Smoke and Fire

It’s easy to be stunned, rendered speechless. The flash of light is that intense, ablaze with an endless constellation of sexual nuances. Just ask Stevie Wonder. Sensing the power of his Goddess of Love, he was transfixed…”what I see don’t make no sense…Earth Venus in broad daylight…like fine wine she is going straight to my head…I can hardly speak.” His Woman in Red was molten energy, an eruption of kinetic forces that ignited fantasies of wildfires. Now this lady is even more shapely, contoured from sizzling hot lava, and “breaking free” from all restraints. She is Lava Ego, a sultry mix of Asian mythology, volcanic smoke and fire, and as the artist revels, “a flowing stream of mysteriously changing colors.”

“Volcanoes are fascinating to me, they are so powerful and rich in contrasts,” explains clothing designer Sabina Georgescu, who was named after fabled Romanian painter Sabin Bălașa, and is the founder of the Sabinne clothing line. Detailing how she fashioned her Lava Ego coats, scarves and dresses, she continues “I like to experiment, to play with light…contrasts…dualities are so expressive of life and emotions. I just need to put whatever I am thinking of into reality.” Pointing at an Erta Ale dress in her Bucharest, Romania        studio, Georgescu quickly adds, “this Lava Ego collection is all about intensity, depth, layering. I understand that I’m not going to see my avant garde pieces on the street. I must do ready-to-wear to eat. But I must also get my (experimental) message out there. I live to bring new ideas to life.”

It’s a never-ending battle for preeminence. To survive, be safe and predictable–or to resist convention, and be the provocateur. Originality often triumphs. Despite her fears of being overwhelmed by the merciless, fashion world competition, she continues to be inspired by birds in flight, Romanian folk tales, daydreams, flowing Japanese kimonos, Led Zeppelin and Constantin Brancusi. What links them? Her pursuing weightlessness, a whimsical unpredictability. Echoing sculptor Brancusi’s fascination with birds, their sinuous shapes and magisterial freedom, Georgescue’s Maiastra’s or Fire Bird dresses are meant to sweep us into an “evanescent mist” rich with luminous potential.

“These gold-feathered birds are supernatural creatures, messengers of the Saints,” declares Georgescue, sitting by an array of pens, mannequins and sketch pads. “They are so beautiful, they bring light even to the eyes of the blind.” Romantic heroines like Anna Karenina (a collection of handmade knits) and fantasy objects (a Brancusi hallmark) clearly embolden her imagination. So do “dualities of natural forces”–creation/destruction, life/death, healing/killing. In her studio, a place she calls “my temple, a refuge where I heal,” Georgescue can embrace  contradictions, be inspired by her silk, tulle, feathers, latex and heavy wool contrasts (she mainly uses sustainable, natural materials). But vulnerabilities still abound.

After chuckling “I haven’t been called by Vogue yet,” she wonders aloud, “what assets do I have?” She does have Blue Gardens, an ambitious work of “fabric manipulation” utilizing a wire skeleton, and featuring a head piece “decorated with fabric roses.” But self-doubts are to be expected in the ever-changing fashion world–a place where metamorphoses always loom. “In my Matamorph collection there is a tribute to Nature, its layers of particles, a natural balance to show the human personality,” explains Georgescu, saying these designs epitomize the rough aspect of metamorphic rocks and the delicacy of the layers that comprise them. Manually embroidering to give her work a 3D sensuality, she hopes this texturing is so “dynamic,” her creations mirror life itself–its continuous stream of varied sensations.

“I like watching the postures of birds, shapes of French trees, how light penetrates silk,” muses Georgescu, an incessant daydreamer, who philosophically adds, “I really want to leave something behind. I don’t want to just be dust in the night.” She laughs, and then quickly continues, “I come alive at night. Maybe it’s true what I was told as a child. That I would become a vampire if I wore these (fanged) teeth I bought. I see countless possibilities in the human body. And I do love to work at night. That’s when I take flight, find the power to create. To find messages of beauty.”

Written by Edward Kiersh

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