The Ukrainian designer evoked the pain of war at the NY fashion show

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Fashion shows rarely start quietly, but that’s what Ukrainian designer Svitlana Bevza did Tuesday night to ease her country’s Russian invasion.

She presented a collection rich in symbols of patriotism.

Bevza is an old hand at New York Fashion Week where she has appeared since 2017. She is based in Kiev and has her workshops there but was forced to leave after the invasion at the end of February, and the endless explosions and sirens, to protect her. Two children.

She stayed home to fight her politician husband, Voldimir Omelia, who was a government minister from 2016 to 2019. On her Instagram account, you can see him wearing a military uniform and holding a gun, AFP reported.

Bevza’s spring-summer collection, which was unveiled in a building on Wall Street, was highly political, titled “Fraggy Motherland.” The blue and yellow Ukrainian flag hung on the wall.

“Some people don’t understand that this is true. And today is the 202nd day of war in Ukraine. And thousands of people have died,” she told AFP.

She added, “I was forced to leave my country with my children. And my husband is at war.”

She presented tops that were sensual yet still reminiscent of bulletproof clothing when worn with skirts or pants. Some look like shields that expose the shoulders and navel.

Grains of wheat — no Ukrainian symbols like a bread basket for the world — have a narrative in the collection. “A lot of wheat was burned by the Russians,” Bevza’s necklace explained, charred black.

The sheer cut of some of her dresses is reminiscent of Ukrainian peasant women harvesting wheat.

“There is a deep sacred meaning to the bread itself and the wheat that has come down through the ages,” she says, pointing to the famines blamed on Stalin in the 1930s.

“Now we are protecting fertile lands. And basically we are fighting to live in freedom, to live in peace in our land,” the designer said.




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