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Culture Chic: Romani Design updates traditional styles with modern flair

Photo: Romani Design

Friday, September 12, 2014 — Nick Robertson

Bright floral patterns, flowing black fabrics, and beaded jewelry are motifs commonly associated with the traditional clothing styles of Central Europe’s Roma community, and thanks to the work of several innovative Budapest-based designers, these attractive fashion elements now add distinction to a complete new collection of 21st-century women’s wear.

Founded by Hungarian couturier Erika Varga in 2010, Romani Design is an enterprise aiming to create appealing contemporary attire that defies stereotypical expectations while remaining true to the customary aesthetic roots of Roma society. Varga’s latest line of dresses, skirts, tops, and more is generating considerable interest in the regional style world after premiering this summer at a gala fashion show held in the main hall of Budapest’s Museum of Fine Arts.

To complement this new collection, Varga teamed up with jewelry designer Gabriella Diós, who created several intriguing porcelain pieces featuring colorful beads, curvaceous oversized charms, and large flat pendants emblazoned with floral motives and embellished with dangling golden orbs.

Photo: Romani Design

Also assisting in the latest Romani Design line, Helena Varga crafted a series of accessories and purses that reflect traditional styles of the Roma community, including black bags embroidered with intertwined boughs of red roses and other vivid flowers; meanwhile, Etelka Süli created corresponding decorations like the floral headdresses that crowned many of the outfits at the collection’s fashion-show debut.

Photo: Romani Design

In addition to creating unique couture that is affordably priced, Romani Design is also dedicated to providing local education in the fashion industry by hosting creative classes for disadvantaged children and training to unemployed women of all ethnicities, providing skills and opportunities that are often unavailable elsewhere.

Photo: Romani Design

The Romani Design Fashion Studio is located in downtown Pest’s District VII at Erzsébet krt. 26, and visitors are welcome by appointment; log onto www.romani.hu or www.facebook.com/romanidesign for more details.

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