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Fashion show from top Tricity designers at Expo 2020 Dubai
Photo by Jacek Ożóg

The world is familiar with the traditional face of amber, as well as its modern character. Some still regard it as boring and old-fashioned. Others know that it holds not only exciting stories, but also new possibilities and a variety of forms. Amber is also known as the Baltic gold. Its ambiguity and heterogeneous composition offers almost unlimited creative potential. It is a magical resin for artists and designers who shape it into small masterpieces.

Poland can boast many excellent designers, especially the field of amber design. Pomorskie and Tricity are without doubt leaders in the field, with the abundance of amber deposits. The Baltic gold can be surprising and delightful. You could see this for yourself during the fashion show on March 8, International Women’s Day, in the Polish Zone at Expo 2020 Dubai.

The highlight of the event was of course amber, presented by beautiful models in dazzling dresses. Two duos of fashion and jewellery designers from Tricity, presented their collections. Crafted with this particular event in mind, the masterful compositions offer fresh and contemporary designs. It was a true display of glamour, and the audience had the possibility to revel in the beauty of every amber necklace, bracelet, earring, and ring.

– Modern clothing and jewellery designs are a complementary showcase of latest trends in these areas. Amber has become a competitive material for crafting jewellery. It evokes warmth, lightness and offers a varying colour palette. It has become a friendly alternative to cool jewellery that uses precious stones, says Marta Chełkowska, Director of the Tourism Department at the Marshal’s Office of the Pomorskie Voivodeship.

Nature Essence – minimalism and nature in the spirit of slow fashion

The Nature Essence collection by Dorota Cenecka and Joanna Weyna comprises natural fabric dresses. They are complemented with jewellery of natural, coloured stones and black diamond, with a predominance of amber.

The amber industry heard of Dorota Cenecka in 2012, and immediately fell in love with the new image of amber that she had proposed: a combination of traditional craft with subtle, modern, spatial forms. She has been in the profession for more than thirty years, and knew she wanted to make jewellery ever since she was a child.

– Amber, framed in in silver, is the predominant stone of the collection. Black diamonds are framed in gold.  I used medium-sized and large lumps in my projects. I managed to represent Picasso’s sculptures in some of them. Though brittle, amber is a grateful and plastic material. When you know how to process it, you can craft almost anything you like, said Dorota Cenecka. 

Amber always plays the main part in all my collections. I use natural stone – it is not altered or burned, only ground. I love combining amber with other natural stones, creating contrasts of colours that make the jewellery stand out. The casings are selected to best expose its beauty. I already buy selected, individual pieces from a supplier who knows my preferences. Together with Joanna Weyna, we make them look natural, said the artist.

Dorota Cenecka and Joanna Weyna at Expo 2020 Dubai
Photo by Jacek Ożóg

Designer Joanna Weyna graduated from the Gdańsk Academy of Fine Arts, and for the past twenty years has become known for her brand, PUDU. Her designs are part of the slow fashion trend. Minimalist forms in balanced colours, based on the composition of natural fabrics, are inseparable from her collections. The clothing styles are functional, comfortable  and perfectly combine everyday fashion with evening style.

I stick to minimalism and a natural feel. I prefer monochrome colours: beige, grey, and black. The collection presented in Dubai comprises twelve dresses, including three in red colour.  I always choose natural fabrics that are stiffer from the delicate silk, comfortable and don’t pill They’re usual mixtures of viscose and cotton. Thicker materials keep the shape, and it’s crucial for my collection. My design is based on the form. Colour only complements it. Two dresses from the Dubai collection are pleated. Another two are designed to bring out the feminine looks, . The dresses are tailored to bring out women’s shapes, emphasize the bust and the waist. These aren’t theatrical designs, but functional, useful, and comfortable designs , said Joanna Weyna.

What’s important is that Joanna Weyna has personally sewn the entire Dubai collection. The first piece, and the so-called samples are always brought to life by the designer. They will try them on, make changes, and perfects the form. The final version of the collection, in full size, is the made by professional dressmakers.

Belle Epoque LO Fuller – the romantic aesthetic of Art Noveau

The second collection, Belle Epoque LO LO Fuller, was inspired by the Belle Epoque dancer, Loie Fuller. The starting point and inspiration were the photos of the dancer in motion, and her experiments with long skirts. The apparel sewn by Magdalena Arłukiewicz with silk, chiffon, and tulle, the romantic aesthetic of Art Nouveau.

-These are long, flowing, almost ethereal dresses. They come in 12 distinct colours: red, fuchsia, yellow, violet, gold, bottle green, ecru, teal, cream and black. In some projects, I used feathers, a material strongly associated with Art Noveau. The collection is enriched with amber beads sewn on to the dress. All this is manual work, all the dresses were made in Tricity by dressmaker Justyna Cieślak, with whom I have been working for 10 years now.  The styling is supplemented with head bands, made by Magdalena Purchla, said Magdalena Arłukiewicz.

Her Dubai collection is something entirely different from her current work. Until this day, her projects were inspired by past, history, arts, painting, and anthropology. They were often perceived as dark and heavy.  You could hear the sounds of revolution.  This time, the designer showed an entirely new face. She once again has shown that she possesses skills that allow her to thread the thin line between kitsch and avant-garde. 

I’ve entered the phase of femininity, Magdalena Arłukiewicz laughed and added, I have created a collection for women frail and delicate on the outside, but strong and persistent within.  This collection shows women’s strength.

Romantic and flowing dresses are complemented by jewellery by Aleksander Gliwiński, who has worked with Magdalena Arulkiewicz for many years. His works are nothing like grandmother’s flower or leaf-like brooches. They are modern and very contemporary. They’re neither boring nor repulsive. They attract attention. The artist from Sopot has been in the industry for 30 years. He founded his workshop in 1991. In the 1990s, he was the first in Poland to create segment jewellery by combining cut, geometrical amber forms. This breathed new life into this traditional raw material.

-The base for jewellery is the Baltic amber in various colours and shades. The collection also has some larger pieces of amber in silver frames. I also used natural straps and ebony, which, although tough and difficult to process, is beautiful and shiny. The combination of amber, silver and ebony gives the jewellery a noble feel. Working with amber is extremely difficult, but also fascinating. Each time, it shows its different face, Aleksander Gliwiński admitted.

Magdalena Arłukiewicz and Aleksander Gliwiński at Expo 2020 Dubai
Photo by Jacek Ożóg

Amber: our baltic treasure

The Dubai collection also has tiny oriental touches. Two or three necklaces come with an ethnic flavour. My jewellery is simple in form, but with a modern twist. There aren’t many ornaments. It is jewellery for bold women who know what they want. My works suit both young girls and mature women, even seniors. These are ladies with outstanding personalities, ease of self-creation, and a need to stand out of the crowd, said Aleksander Gliwiński.

The joint shows of fashion and jewellery by Magdalena Arłukiewicz and Aleksander Gliwiński surprise and excite with their innovative ideas, attention to detail, and perfect fits. They form a unique duo, which has been often awarded.

The showcased jewellery must be exaggerated to make it stand out at all, so it is largely the art of compromise, often reached after lengthy, emotional discussions. We’ve been co-operating with Magda for years. We’ve gotten along so well because we give each other space. We understand and complement each other, and we do not compete, summed up Aleksander Gliwiński.

The fashion show had a Polish music setting by Igor Korejwo and Łukasz Staniszewski. The talented Bartek Szopiński from Człuchów showcased his skills during a short piano recital in between the shows.

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