It is difficult in this day and age of fluid identity, within both the fluid and shattered world, to create clothing that would be more than just one person’s subjective whim, and aspire to have a certain amount of duration, no matter how short the time-frame. Perhaps this no longer matters, but we still care about values, about something that goes beyond our mere existence in the here and now, even when it comes to dressing. What we use to shroud our body, how we seem and appear in front of others, and what we communicate and convey in this manner will continue to matter as long as we share this world with others.
Tihana Mikša Perkovi is aware of this and in her quest for clothing worthy of man, she combines history as well as the present, in life’s continuity. Her inspiration is folk costumes from Croatian regions that she interprets with a contemporary twist, by applying current textile processing techniques. From history’s treasury along with the present, like a true postmodern wizard, she chooses motifs, materials, patterns and colors that she uses to build her own fashion statements. Searching for inspiration she might resort to the traditional Japanese technique of stitching clothes sashiko and the stone wash denim bleaching technique that is widespread in the contemporary popular culture of the West.
It is the visual aspect of motifs or techniques, less than the original context, which determines their application. She treats the pleated skirt, part of traditional rural costumes, with the stone wash technique not to achieve the impression of wear and tear but to generate the wealth of shades of the primary dye. Monochromatism is Tihana’s choice, as well as reduced, simple silhouettes – which also bring the texture of materials and to the fore. Surface relief is achieved by crumpling and pleating the materials, as well as stitching, creating small dents and bumps in and on the fabric.
Her works is to be viewed (and photographed) up close, using side lighting that reveals the soft, shaggy structure of woolen fleece, the fine gentle pleats of pleated linen. Tihana respects the character of the material and works on further emphasizing its essence through further treatment. Despite minimalism, she’s far from reticent in expression and often chooses bright colors and sculptural accumulation of fabric thus allowing to give vent to emotion and gesture - to extend the front of the vest down to the floor; to provide a rich tuck to a skirt at the hips; to use woolen fleece to create outsized base and weft. The measure is not a measure. It is through free play with forms and her experimentation with modern processing techniques that she seeks to introduce one of the traditional forms of folk costumes to the world of her time.
Past ... at last is how she humorously entitles her research to this topic, but perhaps it should be entitled Future ... at last.
If we accept that dressing also expresses the values we care about in our lives, then I believe that Tihana and the works she exhibits are a call: a call to be responsible concerning the environment and the resources at our disposal (the application of untailored traditional costumes where the material is maximally exploited and leaves no leftover waste), to be truth-loving (Tihana sees beauty in the structure of the garment and openly shows it), to uphold a healthy relationship with the past: and not be a slave to it, but rather draw knowledge and inspiration from it for the future (contemporary interpretation of traditional costumes). These may not be arguments for you to put on one of Tihana’s dresses, jackets or coats, but it may be a source of intellectual pleasure and encouragement for you to find ways in which to adhere to the values that she cares about within your own field of work. Fashion then becomes a way to jointly create the world in which we live. Who said that fashion was not important!