in the past, the forms are ‘disjointed and disproportional’. Analyse the design code of Romina Karamanea.
As a designer I hold an appreciation for balanced proportions, shade and shape. How things come together, engineering. My aesthetic, however, is more about cause and effect rather than comfortable definitions of what is ‘beautiful’. I think that the Romina Karamanea design code comes from the odd combination of technical discipline and creative freedom that I stay loyal to, because it just feels natural to me. Communicating a state of being, an emotion or an experience through creation is also paramount. Thus, all my collections have shapes, colour and detail that hint innocence, anger, solidarity, tranformation or freedom. Feelings that everyone can relate to at different stages of life. My job is to implement these inspirations in clothing and flatter the natural rythm of the female form at the same time.
If you could redefine/ disjoin the austere lines of the ancient Greek chiton, how would be its form?
The ancient Greek chiton is the foundation of draping. Its beauty is that it is one single square piece of cloth wrapped around the body embracing it gracefully while allowing enough ease for movement. It had strictly only one connection point along the shoulders. I would never want to disjoin it or change its original form but if I had to I would hold on to these very principles, I would stay true to its classical design process. I would have it draped in such way that one single connection point would hold the entire garment together and add a little surprise element to it – perhaps it being in an area that is the least expected to be.
AW09 London Fashion Week photo credits: catwalking.com
How have your studies and experiences from living in so many different countries helped you shape your aesthetics?
Having had the privilege to live and travel abroad has played an enormous role in how I carry myself, how I interact with people as well as in how I perceive and develop concepts and ideas. Exploring various cultures and traditions, meeting people with interesting characters and having lived ‘adventurous’ away from my comfort zone has indeed helped me develop some special memories including ones of shape, smell, sound and texture that are very evident though my design language.
Tell us about your presence and collaborations into the global fashion industry.
The brand was launched in London back in 2005 and has shown collections at fashion weeks in London, Paris, Milan, St. Petesbourg, Berlin and Athens that impressed style icons like Isabella Blow, Franca Sozanni, Donatella Versace, Colin Mc Dowell and Cameron Silver who commissioned her work and gave great praise for her unique and experimental approach.
SS10 London Fashion Week photo credits: catwalking.com
Recently, you founded the Fashion Seminars by Romina Karamanea in Athens, sharing your experience on fashion design and pattern cutting. What message would you transfer to the upcoming Greek designers?
Becoming good in any form of design requires you to be constantly educated about what has been accomplished by pioneers in the field in the past as well as maintain a curiosity about what can be achieved through new experimentations, how you can break the rules that you once have been taught, pushing the boundaries and letting your true identity to come forward! Also, I believe that a good designer should have an excellent understanding of garment construction as in my opinion it widens the designer’s creative horizons and it also comes in very handy for when the designer needs to communicate with manufacturers while production takes place.
Future plans? A new collection? Concept?
At the moment I am designing the spring summer 2017 collection which will be available to purchase online the upcoming year. The concept has arisen by my fascination with mystery and illusion so I am interested in developing a technique on the garments that has its roots around the theme of trace. We will see hints of traces on stitching and styling details that will provoke us to wonder whether something else has been there before it was removed and left its subtle mark – so it’s an illusion play of what we see and what might have been.
SS11 London Fashion Week photo credits: catwalking.com
Romina Karamanea holds a degree in Fashion Design & Product Development and a Postgraduate Diploma in Innovative Pattern Cutting at Central Saint Martins. She has worked with leading British designers and brands. Her work was included in Hywell Davies’ ‘100 New Designers’ book. After designing a creative set at Victoria & Albert museum, she was short-listed for the Innovation Award for her Fashion Sustainability approach to design. Romina is currently working towards the reawakening of her eponymous brand, developing a new collection for S/S’17.
Fashion Seminars by Romina Karamanea >> Open day: Thu 29 September 2016, Studio 101 at Romantso Athens