Barbara I Gongini’s most recent collection is composed of Nordic shadows, cut and sewn together into a series of the most captivating garments. Hailing from the isolated Faroe Islands, Gongini graduated from Denmark’s School of Design at the Institute of Unica Design and established the label in Copenhagen, Denmark. Like any good designer, Gongini engages in both the spheres of fashion and art, melding the two to create pieces that deserve both a place on the runway and in a gallery.
Gongini describes her work as, “numerical,” often comparing collections to new chapters to turn to in a story. The ordinal seriation of numbers from one to the next is analogous to her designs that grow and evolve from season to season. Rather than featuring temporary trends that so often come and go, she builds upon previous designs, allowing them to mature, develop and come to fruition in new collections time and time again.
Just from a quick glance, it’s evident that Barbara I Gongini still enjoys playing with the avant-garde in her Autumn/Winter 2015 collection. However, this recent collection is decidedly more masculine than androgynous in silhouette. Though utilizing an extreme monochromatic palette, there is more than enough visual interest in shape and texture. There exists a certain air of tactility in the collection, drawing viewers in not only to look, but to feel as well. The wrinkled linen, wooly coat and crisp shirting all help to humanize and add life to the blackness, which can so often seem flat and uninviting. The collection also reveals a conflict between limiting and freeing the wearer’s mobility. The severity of the drop-crotch trousers, sheer size of the wool coat and high neckline of the Mandarin collar bind the wearer rigidly. Conversely, the sleeveless coat and cut-out in the knees of a second pair of pants aid the garments in moving along seamlessly with the wearer. This play between restraint and movement highlights the subtle allure in all of Gongini’s work. Drenching her collection in black, the manipulation of form and design became all the more apparent, as is Barbara I Gongini’s skill as a fashion designer and vision as an artist.