How a Ukrainian designer showed love for her country at Paris Fashion Week


Ukrainian designer Lilia Litkovska presented her new collection during Paris Fashion Week. Photo: AFP

After paying a vibrant tribute to her native Ukraine in the French capital's Jardin Des Tuileries for the Spring/Summer 2023 season, Lilia Litkovska presented her new collection at the Grand Rex on March 1 during Paris Fashion Week.

These creations, made in Kyiv amid endless power cuts and the constant threat of new attacks, bear witness to the designer's resistance and the love she and her teams have for a country to which she is waiting to return.

What is the theme of this new collection, presented at the Grand Rex in Paris?

In every Litkovska collection we [strive] to encourage people for discovery of oneself, [to have] sincere conversations with their inner world. The new On Air collection is not an exception. In the modern buzz of life, we often do not realise our consumption, whether it’s food, clothes or information.

What if we question ourselves on essential desires and needs first, rather than blindly follow the tendency? Presumably, that will help to become the main character of life instead of being the audience.

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Last season, you paid tribute to Ukraine through traditional elements and crafts made in Ukraine. Will it be the same again for Autumn/Winter 2023?

Perhaps last season it was more obvious, though tradition and Ukrainian culture has always been sewed into Litkovska, those are fundamental roots. Though, I love finding ways of new interpretations, creating new senses.

In the On Air collection, the trace of tradition is mostly traced in accessories.

The show was held on March 1, a few days after the first anniversary of the Russian invasion. Will it have a special resonance?

The fact that the new collection was produced in Kyiv, during ongoing brutal war, under constant threat of missile attacks, with constant blackouts, logistics issues and numerous other difficulties, has all [it takes] to be a resonance already.

We communicate our resistance and love through our label. It is a great honor and responsibility to be the only Ukrainian brand in the official schedule of Paris Fashion Week.

You have occasionally established your workshops in Paris, before reopening them in Kyiv. Why was it important to return to Ukraine?

The workshop in Paris was actually established later, then production in Kyiv resumed. [A] week or two in full-scale war, we relocated to Lviv for some time for the sake of the safety of the team.

The opportunity to work and create means a lot to them. I’m grateful to have such a dedicated crew. Ukraine is where our craft and inspiration flourish, that speaks through every detail of Litkovska. We do this best when we are based where the soul of our brand lies.

A model wears a creation as part of the Lilia Litkovska Autumn/Winter 2023 show. Photo: APA model wears a creation as part of the Lilia Litkovska Autumn/Winter 2023 show. Photo: AP

You yourself live in France, so you go back and forth to Ukraine. Is it difficult, or on the contrary essential, to keep a link with your country?

It is not as easy, considering it's two days' travel one way, but it is definitely essential. While I appreciate the warm welcome and support of France, the spectrum of feelings, inspiration and emotions is experienced in full only in my homeland.

What are the characteristics of Ukrainian handicraft?

Handicrafts have always been the purest form of love for me. Since often the traditional techniques and unique knowledge are carried over by generations over centuries. The Ukrainian handicraft is the ocean with infinite depth, different depending on a region, yet representing the same culture.

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In times of war, culture is often a target for the invader. But Ukrainian creativity seems to be in a period of effervescence. How would you explain that?

Because that is what we protect and what no one can really take from us. Ukrainian creativity has always been vibrant, talented and meaningful, perhaps it seems more enthusiastic now because of all attention on Ukraine.

I’m happy the world is discovering Ukrainian artists, shame it is happening at such a price.

Are you able to project yourself into the future, and imagine a definitive return to a peaceful Ukraine?

I envision it in the nearest future.

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