Monday, February 17, 2020
Georgio Armani said of his Privé Couture Spring show last month: "The idea of this show originated from a memory. In 1990 I used an ikat blanket I found in a flea market to tailor three jackets for the spring summer collection. What I liked about this particular technique was the blurred effect of the motifs, the fact that the decorations were never well defined and I conveyed this concept by concealing the prints, filtering them through different layers".
He went on to explain "It is a fabric that I have always loved, although I have never used it as much as this season."
The collection, combining the glory of ikat with Armani's renowned tailoring, was masterful.
More images below.
Giorgio Armani's Take on Ikat
Valentino Haute Couture Meets Suzani
Dries Van Noten - Still Playing with Ikat
Ikat Porcelain Tableware
Uzbek Haute Couture - Lali Fazylova's Retro Collection 2018
Monday, February 3, 2020
|1979 stamp celebrating Lenin Square metro station, Tashkent|
As in other Soviet metro systems, each station of the Tashkent metro was assigned a particular political and cultural message to illustrate key messages of Soviet ideology.
When Uzbekistan gained independence in 1991, its new government followed the example of other young states and renamed streets, squares, and metro stations to distance itself from certain elements of the the Soviet past.
In doing so, they reaffirmed long obliterated and sometimes censored symbols of Uzbekistan's pre-Soviet past. Of the 23 stations constructed during the Soviet period, 11 have been given new names. For example, Lenin Square station is now typically called Mustaqillik Maydoni, or Independance Square, in Uzbek.
Of the 29 stations operating today five metro stations are particularly revealing in what they tell us about Uzbekistan's changing narratives around national identity:
Xalqlar Do'stigli (Friendship of the Peoples): This station is an emblematic example. Known as Friendship of the Peoples during the Soviet period, its previous name reflected Soviet ideology's extensive attempts to emphasise its supposedly peaceful international role during the Cold War, in opposition to western imperialism.
|Outside of Xalqlar Do'stigli [Friendship of Peoples] metro station|
The station's overground building conveys this message of futurism. In 2008, Uzbekistan's then President Islam Karimov, who kept a rather independent line from Moscow, renamed the station Bunyodkor (“The Founder”), in honour of his own role as founding father of the new Uzbek nation.
However, in 2018, Uzbekistan's second president Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who is keen on closer ties with Russia, restored the station's previous name.
Paxtakor (The Cotton Grower)
This station's name symbolises the Uzbek economy's everlasting dependency on cotton production. During the Soviet period, Moscow assigned each of the 15 Soviet republics a particular crop to produce en masse.
|Paxtakor station ornamentation. Image: Richard Marshall|
This station was named after the nearby district of Chilonzor, whose massive residential complexes were developed along the lines of Soviet urbanisation. Chilonzor is one of the most imposing in terms of art: its walls are covered in white marble, while several panels of 3D ceramics, all made by leading sculptors, illustrate the Soviet vision of Uzbek life: a mix of rural traditions and urban achievements, all enhanced by a series of massive crown-shaped chandeliers reminiscent of the Moscow metro.
Here is one "Uzbek scene," depicting men drinking tea on a tapchan, a wooden platform that helps to isolate from the scorching heat:
|Chilonzor's 3D ceramic decor. Image: Richard Marshall|
|Chilonzor's crown-shaped chandeliers. Image: Richard Marshall|
This station was named after the 15th century poet and linguist Alisher Navoi, whom several states in Central Asia claim as their own. Navoi was born on the territory of modern Afghanistan, and wrote in Persian, Arabic, and Chagatai, the ancestor of the modern Uzbek language.
|Magnificent Alisher Navoi station. Image: Richard Marshall|
In the Kremlin's narrative the cosmonauts, the Soviet Union's spacemen, were the apex of Soviet science and progress. This station is decorated in cosmic blue with portraits of Uzbek medieval astrologists and Soviet cosmonauts.
|Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman in space . Image: Richard Marshall|
|Yuriy Gagarin, the first person in space . Image: Richard Marshall|
From Soviet to post-Soviet, from socialist to Islamic, Tashkent's metro celebrates and commemorates Uzbekistan's remarkable history. Its stations have become an integral part of any visit to the Uzbek capital, perhaps signalling that tourism will be the next chapter in Uzbekistan's long nation building narrative.
A Journey Through Uzbek National Identity on the Tashkent Metro - #1
Uzbekistan's Secret Underground - this article has stunning photography of the metro stations
Almaty, Kazakhstan - Riding the New Metro
Azerbaijan: Baku's Metro