London Fashion Week spotlights creativity and resilience of Ukrainian designers
Three of Ukraine’s most prominent designers have shown their latest collections on the final day of London Fashion Week (LFW).
Kseniaschnaider, Paskal and Frolov made their LFW debut at the Old Selfridges Hotel, as Ukrainian Fashion Week has been cancelled due to the war.
At the beginning of the show, a voice on the speakers said: “These collections are and will continue to be a piece of history, symbolic of the resilience and courage of Ukraine and its people.”
It came at a poignant time, just after Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a state-of-the-nation address, and days before the war’s first anniversary on Friday.
On each seat was a description of each designer’s collection, a Ukrainian flag and a QR code for UNITED24 – the official fundraising platform of Ukraine.
Kseniaschnaider – founded by husband and wife team Ksenia and Anton Schnaider – opened the show.
The brand is known for its use of denim and commitment to sustainability.
The show notes said the collection was “designed during the war and produced under raid sirens in Ukraine”.
Despite the circumstances, it was infused “with an air of hope and positivity”.
Denim ran throughout the collection, in edgy pairs of jeans and cut-offs. There were also plenty of sporty elements, including a tailored tracksuit and Adidas trainers.
It was given a distinctly Ukrainian feel with the addition of traditional patchworking techniques and models with braids in their hair.
Dead stock ties were used throughout the collection, patchworked into blazers and skirts.
According to the show notes, this was a symbol of Ukrainian men no longer needing ties – instead only wearing military uniforms.
Next came Paskal, by designer Julie Paskal, whose collection, called Out of Cocoon, had everything themed around butterflies.
Models wore dresses and skirts in pastel pinks and blues, almost completely covered in delicate, laser-cut butterflies.
It seemed to take inspiration from 90s fashion, with crop tops, slip dresses and visible thong detailing on some outfits.
Frolov closed the show, helmed by designer Ivan Frolov.
Frolov has become a celebrity favourite, most recently worn by Beyonce during her first performance in five years at the opening of Atlantis The Royal in Dubai.
She donned a see-through pink minidress with silver detailing from the brand.
For the autumn/winter collection, the show notes said Frolov was inspired by “reflections of the current events in Ukraine, and the value of Ukrainian cultural heritage”.
This collection had the most options for the red carpet, from white tulle gowns with corset detailing to pink power suits.
A heart motif ran throughout the outfits, which is described as “the everlasting element of the brand”.
Swarovski crystals embellished many of the outfits, and knitwear featured the Ukrainian fertility symbol, an ear of grain.
The show ended with Ksenia Schnaider, Julie Paskal and Ivan Frolov walking the runway holding the Ukrainian flag with the UNITED24 logo.
After the show, Ukrainian Kate Kadeniuk, who works in PR for Kseniaschnaider, told the PA news agency: “It’s a dream to present our country, our culture, our view of living in the real world in London.”
Kadeniuk wants the show to highlight “our technique, our Ukrainian hand, what we put in our designs”.
This includes the patchwork used by Kseniaschnaider and the corset detailing in the Frolov collection.