Klaudia Stavreva is a women’swear designer with a distinct intuitive approach to fashion. Her work aims to redefine femininity by abandoning conventional, feminist driven adaptations of male style, and returning to women’s sexuality as the basis for feminine identity performance. She is inspired by the alternative, the intruder, the newcomer, in French ‘la tierce’, who captivates the curiosity of the local and mundane. These notions of primal femininity are embodied by intriguing textiles and shapes, which are composed from intuitively sourced unconventional materials and transformed with an haute couture mentality. Evolution is key in the design process. Old ideas and textiles evolve into new garments, cherishing an emotional bond with each other and the designer, resulting in sensual and genuinely feminine fashion.
The Laugh of the Medusa is inspired by the search for the ‘feminine feminine’, similar to women’s writing of French feminist foundational theorists from the 1970s. Écriture féminine is the inscription of the female body and female difference in language and text, which rebels against the linguistic tradition established by men from a male point of view. Hélène Cixous first coined écriture féminine in her essay, ‘The Laugh of the Medusa’ (1975), where she asserts ‘Woman must write her self: must write about women and bring women to writing, from which they have been driven away as violently as from their bodies’ because their sexual pleasure has been repressed and denied expression.
Klaudia Stavreva explores new ways of sensual female empowerment, triggered by a personal experience. During one occasion her only dressing option was a pair of torn leggings that revealed her intimate parts. She thought to have solved the problem by pulling a skirt over the legging. Yet on her way to work, she felt a light breathe caressing her naked skin. The notion that her private parts were exposed in a public space, yet hidden from the outside world, felt empowering and boosted her sexual awareness during the rest of the day.
In her collection, Stavreva aims to liberate the ‘feminine feminine’ through a complex internal construction and details that sensually stimulate the female sexuality. In this way, feminine emotions form the protective outer layer that fluently accentuates the female form. The garments become ‘the body without organs’, an image used by French philosopher Gilles Deleuze in reference to a ‘language without articulation’ that has more to do with the primal act of making sound than it does with communicating specific words. Similarly Stavreva’s garments focus on the organic communication of feminine emotions, rather than tailoring a shell around them.