Fashion, theater, divas and rockers, film… Inspired in many ways, they are not creating models for fashion shows, they express attitude through concept, and this is how the others describe it:
„intelligence with character“
„alternative enough to attract fashion-informed and soft enough and reduced in detail…“
Two of them have always created as the same being. On the twentieth anniversary of the brand which they sign with initials, only a few hours before the show, they aswered the questions quite calm and the same time – communicated with support personnel who tested sound and light, chose shades of blue make-up, checked frame height to the runway front… In an exclusive interview for „ego“ they explain how they create in cooperation.
SP: We have always known what we wanted!
JP: From an early age.
SP: Our parents know it very well… We knew we’ll do everything together. And our parents disagreed or agreed with many things themselves, but they have always supported us, no matter what. Two of us would always push out what we wanted.
SP: We brought safety from the family! We have never had any fears of a project, of anything that we had to do. Our parents instilled us safety. We were taught you should always stand behind what you think, whether it is „correct“ or „incorrect“ if you think so, and you are honest and frank in all that, you shouldn’t be afraid!
SP: The brand „JSP“ was created 20 years ago with its first fashion show, it was a collection that included clothing, of course, but the emphasis was on caps and hats.
JP: Because it’s a fashion accessory, styling, as important as the garment to us.
SP: In the last ten years we own a shop called „Identity“ with Danijela Biskup. There you can find the brand JSP and brand LILU (shoes).
SP: When we create, we do not have in mind a specific image of a woman that is intended for. We are trying to make our items wearable, but also always with identity.
SP: The following is very interesting – when making a collection, you make a complete styling, you define how the creation is worn, and then you meet it on the street: the two of us are often pleasantly surprised how women combine it, what kind of life our ideas have on the city stage…
SP: What interests us is not related to cut or shape or color individually. It is a concept we want to show…
JP: The first image is also the final image in the show…
SP: For example, there were films: Bella Lugosi movies, movie Mad Max, Red Head… the shows have names after that – each collection is a topic based idea. Other is built from it: design, choice of colors, materials, textures … the entire event is based on that.
JP: Layer by layer is added to the final image.
SP: We are self-taught, we model ourselves, we make the design, and we have help very rarely. We are in the world of tailoring and sewing from the childhood since our grandmother was a professional tailor who helped us to realize our first collection.
JP: Our „nana“ introduced us to the basics of sewing, and after, in college, I had the subject we met two schools through, two main principles: French – everything is done on a model or mannequin, and German – mostly everything is sketched on the paper… Interesting part is that, when making the prototype for the collection, Svetlana generally applies German, while I use French principle.
SP: When Sanja Lukjancenko lived in Serbia, she was our „fit model“.
SP: This layering goes to one, then to the other side… Meanwhile, the picture develops, but the idea remains the same, unchanged.
SP: Urska appeared only once, we usually made the jewelry ourselves because the jewelry is absolutely an integral part, it hasn’t the function of something what is „put on“, jewelry pervades model sometimes… We cooperated with her last time, it all depends on whether „we run at the author“… For a collection „Mechanic“ jewelry was done by sculptor Marko Ladjusic, and for a collection „Mad Max“ the author or jewelry was Tanja Nikolic Cicanovic.
SP: They have changed, because these people worked or didn’t work at the moment. For the events such as Fashion Week we get the teams, and sometimes we cooperate with those people after that, too…
JP: In Slovenia, we acquired a new team of collaborators: for the make-up Ana Lazovski and for styling „Mare Dresura haircuts“. They have presented at „Redhead“ fashion show at Fashion Week.
JP: The two of us are „accustomed to team“ because we’ve always been a team…
SP: …The two of us are the smallest team…
JP: This is our starting point towards people we engage in certain segments needed to achieve the concept…
SP: And the names of the authors we are on the „same wavelength“ with repeat. They understand what we want and we know what we can get from them – and it is to build our idea on, to add something of their own. This „team thing“ has developed during styling creating. The two of us have worked in this field a lot, with different people, teams and different requirements.
JP: All of us share this common idea. And it is how both large and small team work… With some of them we have established long-term relationships because we trust each other, we like the way they think.
SP: A matter of feeling. Here’s how it works – if you ask the two of us separately: „is she going to like this?“ both of us will answer „yes“ or „no“ and there is no doubt. And we know it. However, sometimes it happens there is a doubt whether something should be realized just as we had originally intended.
JP: We also wander, but at some point this common vision, image, „click“ in a head appears.
SP: When you focus on an idea, you are going towards a solution and the moment where we finally like something comes… It is necessary to believe in what you imagine, and to have enough persistence to perform it and to have good co-workers you trust.
JP: There is also that, we talk to each other quite often, we are on the phone, we send e-mails…
SP: The two of us are normally very „tied“, not only because we’re sisters, but because we are as two parts of one person. We function like that, together, even though we are in two places. It turned out the fact we are physically separated isn’t aggravating.
SP: Music is very important to us and it always builds on the concept of the show.
JP: Sometimes, but not always.
SP: No, no, no… We just „get the idea“, that’s not something logical or associated with music or… For example, I think the best while I walk down the street. I get up early and start working very early. I think the clearest in this period. Many ideas „came to my mind“ then. Also, the same thing occurs while driving, if someone drives me, I am excluded from that moment and I „pick up along the way“ all sorts of things… The two of us never have blank paper in front of us, and we never say, „Oh, what we’ll do now?“ No. That is not how „things are invented“… that „something“ just „clicks“ you, maybe someone said something once, maybe you „caught“ something once, „it passed through your mind“, perhaps you saw the movie… So, you saw something and in that moment you were intrigued, and perhaps soon or maybe in a five years it will come back to you and a new project will occur from it.
After „replicants“ in 1997 (ridley scott), the path follows, in white and snow, the song „winter is coming“… After more than thousand (1000!) Costumes for the characters the others described and created, more than seventy (70!) Theater and several film (long and short meter) stories, prokovic sisters continue to create an atmosphere of „hidden, irrational energy which is triggered when you see all the costumes in one place“
(D. Jovanovic, director)
JP: How would all those icons function today? We just wanted to erase all the decades between them, to knock the rustic from characters off with a glow. Marie Antoinette has „some kind of crinoline“ but more streamlined, stylish… That’s why all the materials are „high tech“! There is a lot of Lycra, lacquer, colored leather…
SP: We have reduced them colorfully to something similar, because the idea was to end up being a whole and to appear in the form of a show presentation, to walk the catwalk… White, gold, black and glow are repeated in the reflective materials.
JP: Yes, it is a stigma, marking with a color conspicuously, with a piece of clothing… Yellow, yellow shoe color against the gray gamma. Grays open the plot… Everything on the scene starts in gray tones. Color. Stylization.
JP: Yes, that „German style“ is nurtured there, but I also like it personally… Everything is much deliberated. Everything related to visual – scenography, light, costume, is related to implementation of new technologies…
JP: No, modern theater is something completely different, it uses new technologies, all these „high-tech“ materials, video art, all of these new things are in the function of drama story. It is a fantastic combination of tradition and modernity. This is exactly the communication with today’s that’s necessary. The theater communicates with us, whether it’s a Shakespeare, some modern author or politically engaged text. What this story means today, what it communicates, what kind of questions it asks, it turns the mirror to our face… It’s modern in expression, acting, visual, in recognition.
JP: It depends on what this character is and which way I want to present it!
JP: Of course, that’s very important! Sometimes I design and put make-up myself for the theater as well, I’ve just recently done it for the show „Pri nas je vse v redu“ (SNG Drama Ljubljana, dir. I. Djilas).
JP: In fact, I’m also the author of the asymmetric mask…
JP: Correct conclusion!
They’ve done some of the theater projects in cooperation. We’ve singled out few quotations from the slovenian media, in order to demonstrate to the belgrade audience how directors describe cooperation with jelena:
Dusan Jovanovic: „… Entirely studious type, she doesn’t give away in front of a demanding project… She strives for glamour, she aspires to modern stylization.“
Ivana djilas: „… Unity of opposites: ease of creation, and on the other hand amazing strictness, especially towards herself.“
Eduard miller: „… She thinks conceptual, she has clearly defined character of the person she adjusts through the costume and make-up to the changes that director or scenographer defines.“
JP: All of that, but first of all our PERSONAL pleasure.
SP: We are always pretty strict about that…
JP: … and critical to ourselves.
SP: Of course, criticism is very important.
JP: No one can be immune to the criticism, either good or bad. Criticism can gladden you, it can be constructive, it can hurt you… But – the best criticism is when the critic truly recognizes and reads what you really wanted to say. However, even the best criticism has no value if you are not satisfied with your work yourself.
JP: At the beginning, some of the people who don’t know us had an opinion that our work is only related to fashion design which isn’t for the theater. But, at the first rehearsal already, giving the sketches, during the conversation they would realize that, when I work in the theater, I have entirely different work principle. Some other things are priority. The only thing that is in common and important to us, something that always pervades is: modernity and stylization.
JP: It’s certainly easier, because people expect something specific of you in advance…
JP: Our attitude was like this from the beginning – we know what we want and that’s probably why we’ve never had communication problems, or trouble to fight for our idea…
SP: It was never a problem for the associates to listen to our idea.
SP: I don’t know how, but we always find ourselves somehow… People who needs us and who we understand with find us…
JP: This project is very close to us, we have invested two years in it, and we approached whole that story very studiously. But, you never know what will float to the top, what will attract people’s attention at the moment. I don’t think it didn’t go well. At the moment, the situation here, and also globally, is such that the culture isn’t something the most important, but something we can live without. And this is obvious. This is evident in artists’ treatment. There isn’t enough space. And media space is image of interest.
Prokovic sisters were explaining why they’ve made stylings for divas and rockers, what is an instant copy without content („supermarket style – you buy little bit of everything in addition to steaks for lunch“), what is their attitude to planetary stars who dress as an ad „money can buy a lot, but not the style“… Because it is impossible to work for people you don’t understand, although you accept they have their audience and market piece
JP: I don’t feel that anyone should be changed… I think that people have to believe in themselves, to express what they are, even if it seems wrong or absolutely unacceptable to someone else.
SP: When the clothes is in front of your eyes non-stop, the longer you’re in business, it’s not so important what is that I would make for myself, I find it even in the last place. I don’t even know why I would do that, I’m in every single piece of collection. We wear our creations, but we also wear others, various things.
SP: We always begin with an idea and some feeling. It isn’t even a person, it is an idea, something you intend to say… something you want to cause in the person who sees it. What’s the message you want to send through your work. And you make the styling in function of presentation of the work THEY do, as when we made it for musicians.
SP: During the conversation, because you create image that person can bring out, that represents her mostly. It is an extremely interesting job, if it’s done properly. Your task is to think up VISUALLY different kind of art, and it is music in this case.
SP: We’re willing to talk, but I’m not sure what’s so important I could say now, I think it’s interesting what you can „hear“ when you see our work! Perhaps an interview can explain something, but basically – we are what we show on stage. Two of us, ourselves, are „background characters“ in fact, we are back-stage characters, no matter in which project.
SP: We are not „so good with words“! Perhaps it would rather be someone we could show visually different, than that I could ask him anything… I don’t know, we have already mentioned Tilda Swinton as a person who would be interesting for cooperation, because she is suitable for transformations, and all the time you know that’s her… She doesn’t lose from what she is, no matter you can see her in so different appearances.
JP: Yes, that is what presents our creations the easiest… It looks like differences between genders are erased slowly, that in fact male and female work together. And, that they are equally interesting, both „strong woman“ and „gentle man“. But, we are trying to reconcile both genders, somehow. It doesn’t mean there are no genders, just: attributes related to them are changing – they work equally well in both directions.
SP: Regardless of the descriptions which follow our collections „strict“, „military“, woman is ALWAYS feminine, while we never see a man as effeminate or „too fashion“. Some of our items suit well both woman and man, especially in recent collections.
JP: That „something military“ is really obvious in our collections, there is uniform fascination.
SP: We always strive to that when making a collection, not to make everything identically, but to make replicas, but at the end everything should look as a single unit. And we usually ask for everything to be strict, clear, and precise. So, it’s not military in terms of uniformity, but character similarity…
SP: Men’s fashion is a project that will certainly happen. We have tried out this subject and we past well with the male audience. They are very interesting to work with. We may go in that direction, maybe already with next collection… We talked about it. Although, in the last one, there were few pieces that men ordered. No matter we made it for women, they asked if it can be made as a „man thing“.
SP: It doesn’t have to be a celebrity, we know a lot of very interesting people who are not familiar to the general public. When we were thinking about the men’s collection once, and we think about that for a really long time, we always thought that models should not carry it. We’ve always imagined having different types of people for the men’s collection, known and unknown, interesting to us. To have the characters. That’s what we were interested in about men. The characters. So, now when I’m „thinking aloud“, for women we’ve usually made replicas inside the collection, and for men we would probably make different types.
JP: Our common trips are the best. When we’re together, that’s it, we’re focused on what we are interested in, and we are interested in everything visual. This process of ideas’ coming is the strongest then, while we’re together.
Snimak sa revije JSP Fashion
xx spring/summer 2013.