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Meet Ukrainian designers who bring wit and optimism to London Fashion Week

On the last morning of London Fashion Week, three Ukrainian designers presented their latest collections at the Newgen runway space in the old Selfridges Hotel: Far From Home and Studio Thousands of Miles Away , and even further afield they might have imagined they would be 12 months ago. (February24 marks the year since Russia first announced its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.)

An initiative by the organizers of Ukrainian Fashion Week and supported by British Fashion The importance of the Association’s support and its timing has not gone unnoticed. “It was very important for us to prove that a year has passed and we have not been manipulated by war,” said Ivan Frolov of the Frolov brand, known for its corsets, crystals and kamp; on the runway this week. “We are so strong that even in these dire circumstances the DNA of our brand has not changed.”

Although it is not possible to hold a show in Ukraine in the current circumstances In this case, most of the fashion people there – even those who temporarily emigrate – still have their studios, pay taxes, produce and, perhaps most importantly, their friends, family and supporters. their hometown. The display proves that even in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges, the spirit of designers remains undefeated. “When I was working in my studio, I would hear rockets flying by, or we would have to run to a bomb shelter,” says Paskal’s Julia Paskal with a shrug. “But that’s how we live now.”


First to be shown is Kseniaschnaider, the Kiev label launched in 2011 by Ksenia and Anton Schnaider, a mainstay of Ukrainian Fashion Week and consistently worn by Bella Hadid Hadid and Dua Lipa, among others. The label’s commitment to sustainability has seen them develop a distinct aesthetic that emphasizes paneling, asymmetry, denim and athletic silhouettes; here a collection is realized, which Schnaider notes could be hers to do The most optimistic works.

In this spirit of optimism, it has been a very good week in London. Few can match Paskal, whose menagerie of butterflies of all shapes and sizes adorn nearly every surface of her stunning laser-cut tops and dresses. and her home base in Odessa.) For Paskal, part of the excitement of being part of the show was feeling surrounded by community again. “I’m proud to be presenting the collections here with my friends because we can all support each other,” she said. “This would not have been possible if not for everyone around me.”

For Paskal, the butterfly is a powerful symbol of her country’s rejuvenation and rejuvenation over the past year. “It’s a metaphor for the fragility and beauty of life,” she says, “but I’m attracted to it in other ways too: it’s innocent, feminine, and sensual.” (Paskal is certainly the one on display. The most whimsical of the three collections, her powder-blue and baby-pink butterfly mini dress was a firm nod to fashion’s ongoing Y2K craze.) But Paskal’s laser-cut magic worked far beyond the runway, too. : She also used her studio and resources to make nets for the military. “That’s the balance we all need to find in order to win,” said the designer.


Finally the work of Frolov, another one of the industry The designer has been working for almost a decade, but he recently received a new wave of attention after Beyoncé chose one of his designs as her favorite – in anticipation of the opening of the Atlantis Royal Hotel in Dubai Performance. (You might also have spotted his designs in Sam Smith’s “I’m Not Here to Make Friends” video, which included corset hot pants with heart-shaped cutouts, which caused a stir when the visual dropped earlier this month. A tabloid sensation.) For his London debut collection, designer Ivan Frolov’s signature heart motif was cut in bolder cuts or embellished with Swarovski crystals, and more playful details complemented many elegant semi-couture eveningwear , these evening gowns featured dramatic net drapes and carefully cinched bodice.

However, while Frolov’s first priority was to show his more outlandish designs Instinct would not be swayed by the circumstances of the war, but he also noted that this week’s fashion show was a platform and an opportunity to remind the world that war is far from over. “We want to reiterate that Ukrainian soldiers on the front lines are protecting not only Ukraine, but the entire world from this threat,” he said. “Of course, it’s difficult at times, but it’s a way for us to show how strong we are.”

In fact, all three designers noted that they were initially reluctant to continue using their brand in the face of the devastation that surrounded them when the war broke out, but they ultimately made the decision to do so Means backing down in the face of Russian aggression. Stifling the spirit of the Ukrainian people — even if only their creative spirit — is itself a concession. At the end of the show, they walked down the runway holding Ukrainian flags emblazoned with the logo of United, the official Ukrainian fundraising platform launched by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.



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