Ukraine designer evokes the pain of war at New York Fashion Week show

  • Style
  • Saturday, 17 Sep 2022

Fashion shows rarely begin with a moment of silence, but that is what Ukrainian designer Svitlana Bevza did for her country to decry the Russian invasion. Photo: AFP

Fashion shows rarely begin with a moment of silence, but that is what Ukrainian designer Svitlana Bevza did for her country to decry the Russian invasion during New York Fashion Week.

She went on to present a collection rich in patriotic symbols.

Bevza is an old hand at New York Fashion Week, where she has appeared since 2017.

She is based in Kyiv and has her workshops there but was forced to leave after the invasion in late February, and its endless explosions and sirens, to protect her two children.

Read more: Janet Jackson sat front row at NYFW 'old Hollywood-infused' runway show

Her husband Volodymyr Omelyan, a politician who was a government minisister from 2016 to 2019, stayed home to fight. You can see him on her Instagram account, dressed in military garb and carrying a gun.

Bevza's Spring/Summer 2022 collection, entitled Fragile Motherland and unveiled at a building on Wall Street, was highly political.

The blue and yellow Ukrainian flag was projected onto a wall.

"Some people maybe do not understand that this is going for real. And today is the 202nd day of war in Ukraine. And there's thousands of people dead," she said.

"I was forced to leave the country with my kids. And my husband is at war," she added.

She presented tops that are sensual when worn with skirts or pants but still recall bullet-proof vests. Some look like shields that expose the shoulders and navel.

Grains of wheat -- symbols of fertile Ukraine as a bread basket to the world – have a narrative stream through the collection.

Read more: 'Earth is now our only shareholder': Patagonia owner gives away fashion brand

A Bevza necklace depicts them, charred black because "a lot of wheat was burned by Russians", she said.

The ample cut of some of her skirts also recalls the fit of Ukrainian farm women harvesting wheat.

"There is a deep sacred meaning of the bread itself and the wheat that came through centuries," she said, pointing to famine in the 1930s that was blamed on Stalin.

"What we protect now, we protect the fertile lands. And what we are basically fighting for is to live free, to live in peace in our land," the designer said. – AFP

Article type: free
User access status:
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Next In Style

How men are overshadowing�women when it comes to red carpet fashion
Menswear taking centre stage, as the fashion industry shifts its focus to guys
Style Watch: Young entrepreneur Asma’ Nasaruddin lives in the fashion fast lane
'He wanted to cash in on the Birkin name': Hermes takes on NFT creator in court
Grammys fashion: Taylor Swift, Lizzo, Harry Styles and more, dazzle on red carpet
Are pets becoming fashion icons? Luxury petwear is on the rise
Kendall Jenner has made bleached eyebrows a beauty trend, but is it safe to DIY?
Maye Musk (yes, Elon's mother) is over 70 years old and still modelling
How about clothes made out of algae? The future of fashion now grows in a pond
What's your season? Social media users discover fashion's colour analysis method

Others Also Read