On the final day of London Fashion Week, the British Fashion Council hosted a special runway show with Ukrainian Fashion Week, giving designers Kseniaschnaider, Paskal and Frolov the opportunity to present their autumn/winter 2023 collections.
The three Ukrainian guest designers held a joint show in London as what would have been the 50th edition of Ukrainian Fashion Week was canceled due to the ongoing Russian invasion.
As the show was about to begin, an audio message told attendees that the collections were designed and produced under air raid sirens and that the collections were “symbolic of the resilience and courage of Ukraine and its people.”
After each designer presented their AW23 collections, Ksenia Schnaider, Julie Paskal and Ivan Frolov gathered to walk the runway in the Ukrainian flag with the United24 logo, the official fundraising platform launched by Ukrainian President Zelensky to support Ukraine.
Founded in 2011 by married couple Ksenia Schnaider and Anton Schnaider, Kyiv-based Kseniaschnaider opened the storefront with a collection of sustainable and wasteful materials that celebrated “joy and positivity” despite the harsh conditions in which it was made.
The reality of the ongoing war, which this week marks one year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, was highlighted by the use of dead ties, an item of clothing that men in Ukraine no longer need as they wear military uniforms.
“The pieces are meant to transport the wearer to a place of happiness and joy, if only for a moment,” Kseniaschnaider explained on her social media.
Paskal, founded by Julia Paskal in 2013, returned to the catwalk for the first time in three years with her ‘Out of Cocoon’ collection filled with fluttering butterflies adorning voluminous tops, mini dresses and skirts.
“One look at a butterfly’s wings can change everything,” Pascal explains in the show notes, as she uses the delicate insect as a metaphor for the beauty and fragility of life.
Couture-to-wear brand Frolov, founded in 2015 by Ivan Frolov, was the latest brand to present its “Song to Song” collection inspired by Ukrainian folk songs and the human heart, which is its anatomical symbol his brand name.
The heart of love is woven throughout the collection, as seductive cuts on dresses, as Swarovski embellishments and carried by the models as heart-shaped bags.
On his Instagram, Frolov said: “This fashion show on the catwalk of London Fashion Week is the manifestation of our will. This is the fulfillment of our strength and resilience. This is a reflection of the courage of all Ukrainians. To create in spite of everything. Despite working in the most unstable and difficult conditions, under the sounds of sirens. Together with our teams, we continue to work on the collections.
“We know that all this is for the sake of our common peaceful future. For the sake of inviting all of you next season to our show in liberated and free Ukraine. We will never destroy, but always create.”
The Ukrainian Fashion Week exhibition was made possible thanks to the support of USAID’s Competitive Economy Program in Ukraine.