Serbian runway honours shooting victim with Dior designs

  • World
  • Saturday, 13 Apr 2024

A model presents a creation, co-created by a designer working for Dior and several other Serbian designers, based on drawings of dresses by Angelina Acimovic, who was among the victims of an unprecedented Belgrade elementary school mass shooting last May, during a Fashion Week in Belgrade Serbia, April 12, 2024. REUTERS/Zorana Jevtic

BELGRADE (Reuters) - Jelena Acimovic is not a model, but on Friday evening she walked the runaway at Belgrade Fashion Week in a dress designed by Dior after drawings by her 14-year old sister who was killed in a school massacre last year.

Angelina Acimovic was in history class when her classmate, a 13-year old boy, entered the school and killed nine pupils and a guard in a shooting spree.

"This dress is white and resembles a wedding dress, she did not live long enough to see me as bride," Jelena said before the show.

To commemorate Angelina's life, her family last year called on designers to make dresses after her drawings made when she was 10 years old and attended a designers course for children.

Many Serbian designers responded and two dresses were made by Dior. Angelina's two sisters, nine of her young friends and several professional models walked the runaway wearing dresses.

"In every drawing there was joy and beauty. She had a very serious approach," said Bata Spasojevic, a Serbian designer who was among the first designers to respond to the Acimovic family's call to revive their daughter's sketches.

Angelina's other sister, Marija, wore an elegant sleeveless pink dress with a train. Pink was Angelina's favourite colour, she said.

"I am thinking about Angelina, that she is with us this evening and that she is happy with what we are doing," Marija said.

Andjelko Acimovic, Angelina's father, established a foundation named after his youngest daughter to commemorate her life.

"We believe that she is watching what we do and we will do everything to make her proud the way she made us proud," Acimovic said.

Last year 18 people were killed in two shootings - one in elementary school and another one in a small town outside Belgrade - on May 3 and 4.

The two shootings shocked Serbia and triggered the biggest anti-government protests since the Serbian Progressive Party took power in 2012, prompting the government to call a snap election.

(Reporting by Ivana Sekularac; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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