Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Q&A: Melani Dimitrovska

S.P cover_Sept 2013.
Design by K.K.W, layout
by Aleksandar Ares.
Photo by Miss Dimitrovska
Fashion in Contemporary Macedonia: Q&A with Melani Dimitrovska. By K.K.W

This month we're focusing the spotlight on an amazingly charming little country, brimming with the possibility, of a new creative capital, in the Balkans. 
Melani Dimitrovska,
image courtesy of the artist.
SP:  When did you first decide to begin designing?

MD: I've been interested in identities of the people since I was in Primary school, but haven't engaged in designing at that time. I started drawing fashion illustrations and designing clothes when I stated my studies at the Faculty of Art and Design.

SP:  Especially in Europe, the influences of fashion design & styles is enormous - were there any that really moved you & effected your work?

MD: I usually work on a specific subject, specific theme and get inspired by researching the concrete thing. There are many styles [for example futurism] that effected my work but my style is independent. The form of my designs is usually inspired by architecture and industrial design. I get inspired by the designer Hussein Chalayan for using new materials in fashion, for my avant-garde designs.

Design by Melani Dimitrovska.
Fashion Week Bitola
Image courtesy of the artist.
Design by Melani Dimitrovska.
Fashion Week Bitola
Image courtesy of the artist.
SP:  A certain amount of fashion tends to appeal to bold people because of its artistic look - would you say your designs are more functional or creative?

MD: All of my designs are functional. Some of them are functional on a scene, some on ordinary day or night and others are designed to be functional on special occasions, It depends on who is wearing the creation. My target group is cool people. 

SP:  What's your favorite part of designing?

MD: My favorite part of designing is the realization  of the designs and their final product such as fashion photography or a fashion show.

Melani Dimitrovska.
Image courtesy of the artist. 
SP:  I know most of your designs are haute couture, but have you given any thought to a more practical, stylish, affordable line that could be mass-produced?

MD:  My designs are not Haute-Courtue. Haute-courtue means hand-crafted and custom-made clothes for each client with specific and expensive textile materials. If I have to classify my designs, I'll put them in Demi-courtue which is between haute-courtue and ready-to-wear. The clothes look like haute-courture but they are ready to wear. I would also like to try an create a stylish affordable line that could be mass produced.  
fashion collection: future warrior
design: melani dimitrovska
models: podium model agency
photography: istok avdich
make up artist: nebojsha peshevski
hair style: studio joy
Image courtesy of the artist.
SP:  Having your designs shown in places like NYC would be wonderful I'm sure; if such a thing were possible, would you be interested?

MD:  Sure, thats a good idea. :) ))

SP: What do you think of the fashion scene in Skopje, does it need improvement & if so,  what can be done?

MD: In the last few years as "fashion-weeks" [Fashion Weekend] has started and because of the new faculties of fashion design,  the scene in Skopje started to grow. Many of the designers are more active than before. They are creating new lines and promote them on Fashion week together with fashion brands and designers from other countries. But there are still plenty of difficulties for the young designers in Skopje. There is a desperate need for conceptual shops, designers clothing shops, etc..

Design by Melani Dimitrovska.
Assembly Designfestival  Graz May 25th 2013.
Model: Luzia Stella Zinganel.
Image courtesy of the artist.
Melani Dimitrovska. Image courtesy of the artist.
She's arguably one of the best young designers in her country, and her region of the world. And though not many here in NYC know her name & designs, that will soon change. Melani's fantastic designs are the beginning of a major fashion house in contemporary Macedonia, that will last beyond this time. Cheers! 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

"Say Neon Genesis"

One of this months covers.
Design by Aleksandar Ares, layout by K.K.W.
Dress design & 
Photo courtesy of Katerina Mikrut.
Music now: Ola Dioss feat. Maya - Say Neon Genesis [Produced by Antoan Kurt]. By K.K.W
Ola Dioss. Photo by
Ana Maria Radosavljevic, courtesy of the artist.
A slow groove-tempo with dark tones flowing into a hypnotizing beat, laced with electro-percussion's like a smooth seductive, acid trip. Twisted, synth-heavy with a slight distortion on Ola's vocals, who starts off the track with his unique lyrical style on this - a rough, edgy, gritty-enticing feel and sound to it. 
Maya, photo courtesy of the artist.
The elastic-like beat melding with Ola's vocals, as Maya enters near-perfectly. Her powerful voice moving between sultry & deep, to a resonating song-bird, her voice and style balancing as a slick counter to Ola. The sound quality and production by Antoan Kurt is mesmerizing in its composition, syncopation, placement and style. There's something about the quality of the track and the combination of Ola & Maya that reminds me of the "Back to Black" cover by Andre 3000 and Beyonce for The Great Gatsby.

We're certainly looking forward to more tracks from each of these talented individuals, all three already having done great work. Take a listen to more of there tracks, and let us & them know what you think.
Antoan Kurt. Photo courtesy of the artist.
If you would like to know more, go to:,,, "Art is the reason, art is the way"

Nikola Kodjabashia

One of this months covers -
design by Aleksandar Ares, layout
by K.K.W. Photo by Leni von Geleva
[NeuErotik]. Model: Milena Atanasova.
Music now: Nikola Kodjabashia. By K.K.W

Although somewhat unknown in NYC, Kodjabashia is arguably one of the best composers from the Balkans / Eastern European musical avant-guard. And while I'm not an expert on music, or its technical aspects, I know what I like, and how it makes me feel.

Album cover for Penelope X
Nikola Kodjabashia. Image courtesy of the artist.
The first of his work I heard was Kouros on the soundtrack Penelope X with Foltin, [from the musical "Odysseys and his women"] while on Juno-download purchasing music by Herzel & Genoveva [electronica music from Macedonia]. 

Seconds into the song and I was smitten. The flow, tempo, rhythms, arrangement and overall feeling of it was so mesmerizing.  The last 1:23 seconds is amazingly unforgettable. The rest of the album is equally stunning with its dark tones [The Pillars Of Hercules (Homecoming)], eerie sounds, sultry feel and sensuality [True Blue Eyes (Calypso)]. The combination of instruments, fusion of musical elements and musicians makes it utterly remarkable in its style.

When it comes to his own work, you can hear and feel a great dramatic movement from somber, slow-building sounds, to light an playful [suite intermezzo for piano]. 
Or, he draws you in with what appears to be a simple arrangement,  that suddenly develops into a sweeping explosion of notes, elevating the senses - only to leave you where he began [his music to Humberto Velez's The Last Builder].

According to Nenad Georgievski, Kodjabashia describes his first two albums as a "...literary canvas for an orchestra..." But in so-much as his music is based in Classical, he does incorporate and frequently combines electronic processing and other elements to achieve fantastic eerie moods, and at times dynamic contrasts [Explosion Of A Memory].     

Album cover to Explosion of a Memory
PENELOPE X is a joint project band evolved during the collaboration on the soundtrack. 4 members of PenelopE X are descending from undoubtedly one of the top and most influential bands from the Balkans in the past 15 years, FOLTIN. Their discography includes 5 critically acclaimed albums. Foltinʼs music is surreally retro, contemporary witty, melancholic but most of all passionate and unpredictable with a frantic dance undertone. They often describes themselves as pseudo emigrant cabaret rather than by musical style or genre etiquette. Their performance history lists all the leading European music festivals and theatre stages...

Kodjabashia is composer of 4 critically acclaimed albums: The Most of Now, 2008, Reveries of the Solitary Walker, 2004, Penelope X (with Foltin) described by Guardian, The Times, BBC Radio 3,, Giornale della Musica, All About Jazz critics as....” Probably the best record of the year”... “Magisch!”....”un ibrido perfetto”...”masterful”.. Kodjabashia morphs effortlessly from assured composer-conductor through laid- back facilitator to multi-tracking keyboard wizard”....”result, drawing on every musical language from modernism to Shadow like twang, is masterful.”

or: "Art is the reason, art is the way"

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Skopje [Urban Change] 1963 - 2013

One of this months covers.
Design by Aleksandar Ares, layout by K.K.W.
Dress design & 
Photo courtesy of Katerina Mikrut.
Urban Change in Skopje - Rise Of The Young Ones. By K.K.W

"Skopje doesn't have a straight forward narrative. A friend once told me that Skopje was '...shabby, but charming!...'. Let me try to scratch under the surface and maybe reveal one or two things about what makes the city what it is - a place of many intertwined small worlds, different yet compact."
(Tanja Stoimenovska)

This article is meant to give an over-view of the major changes to Skopje's urban landscape for the visual art project Rise Of The Young Ones. And while info about the city is available, there's only so much online, & few books here in NYC, to string together in complete exactness, all changes. 

Post card from possibly circa 1950.
Image courtesy of Matej Bogdanovski
"Any Major changes to a city's landscape / layout,  reflects either the concious or subconcious of the populace, or predates it. This is usually through the actions of one or more person (s) in conjuction with those in power (its educated and or dominant classes).  Along with this, War, Natural disasters, and Economics can often play a great role. And although its generally for the good of the city, its people and greater civic harmony, as an equation its never balanced."  (Aleksandar Ares)
Skopje center. Image by Meglena Visinska
Unlike New York City, and Bucharest for that matter, Skopje's urban landscape has two aspects - the rise of its modern architecture & its retro-antique buildings, with monumental-nationalistic statues [Skopje 2014 project]. This re-vamping of the capital, to make it more like other major European cities, has given RISE to a serious rift within the city & perhaps the country: 54% pro & 46% con [give or take a few #'s]. However, to understand something of the cities present and future, we need to go back to its recent past.

Skopje circa 1950  - The Old railway station
Skopje circa 1950's was a very different
place from the city of today.

After the earthquake of July 1963
After the earthquake of July 1963
One of the major factors of urban change in Skopje was a 6.1 earthquake on July 26, 1963 (when the country was a part of Yugoslavia). About 80 percent of the city was destroyed. Along with aid from the international community, a limited competition for the redevelopment  of the city was created. In 1965 the Japanese architect firm Kenzo Tange won 60% of the prize with 40%  going to the Yugoslav team. Tange's plan would have the city bound together with the symbolic concepts of its "gate" and "wall", serving both as programmatic features and metaphors for the urban form. The City Gate was characterized by the convergence of all traffic  systems, while the railway terminal was designed as an underground structure. Pedestrian zones, transit terminals, automobile parking decks would occupy different levels above it. 
The Kenzo Tange architect team -
circa 1965
Model for reconstruction of Skopje - Kenzo Tange
architect firm
"The transportation center would be joined by a central business district known as City Gate Center, to form the city main axis. Along the axis were clusters of buildings and include a number of office towers, a library, banks, exhibition halls, cinemas, hotels, shops and restaurants - all connected to the railway and bus terminals with elevated motorway's" (1. from the tumblr post by TSTSTSSS ).
Model for reconstruction of Skopje - Kenzo Tange
architect firm
Along with the redevelopment period, "Towards the middle of the 1960s, a group of Skopje-educated architects was formed, a new generation which marked its presence with a number of modern buildings inspired by contemporary architectural theory. Among this post-earthquake group are Ljubinka Malenkova, Georgi and Janko Konstantinovi, Petar Mulickovski, Blagoja Kolev, Trajko Dimitrov, Ljuben Najdenov, Radomir Lalovic, Kiril Muratovski, Zivko Popovski, and Zivko Gelevski; later joined by Vladimir Nikolovski, Ilija Gerasimovski, Miroslav Sidovski, N. Bocieva, Kiril Zarov, P. Mitkov, S. Hadzievi, M. Hadzhievi, V. Nikolikjeva, Nikola Kartasev, Mihail Grankov, T. Paskali, V. Zarcevi, D. Zarcevi, and P. Balabanov."
(From Macedonia Yesterday and Today by Jovan Pavlovski & Misel Pavlovski)

The  Glavna Posta - The Central Post Office of Skopje
Image courtesy of Robert Nate.
After this redevelopment period and the 1960's, Skopje would be classified by Brutalist architecture [started by Le Corbusier - which is an offshoot of the international style], which gives the city a retro-futuristic, fortress feel and look. Its also  In many ways I think this is a physical representation of what the people wanted, a sense of power & strength, which gives a feeling of security. In addition to this the style was in many ways cost effective. Of course, many critics consider (& still do) this form of architecture to be cold and problematic, which led to its falling out of use and favor.
Brutalist architecture. Image courtesy of Robert Nate.
Brutalist architecture. Image courtesy of Robert Nate
Like many other cities Skopje too embraced the revival of Bauhaus & the International Style, adding yet another powerful feature to its urban landscape that would help to redefine its cities. Much of this would happen before and after the Yugoslav Wars (which caused the break-up of Yugoslavia) A few major example is a modernist style government building in the center of Skopje, designed by architect Peter Mulichkoski (1970). Also the  News Publishing Agency -"Nova Makedonija" building (no longer in use by the agency), the  Glavna Posta - The Central Post Office of Skopje,  MRT Center (the national TV broadcast station, 1984) located in central Skopje.  

 the  News Publishing Agency -"Nova Makedonija" building 
(no longer in use by the agency). Image courtesy of Robert Nate

MRT Center (the national TV broadcast station, 1984)
 located in central Skopje. 

Image courtesy of Robert Nate

Modern architecture in Skopje circa 2000's.
Photo by Meglena Visinska

Modern architecture in Skopje circa 2000's.
Photo by Meglena Visinska
Modern architecture in Skopje circa 2000's.
Photo by Meglena Visinska
A government building in the modernist style,
with its facade now redesigned via the Skopje 2014 project.
Image courtesy of Robert Nate.
After the declaration of independence in 1991 with the push towards a more free-market economy would come further changes to the urban landscape. New seemingly radical designs would rise in opposition to the country's socialist past. With the country trying to propel itself into prominence & speak to the growing nationalism came the announcement, in 2010,  of the Skopje 2014 Project by the VMRO-DPMNE (ruling party, of which the President & Prime Minister are members). The project would see the rise of retro-antique buildings, with monumental-nationalistic statues and public art as well.

"The facade on this building will be changed, at a cost of 10 million Euro dollars, from classic 1970 – to a faux, or fake, neoclassical style facade. Personally, I see this as tragic. In my own city of Perth, Australia – a building from the 1960s which holds the local government council was once considered the “ugliest” in the city, and plans were made to demolish it. Now, the same building is one of the favourites in the whole city. You only get one chance to retain your architectural heritage. " [Robert Nate - from his post on Yomadic].
Porta Macedonia - part of the Skopje 2014 project.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
This re-vamping of the capital, to make it more like other major European cities, has given rise to a serious rift within the city & perhaps the country: 54% pro & 46% con [give or take a few #'s]. It has been criticized by some outside the country as well, not only for what is perceived as Kitschy, but also for what seems to be excessive spending (I.E - 10 million Euros for the re-modeling of one of the modernist government buildings in Skopje). And while its understandable why the government is done this, many feel the changes are robbing the city of some of its greatness.
Skopje 2014 Project. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
"I live in Skopje, and I must say with a great sadness in my heart, all that you saw is being brutally changed, and the face of the buildings is covered with some really bad “BAROQUE” style by the government. Skopje was never baroque! We were deep under the Ottoman influence. There were maybe 3, 4, maybe 5 buildings in “baroque”,  but those were the houses, or residential apartments for the European ambassadors. This is way so wrong what they are doing to this city. But the people that live in Skopje, can’t do anything!!!" [Goce - from the post on Yomadic by Robert Nate]

"I was there this summer...The fountain with Aleksandar the Great looks nice on the square..." [Pijlmans - Amsterdam]

Statue of Alexander The Great,
Macedonia Square - center of Skopje.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia. 
Aside from the urban changes, the project is aimed at re-vamping the perception of the country's identity with nationalistic statues  of Alexander  the Great, his father Philip II,  and others who feature heavily in the regions history. "historians are attempting to prove that there are historical links between the ancient state of Alexander the Great’s, Tsar Samuel, who was a ruler in the Medieval Balkans, and the modern Macedonia....Majority of Macedonians support the reformation process of Macedonian ethnic identity. Not surprisingly, thanks to his nationalistic statements on the issue, Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski managed to win the early elections and preserve the coalition partnership in the new term..." [Dr. Erhan Türbedar].

Computer model of Cevahir Towers,
to be completed in 2016.
The 4 towers will be the tallest in the city.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia
"Neo-Ottoman Turkey is using its soft and economic power to re-occupy Macedonia and the rest of the Balkans. Macedonians are generally blind and accept cash from anyone. Think long-term, Macedonia. Macedonians will regret the construction of these buildings." (Rob - comment from the article Macedonia's Tallest Towers Arise In Skopje on Balkan Insight)

"We managed to persuade the company to invest thanks to our low taxes, favorable construction land price and simple administrative procedures,” Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, who attended the ground-breaking ceremony, said.(Macedonia's Tallest Towers Arise In Skopje on Balkan Insight)

"I don’t find it amusing, but merely a logical step forward. Amusing, would be Macedonia forbidding trade and investments with Turkey because of past Ottoman conquests and thereby rule, even though the Ottoman empire hasn’t existed for almost 100 years. Other notable examples one can draw upon, to an extent, are country relations and forward momentum, given the wars with Germany and Japan." (John. A- comment reply to 'If only' from the article Macedonia's Tallest Towers Arise In Skopje on Balkan Insight)

"Amusing how Macedonians like Turkish money and investment, yet disavow and despise their Turkish Ottoman past by referring to it as an 'occupation'. One often wonders had the Balkans remained part of Turkey, we too might have benefited from a powerful, democratic and viable state that Turkey has once again become." (If only - comment about the article Macedonia's Tallest Towers Arise In Skopje on Balkan Insight)

There's no doubt that Skopje is becoming a more interesting city with passing year,
due to the major urban changes its undergoing [Rise Of The Young Ones]. However, it remains to be seen the long-term effects of these changes. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Hip-Jupiter and Beyond [Hypgnosis Mix]

One of this months cover,
design by K.K.W, layout by Aleksandar Ares.
Image is a photo of a still from the
short video.
Avant Garde film in Macedonia. Director of photography - Natasha Geleva [AKA:Leni von Geleva], editing - Vladimir Petrovski Karter, director - Jane Altiparmakov, produced by - Ljubisha Petrushevski, music by The Hip Model - Scarlet Woman By K.K.W
Natasha Geleva [AKA - Leni von Geleva]
Photo courtesy of the artist.
A seemingly barren landscape is the opening scene and the continual environment, save for a strange magnificent beetle (possibly a stag beetle), and a masked dark-haired woman. Beetles have been held as sacred to most cultures [Western civilization through Art Nouveau jewelry of the 1900′s was richly adorned with beetles and other insects. Ethnoentomological studies reveal beetles’ significance due to their importance as a food source and their ability to fly... in the sky and dive into the ground. The scarab is generally associated with old Egypt which indeed made this beetle their most important religious symbol. Yves Cambefort, Paris, France - 

"Beetles as Religious Symbols"] 

There's a deep sense of solitude and introversion, as in a trance-like state with an acid trip.
Jane Altiparmakov.
Courtesy of the artist.
The narrator's voice compelling the viewer like a manifesto from the subconscious - of the woman? Or others who speak through her? 
The eye, the hand, the body is presented to the viewer not as eye-candy, but perhaps something more. 

Eyes - the windows to the soul, the hand - touch, each one unique to the individual, the body - a conduit of experience. 

Duality through reflection is an aspect, or seems to be. The hand reflected, merging with itself, the woman laying in the grass, reflected, the rock formation that resembles a face, the screen splitting. 

Is the woman herself a symbol? We first see her sitting on the rocks, as if she's apart of  it - the earth. She seems to be waiting for someone, trying to communicate, and yet in her own world - moving between moments of confusion, insanity and total lucidity. As it ends she again rejoins the landscape, a darkness creeps over like the shadow of a lover coming into a dim-lit room.

As usual, Geleva & Altiparmakov deliver a deep amazingly well done work of art. The short film is filled meaning that goes beyond the visuals, with excellent music that carries you into the journey - away from yourself & into somewhere else.     
Photo: still image from the video. 
"Because I do not hope, because I do not hope to turn, because I do not hope to turn again. These wings are not the wings to fly... these eyes are not eyes to see, these ears are not ears to hear. I renounce the blessed faiths, and renounce the voice..." (dialogue from The Hip-Jupiter Beyond [Hypgnosis Mix])

If you would like to know more, go to:, or: "Art is the reason, art is the way"