Diplomacy & Fashion founder and wife of the Ambassador of the Czech Republic Indira Gumarova hosted a special preview of couture clothing by Czech fashion designer Petra Ptáčková on September 23, 2020.
After many months behind closed doors due to this year’s Covid-19 pandemic, Gumarova, through her unwavering passion for fashion, inspired the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Washington, DC, to allow visitors on the Embassy grounds for the first time for a fashion installation of environmentally sustainable clothing by up and coming Czech fashion designer Ptáčková. Guests explored the vast, secret meadows of the Embassy in search of functional pieces, offering a taste of Ptačková’s collections and understanding the designer’s influences, creativity and philosophy behind them.
In her introduction to guests, Gumarova emphasized that “the fashion industry is one of the most polluting of all the industries” and that is why she admires Ptáčková’s approach of sustainability, adding, “She is an innovative Czech fashion designer who is reinventing fashion and pushing the industry into new directions.” Hence, throughout the installation, importance was placed on the designer’s cognizance on making an impact on the world via her zero waste, sustainable approach to making clothes. In Ptačková’s own words, “Every piece... is carefully measured and crafted with no waste of material remaining. Each cut will find its place whether it is a functional or decorative element.”
Guests also relished in experiencing all five senses while exploring the hidden oasis of couture within the Embassy’s wooded trails. Discovering fashion of magical realism, guests found that Ptačková’s designs are wearable yet creative, being able to transform in function, challenging one to discover and explore each piece like a puzzle. Hats turn into pillows. Coats turn into bags. The multi-functionalism is a work of art in itself.
Albeit Ptáčková could not be present due to travel restrictions, guests were able to get to know the designer through several very personal collections. Several years ago, Ptáčková was involved in a serious bicycle accident, which she turned into a spiritual awakening. Seeing double, these designs demonstrate a new meaning in colors and conceiving each piece. Other designs reflect Ptáčková’s nostalgia for her homeland, the Czech Republic. Created while working abroad, the designer experimented with the colors of the Czech flag as well as denim, which was hard to come by in her childhood.
The evening culminated with a welcome by Ambassador of the Czech Republic Hynek Kmoníček and his wife in the pool garden of their historic residence. The guests, including prominent government officials as well as known fashion influencers, discussed fashion and enjoyed much longed for in-person cultural performances by harpist Suzanne Sugar and dancers Alex Sargent and Kailah Doles. Adhering to local regulations, the number of guests was strictly limited and all guests were required to wear masks, sanitize their hands, and practice social distancing.
Fashion in the Garden – BOLD LOOKS is part of the Czech Embassy’s Mutual Inspirations Festival 2020 – John Amos Comenius. Comenius, who hails from today’s lands of the Czech Republic and remains known as the Father of Modern Education, transformed the world through his vision and push for universal education. To heighten curiosity, Comenius encouraged teaching through play. Ptáčková relates to this philosophy through her creativity. Her fashion is the result of a vibrant journey of playful inspiration.
Diplomacy & Fashion and the Embassy of the Czech Republic thank the following partners for their support: Bell Flight, Pohanka Automotive Group, Du Plain Enterprises, New York New Work, FC Group, International Women’s Media Foundation, Kirsten Fedewa & Associates, Yes She May, Joi Luck Club, and the Washington National Opera – The Kennedy Center.
Coinciding with global fashion week, Fashion in the Garden – BOLD LOOKS will be open to the public every Tuesday and Thursday from September 29- October 15, 2020. Reservations are required and can be made at: https://boldlooks.eventbrite.com.
MORE ABOUT THE FASHION DESIGNER: Petra Ptáčková, a graduate of the prestigious Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, was listed "30 under 30" in the Czech Forbes Magazine. Since then, her career has launched, with three nominations for the Czech Grand Design Award. Her work has been featured on runways all around the world, including New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, Kiev, Madrid, the Netherlands (Modefabriek) to name a few, and graced the pages of such magazines as Vogue, Elle, Cosmopolitan, W and the online magazine Hypebeast, among others. This is the first time her work is on view in Washington, DC. For more information about the artist, please visit https://petraptackova.com/.