Kristyna Toms’s graduate collection ‘Eastern Bloc’ was inspired by 1970s Czechoslovakia and the Communist regime during which her parents grew up. Fashion designers in Czechoslovakia often over-exaggerated the trends from outside of the Eastern Bloc but was done in a characteristic way which I am using as an inspiration for my final year collection. There is a recurring colour palette of beige, green, brown, blue and red which she references across her project.
The basis for silhouette comes from a men’s tailored jacket which has been adjusted to the female body: taken in in the waist, forming a contrasting, hourglass silhouette. Referencing the approach to fashion design from authentic 1970’s Czechoslovak magazines, such as through modularity of 3 or so layered garments which cannot work without each other, or giving garments functional elements which have no function. Some more references include Safari jacket, ‘A-line skirt’ and tapered trousers, and techniques such as elasticated smocking and hand-embroidery portraying Czechoslovak folk porcelain motifs.
The key garments in her collection were jackets which also took the longest to make requiring a a traditional tailoring technique to support the hourglass shape - through hand stitching hair canvas in some of the pieces. A strength of the collection is certainly in the technical aspect - the pattern cutting as well as manufacture which required an extensive amount of hand stitching and careful handling. An emphasis is on sturdiness and high quality of manufacture of garments, as well as choosing high-quallity, authentic textiles which were either deadstock or carefully sourced in Czech Republic.
Above, Kristyna designed a 6-outfit collection for her graduate project, nevertheless, due to coronavirus pandemic she only had a chance to manufacture three looks from her line up. She manufactured looks 1, 2 and 4 using her own skills while in lockdown at home in Czech Republic - the environment where she took initial inspiration for her collection. The styling of all looks is minimal, having chosen a muse who is naturally beautiful and shows Kristyna’s inspiration in men’s wardrobe.