Ukrainian designers 'escape reality' at London Fashion Week

By Sarah Mills

LONDON (Reuters) - Unable to show in their war-torn homeland, three Ukrainian fashion designers hit the runway at London Fashion Week on Tuesday, delighted to showcase some colour and joy.

In the first of back-to-back shows, fashion house KSENIASCHNAIDER mixed denim jeans and dresses with white tops and multicoloured patchwork outfits in an eco-friendly collection.

"Circumstances are so unusual," designer Ksenia Schnaider told Reuters. "I just want to escape the reality ... I just want to bring joy and something beautiful."

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine almost a year ago, Schnaider said running the brand she shares with her husband Anton has been tough.

"When we were working on this collection ... there were constant blackouts, so we had to buy a huge generator and control the timing of using electricity so it was really tense," she said.


Also taking to the catwalk was PASKAL, with a range that included delicate dresses in blue, black and white with cutout butterfly shapes and attachments.

"We represented our country in London and it was extraordinary and powerful," designer Julie Paskal said.

The other brand on the lineup, one worn by the likes of singers Dua Lipa and Gwen Stefani, was FROLOV.

Designer Ivan Frolov said he was inspired by Ukrainian songs for this collection which featured corset dresses in colours like pink, red and black, with heart shapes cut from them as well as hand-knit sweaters.

"I just want to say how we appreciate London Fashion Week and The British Fashion Council," he added, saying the support was vital to keep their businesses going.

At the end of the show the designers appeared together with a Ukrainian flag with the UNITED24 logo, the fundraising platform created by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Keen to make sure their talent is seen, Ukrainian designers will also be showing in Berlin and Copenhagen.

(Reporting by Sarah Mills; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)