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FASHION FINALIST 2016/MARNA DE WET

Modern Roman fashion speaks to me on a personal level...

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Modern Roman fashion speaks to me on a personal level. I interpret it as creative self-expression that is simultaneously functional and aesthetic, while informed by the zeitgeist, art, music, history and culture of Rome.

The Romans started making concrete more than 2000 years ago. Roman concrete, also called opus caementicium, was based on a hydraulic-setting cement with many material qualities similar to modern Portland cement.

The flow and movement of Roman garments contrasts with the stability and strength of building construction, representing, in my view, the dichotomy of feminine and masculine or the Jungian construct of the anima and animus. This construct, which proclaims a possible contrast between the inner and outer expression, results in interaction between what is perceived as masculine and feminine.

It is this interaction that inspired my concept. The primary challenge was to master the moulding of cement and use it in a way that portrays fashion rather than historical costume. Thus, re-inventing how the Romans used cement, and turning it into wearable fashion. I cast many small cement disks or buttons inspired by Roman armour and incorporated leather and chains.

My three looks include:

  1. A gladiator-inspired evening dress made of leather, cement disks and chiffon;
  2. Daytime separates consisting of a leather crop-top with cement beads and a cement and leather mini skirt;
  3. A cocktail dress using chain with cement buttons and disks;
  4. An upper-arm bangle, clutch and headpiece as accessories.

Submission

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