Haute couture bear
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Haute couture bear

May 18, 2021

The fashion industry is tired of the endless mix of cropped tops and floor-length skirts, neon and prints, metallic and plastic.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. In contrast, designers from Denmark, Norway and Sweden show laconic and at the same time not boring things that will adorn everyone. The women’s costume, created by Anna Shevchenko, a graduate of the Norilsk College of Arts, may also be more interesting than the colorful collections of Gucci and Prada.

The girl named her thesis Narka, which means Bear in Nganasan. Which is no coincidence: an ancient northern legend served as the inspiration for the creation of the costume.

“The Black Spirit rose from the ground, took out its rib, laid it next to it and fell asleep. The rib turned into a bear. The wolf was the first to be born from the bear, followed by the domestic deer. A man – a reindeer shepherd – was born third from the bear. From him came the Taimyr people – Samoyeds”.

The set of Nganasan women’s clothing, created by Anna, consists of a parka, a headdress and shoes. The girl used materials of various colors and textures: natural suede and leather, mammoth tusk and metal, and even natural bear fur.

“The desire to learn, understand, transform the bear into a human form influenced my graduation work”, says the young craftswoman, who devoted a lot of time to studying the history and legends of the Nganasan people.

In previous centuries, people with slit clothes lived somewhere “behind the big water”. They called themselves the Lifarie people. Later, women’s clothing with a cut was called the same – lifarie. The silhouette of this historically established swing park, striking in its exquisite tonality and complex cut, was taken by Anna as the basis for her costume.

The girl says that the Nganasans did not use colored beads to decorate their clothes – they found other decorative solutions.

“From the back, the park is adorned with pendants-straps ‘chanda-o’ – in the national Nganasan clothes, they could be used to determine the property and social status of the park owner: whether she is married or not”, says the college graduate. – I decorated the pendants and straps with decorative amulets with images of animals from mammoth ivory, made in relief and openwork carving. And besides, I made decorative plates from mammoth tusk with traditional Nganasan ornament – tsenkako, which can be worn only by girls of marriageable age”.

The craftswoman sheathed the sleeves of the parka with the bear legs skin with claws symbolizing the strength and power of the animal. As well as shoes, which resemble the Nganasan fayma in silhouette, which is a cylindrical case with short tops. For the basis of the headdress, Anna took a women’s bonnet – a hat, which is sewn from a white deer skin with a black dog fur border.

“The ornament helped me fill the costume with figurative semantic content and reveal the idea of ​​the thesis about a young bear”, continues the craftswoman. “I tried to show the North with spring colors, when nature and bears awaken from hibernation after a long, cold winter: ocher is the rays of the rising sun, beige is snow melting under the first rays, and black is the cheerful paths of animals on the ground”.

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Text: Elena Popova, Photo: Norilsk College of Arts

May 18, 2021

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