By Diane Small
She’s strong. She’s brave. She wears an armour of recycled metals and leathers. She’s an eco warrior Princess, but her garments are made of pure rubbish – mainly discarded pop tabs and Coke cans. Yet she wears them proudly, strutting like the Queen of the World in her fiercely sharp garments.
That’s the vibe that designer Laura Smarandache was going for when she created these unique dresses, tops and headdresses. Photographer Bodgan Teodorov decided to capture the regal beauty of Laura’s work through a fashion shoot in Romania’s eerily beautiful Cazino Constanta.
Designated an historic monument by the Romanian Ministry of Culture and National Patrimony, the casino was built three separate times, with the first structure being erected of wood in 1880. It was designed to be a club and community centre for elite and upper-class socialites who loved to bet.
The most recent version of the casino, which was once considered Romania’s Monte Carlo, was built in Art Nouveau style according to the plans of architect Daniel Renard in 1910.
The casino was in full, swinging operation until it was attacked and bombed by Bulgarian and German troops in World War 1. During World War 2 it acted as a makeshift wartime hospital, and after the war, it was seized by the Communist government and became a House of Culture for the party.
With the end of Communism in Romania, the building was sadly abandoned, but it was the perfect venue to express the fashion designer’s vision of how beauty can be found in what has been discarded.
“I’m surprised that Laura’s work isn’t better known,” said the photographer of her designs. “What she is doing is one of a kind, and it’s as painstaking to create these gowns from cut and sewn drinks cans as it would be to make couture gown, for example.”
We think that though Laura’s work may not be shown on catwalks around the world right now, it won’t be long before her talent for creating sustainable luxury fashion from upcycled goods is more renowned.
Photographer: Bogdan Teodorov
Dresses: Laura Smarandache (made solely from recycled materials)
Hair & Makeup: Gabriela Catrina
Models: Adelina & Ana Maria @Max1 Models
Location: Cazino Constanta
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