Photos by Warren Chow
When something as forward-thinking as fashion collides with a design-build professional’s sharply honed mind, the results can be explosive. A case in point is New York architect Margarita Mileva, who turns discarded rubber bands into curiously stretchy jewelry. Mileva turned heads in September when she unveiled a cocktail-ready frock made entirely from the ubiquitous office supply. For her encore performance, she transformed nearly nine pounds of the springy stuff—or 14,235 rubber bands—into a high-fashion gown worthy of its Bauhaus and Paul Klee influences.
SNAP TO IT
Dubbed the “RB Dress,” Mileva’s impressive piece was originally designed for the Wear is Art competition in Berlin. Using the techniques she developed with her accessories collection, Mileva constructed the dress entirely by hand, painstakingly weaving thousands of rubber bands of all colors and sizes into one succinct design.
Mileva constructed the dress entirely by hand, painstakingly weaving thousands of rubber bands.
Raised in a family with sculptor mother and a painter father, Mileva is inspired by a variety of art forms, including the work of Swiss-German painter Klee and the early Bauhaus pioneers. The dress is a well-thought-out arrangement of compelling shapes, volumes, and colors similar to those in Klee’s paintings, particularly The Black Prince and The Golden Fish.
“I was intrigued by the pastel colors used together with the black, darker ones; the black outlines and texture-like “fabric” of his works,” Mileva explains. “For me also of utmost importance is [Klee’s] color theory, which he developed and taught to Bauhaus students.”
As an architect, Mileva is no stranger to diagrammatic studies of complex forms, and her interpretation of these elements, as seen through a Bauhaus lens, informs her design.
The Bauhaus movement was founded on the principle of creating a “total” work of art.
“In the designing of the RB Dress, I was interested in making colored shapes that are actually geometrical ones, like purple rhombus and circles, yellow triangles, green square and rectangular shapes, red and blue spheres, colored lines and black lines,” she says. “There is a very strong structure, pattern, and math behind the colorful palette of the dress.”
The Bauhaus movement was founded on the principle of creating a “total” work of art, in which all disciplines, including architecture, coexist harmoniously. Mileva achieves exactly that, infusing her dress with the same ideals that shaped the world we know today.