A highlight was the fashion show created by Tanya Barnes-Matt. “Rhapsody of Fashion” on the runway featured Galina Couture, The Clotherie, Lourdes Chavez Couture, Fashion by Robert Black and Jewels by Alan Anderson.
Designer Galina Mihaleva, founder of Scottsdale-based Galina Couture, presented an exclusive collection of 18 designs. The collection’s warm color palette ranged from shades of red, ochre and yellow to black and white. It included three-dimensional textile capes to “provoke the body silhouette,” Mihaleva says.
“The overall inspiration sparks mainly from my collaborative approach with different fields in the area of technology, biology, art and science,” Mihaleva says. “In my world, inspiration is a matter of curiosity and the ability to reflect on what is happening now.”
This collection focuses primarily on transcending the message of how the modern technological revolution is transforming the design process. The role of the designers and the wearers of new fabric technologies—particularly as smart, semi-smart and sustainable textiles and design—relates to social behavior and personal identity.
This collection reflects on today’s demand for environmentally friendly and ethical clothing. The designer mostly used sustainable fibers. In addition to the sequins and stretch silk knits, the main textile used is polyester made from plastic bottles. The polyester is heat-molded and manipulated using traditional shibori technique, known as the shape-resist technique. Mihaleva’s concept is to give a meaningful value to clothes and the ability to last longer.
The interaction between the wearer and the clothing is particularly elevated in the garments from the futuristic red section. Inspired by biological data, seamlessly embodied with sensorial components to monitor, the clothes display and communicate psychological parameters such as breathing, heart rate and other vital signs.
“The relationship between the body and technology is closer than ever, and every day, wearing it more tightly into the fabric of the physical world, creating a vision of cultural transformation. In the center of all is still the beauty of the female body, indeed, in juxtaposition of elements and shapes that will mark the shifting paradigms of self. It’s human nature to seek knowledge and new experiences. Fashion is always about experience each time we interact with it,” Mihaleva says.
Mihaleva is currently an associate professor at the School of Art, Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University, where she teaches wearable technology, fashion and design. Her work and research deal primarily with the dialogue between body and dress, driven by the idea of having both a physical and a psychological relationship with a garment as a responsive clothing—wearable technology.
Prior to joining NTU, Mihaleva taught costume and fashion design at Arizona State University for more than 15 years. She also collaborated with renowned choreographers in the United States and Europe.
Mihaleva’s art and design works have been shown in festivals, galleries and museums across United States, Asia, Central and South America, and Europe. In 2007 she was nominated for the best design award at the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum. She received the Rumi award in the United States and the first place at the Tiffany’s Paris fashion week in 2016.
PHOTOS BY ELENA THORNTON