NEO design strives to bring traditional techniques of making clothing and jewelry to a new age in which functionality will benefit from the simplicity inspired tradition. In a year behind us in which ENSONEO project was started It won 6 really big prizes of which the biggest one that we should mention is Fashion Scout South East Europe award that brought an opportunity to present ATEHNEO collection on 15th of September at London Fashion week trough the “Ones to Watch” platform.
The FASHION SCOUT SEE is a competition of four regional countries each putting forward three of their best emerging designers from their local fashion weeks, which include Skopje Fashion Week in Macedonia, Fashion.hr in Croatia, Ljubljana Fashion Week in Slovenia and Belgrade Fashion Week in Serbia.
Designer: Nevena Ivanović / Photographer: Irena Fabri / Dancers: Tibor Šmit and Slobodan Spalević / Text: Vladimir Bjeličić
The ATEHNEO is both a fashion and an art project. Inspired by the fictional novel, “Hazarski rečnik” (Dictionary of the Khazars), by Serbian writer, Milorad Pavić, the novel presents a narrative about the world of Khazar people: nomadic tribes living along the river Volga, who later settled somewhere in the northern Balkans. Characters in this fictional account are in constant search of different identities which leads to many dualities, metamorphoses, and ambivalences.
The name of the collection is derived from the name of the Khazar’s princess, ATEH, a teacher and a wizard, a seductive protector of the cult of dreamers. The story, then, depicts a mystical tribe. Their relationships to social constructs like body, gender, or class, but also to established notions of time and space, are quite different. Though this myth about the Khazar people is unreliable as history, their existence in the area of Balkans is well documented.
This particular area has throughout European history seen constant movement, with migration within the nations throughout the centuries, then and now, caused and influenced by turbulent geo-political changes. All of this results in mixing influences, cultures, and genes.
Nevena Ivanović discusses this transition and mythology as the starting point of her fashion design experiment. She infuses this narrative with the motifs of Oriental folklore as the aesthetics of the Khazars are lost to history.
The project’s imagery emerges through a collaboration with professional dancers Tibor Šmit and Slobodan Spalević, whose visual story is brought to life within the former Yugoslavian sculptural memorial park, “Šumarice”, commemorating the victims of WWII. The impact of this location upon the imagery is overwhelming.
The photographer, Irena Fabri, directs and captures the interaction of the two dancing figures around the sculptural and architectural monument, “Krugovi” (Circles), built in the 1980’s. The feelings Irena conveys are at once dystopian and ambivalent.
The dynamics of interconnected steel discs complement the ritual body gestures of the figures. Their poses are the reaction to this sculptural formation, since each of the discs represents fallen shooting victims. The artist evokes the tragic destiny of the town of Kragujevac as the birth pangs in building a new future.
That future carries all the good of the human race alongside all the dangers of a long timeline of destructive thoughts and violence. While we may see in the most immediate sense the ATEHNEO project as just a fashion editorial, its exploration of aesthetic problems are layered with social and political meaning. By carefully linking the theme of migration within the context of an antifascist monument, the team behind this collaborative project is on a quest for a new model of coexistence.