Photo Miloš Nadaždin
According to many posts on various blogs and specialized websites, it looks like you have accomplished a big success. What are your impressions after recent stay at London Fashion week?
London looks completely different during the Fashion week. Everything is marked by this event. Cultural, financial and every other impact of the fashion on this town are obvious. Although there are many big and important fashion events, everyone wants to see what’s new and absolutely unknown to the London audience. I represented Serbia with my colleagues Ivana Pilja and George Styler on the show which was a part of the program International Fashion Showcase 2013 that is a part of London Fashion Week and the attention it attracted is incredible. Visitors were positively surprised by the creativity and quality of our work. Because of great interest of magazines, photographers and stylists my collection is still in London, so the final result is yet expected.
Moderate creations dominated on catwalks in the last years. You offered something completely different, variety of colors, details and geometry. Your work was accepted very well, in spite of your dissimilarity. You had to be very brave to remain true to yourself?
I think the only right way for a designer or artist is to hear his inner voice and to follow his unique vision and imagination. Result always arrives with a rational analysis of one idea, constant increasing of technical knowledge, training and hard work. It is not courage, it is the only way. Although it is underestimated a lot nowadays, the original is always recognizable.
What is the kitsch’s role in your communication with audience? At the first glance at your collection, it looks like you are playing with kitschy details. By that I primarily think of deer heads on the shoe tops.
Kitsch in all its forms has always interested me so it’s conscious and deliberate introducing in my fashion expression was inevitable. To simplify, for me the kitsch is cheerful and funny and because of that applicable to fashion as to other parts of my life. But, I am visually educated person (I have graduated painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade) and that’s why I can handle these elements as well as all the other art details applied in my fashion expression. I think this approach can, but doesn’t have to affect clothes functionality. My fashion show was my view of the collection, but when decomposed to garments, it is more wearable than it can seem at the first glance…
What kind of fairy tales did you like when you were a little girl?
I grew up in the environment which nurtured and understood my imagination. Besides usual fairy tales, and those made up for me, my parents and relatives took me to exhibitions and museums, cinema, concerts, they read to me and bought books for me… I loved Greek myths and legends, and since we were going to Greece every summer, for me the existence of Olympus, exhibits dedicated to Greek gods and archaeological excavations were strong proofs that those myths were nothing but the truth.
What is the biggest challenge in clothes creating?
Dealing with fashion is challenge in Serbia. Because of general lack of materials, machines and raw material, I’ve realized the best solution is to adjust my idea to the opportunities. There is no use of thinking about materials I can’t even purchase, so I collect what is available and go in realization. Often I wonder what my results would be like if I had New York Garment district in my neighborhood with all the materials, haberdashery and technology it offers. In my case, the best results always came when I worked on my technical knowledge, primarily construction. And of course, it is very important to have up to 80% developed and clear idea so I could materialize it as accurate and good as possible. The rest of 20% is left to happen by itself and this undefined percent usually opens space for something next and new.
Do you like Lady Gaga’s aesthetics?
I like some of her combinations very much, for example green-pink long dress signed by Roksanda Ilincic with weird pink hat, while some others are completely nonsense. Anyway, the point is attention attraction and her aesthetics always serves that purpose.
When did you decide to paint your creations with candy colors? Is that your mark, author signature, or attitude to your target group?
I didn’t decide it, it is just a phase. Maybe audience doesn’t remember, but I had completely white and then completely black collection few seasons ago. The most important thing about my creations is harmony of forms, colors, designs and details. It sounds like too many elements, but I cannot leave out any of them. Sometimes I use some of them proportionally more than others, but their mutual play is the most important. The original idea is above everything else.
You are very imaginative, your creations are like a fairytale… And how the inner Ana Ljubinkovic’s world looks like?
I like my work to speak for me.
I saw mint colored pearl dress in the window of your shop. How much handwork does it take to make such dress? Do you think about spent time or is it just final result that counts?
The time is not important when I have an idea worth of creating. I just work on it until I accomplish my goal. However, there is always show date, and the best ideas arrive when the brain is 100% in the collection. That is how at the end there are always sketches leftovers which lead to a new collection.
Your heart shaped women blazers look very interesting. You change body geometry and you get surreal women picture which reminds me to a lollypop a little. Does your art strategy imply hiding of female sensuality in order to create unexpected and exciting sculpture?
As I explained before, each collection has more or less wearable pieces. However, it is interesting to say that specific jacket has big heart shaped gape at the back, so it can reveal all female beauty in the nicest and unexpected way. I always take care to establish balance.
Music is important part of your life. Which one is making you happy at the moment?
For years I’ve been listening to everything Scottish band Cocteau Twins ever made. I have made many and I will make more collections with this really big, high-quality and interesting opus. Elizabeth Fraser’s voice is something I truly enjoy, it is extraordinary and unrepeatable. There are also Kate Blush, David Bowie, The Cure, The Knife, Lana Del Rey, Morissey…
Can we experience your fashion shows as a presentation of conceptual art?
No. Although my fashion has it roots in painting, the art is sublime category. On the other hand, this term is used too easily today, so anything can be called that way. We have to be very careful.
My impression is that you take special care for animals, particularly dogs. How would you describe your love towards pets?
I love all the animals. Especially dogs, because I know them well. I am sure every man would be happier if he had dog or some other animal by his side. We would treat abandoned animals otherwise if we were aware of this fact.
Prints in your creations draw special attention, do you make them on your own?
I have made them for the last collection, but I’d say that was a test. Although I think my next collection will not have any prints, I have huge plans on that field.
How does Ana Ljubinkovic have fun? Do the artists have hobby or free time?
I am lucky to being amused by my work, because it often takes all my free time as well. My hobby could be visiting flea markets, searching for old products which don’t necessarily have any value but aesthetic. That is where I find ceramic animal figures which are pure personification of kitsch for some people.
How would you describe your personal concept (EGO)?
To make an original. To find a new solution that hasn’t occurred to anyone else. It is tough assignment, but also exciting and entertaining. To work on your own improvement constantly.
How do you rate chances of Serbian fashion internationally after your last experience in London?
At the first point, fashion design should be treated as a part of cultural scene of our country. In its most high-quality form, of course, because good fashion design is a fine art well applied on useful things. This way, they contribute better life, aesthetic education. I suggest we split onto „creators“ and fashion designers, which can be a joke, but also something to think about. Then, it would be nice if the country joined big projects, not just fashion-related, but also the other art and design branches. Unfortunately, we know that our museums haven’t worked for a long time. So, this plan/wish is unrealizable. In real, Serbian fashion designers need financial support to carry out their shows in the country, and especially abroad where everything is spinning around PR agencies which have direct impact on exposure of designer they represent for money. If designer owns quality besides, that is the fastest way. We have internet, it is easy to reach famous stylists and photographers who will be glad to use our (high-quality) clothes to photograph even very popular world stars in it, but without financial support, we will not achieve much.