Recently I was asked how I felt about fashion at this time. Has it become boring beyond belief? Has it descended to the underworld, waiting in line to be revived while levitating delicately between jamais vu and déjà vu? Perhaps fashion has become an inversion of reality, maintaining the illusion of constant re-birth when in fact, and in the words of Peggy Lee, that’s (probably) all there is. Fashion industry is often cruel, demanding unrealistic efforts to be made in order to secure growth and, essentially, continue to exist. However, fashion— among its many elements— epitomises intrigue, desire and passion. For that, it will always operate outside of time. Few designers are able to stand outside the status quo. Emina and Nermina, designer duo behind Kaftan studio, cannot be pigeon-holed, they are polymaths: designers, artists, bon vivants. Above all else, they are creative souls. The parameters that fashion heeds to have a totally different context for them. They carefully evolve from the last point in time in an endeavour to explore and flourish.
From a showroom they once established in Emina’s bedroom to an atelier in the heart of the old town of Sarajevo, over the course of the last decade Kaftan sisters evolved into the embodiment of magic, glamour, enchantment and uniqueness. With each new collection, two grand dames of Bosnian fashion are pulling on heartstrings of desire and they’re doing it so effortlessly and flawlessly. Over a platter of fresh fig mousse and a cup of green tea, Emina and I spoke volumes about the scent of fashion, the well of endless inspiration and pieces that imbue a classicism evocative both of Audrey Hepburn and Twiggy. “We had the courage to take great risks. The work ethic inherited from our parents, a strong will, an unbreakable faith and a stroke of luck lead us to where we are today”, stated Emina. “Perhaps we were guileless, but it was all worth it. For us, fashion represents so much more than mere occupation. It exposes you to possibilities, introduces one to a place where possibilities exalt the mind and soul; a place where fashion transforms into a quest for hidden subtlety and beauty.”
Kaftan studio is a luxury fashion label lauded internationally for their tailored masterpieces. They have conquered hearts of many fashion-aware women, including princess Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz, former editor-in-chief of Vogue Arabia and a thriving fashion force. The secret of their success lies in the authenticity, freedom and female empowerment that is being delicately served with a side of traditional warmth. The two contemporary couturiers are working hard around every pièce de résistance, investing an effort into iconic garments that possess the power to stay current and evolve with time. Nonetheless, timelessness is deeply inwrought to the DNA of Kaftan studio. Highly desirable pieces imbued with emotion surpass seasons and the fast pace of fashion. Their latest 2018 Resort Collection, inspired by the powerful photo “A Man Feeding Swans in the Snow” by Polish photographer Marcin Ryczek, illustrates the perfect rectangle of snow and the contrasts echoed in a neat section of river. Intricate black and white silhouettes separated by a straight line— as the one of the Krakow shore— serve as a reflection of opposing, yet complementary forces- the Yin Yang of fashion. Impressive creations, albeit distinctive from their signature floral and tender pieces, utterly mirror Kaftan’s unique vision and aesthetic. “We’re following our intuition, whether we’re designing frothy, embroidered capes or a custom wedding gown. The inspiration remains the same; we find it in elements of complete fantasy and hyperrealism, in strength of women, in individuality, in the lives which we live”, emphasised Emina. “Fashion is all around us. And, make no mistake, looking after our young children and a booming fashion label is a full time commitment. We do find it difficult at times, but never a mission impossible.”
Although Kaftan collections are consistently based around a particular idea or theme, they possess a seasonless element, allowing Kaftan garments to surpass time, transcend seasons and stay en vogue evermore. They maintain the same simplicity they began with but develop in texture and colors, or lack of thereof. Sheer pastel coloured blouses and skirts, elegant lace dresses encased in beads and embroidery detailing— all set against sharp tailoring— are taking the world by storm. Whether emotionally, sartorially, or artistically, Emina and Nermina refuse to stand still. The sister designer duo will present their new collection to the public at the following Ljubljana Fashion Week. Their ultimate goal is to produce timeless fashion, empower women and make sure that women not only look good but feel good, as well. With such message, as strong as their latest black-and-white transcendence, the fashion world will surely approve wholeheartedly.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Kaftan studio