From the beautiful beaches of Odessa to the music and visual impact of Kiev, Ukraine is quickly solidifying its place as a top destination for travel and culture. But talk to any Ukrainian and they’ll tell you the real artistic heart of the country lies in Lviv, a historic city near the country’s northwest border with Poland.
Lviv stands as a marked contrast to its eastern and central Ukraine counterparts; the city’s old town feels distinctly western European, largely influenced by the area’s time spent under Habsburg rule. In today’s Lviv, the youth rule, and streets are lively with the music and pleasant chaos of a creative urban environment — making it the ideal place for a fashion week all its own.
This past weekend, Lviv Fashion Week celebrated another season of Ukrainian fashion, bringing out some of the best the country has to offer over the course of four days. Here are some standouts from the week.
We highlighted Balossa the last time we covered Lviv Fashion Week, and it’s with good cause that we highlight them again this year. Blending the elegance and richness of last year’s collection with a newfound concurrent simplicity and unpredictability, Balossa showed meaningful, appreciable growth, making their SS20 collection an immediate eye-catcher. Loose fits pair with raw edges and sharp colour contrasts work to, in an odd way, round out even the most disparate pieces. Designer Indra Kaffemanaite pulled from a range of sources for this collection — most appreciably street fashion, which showed its subtle face throughout the show in everything from the roughly tied coats to the frenzied layering of some pieces.
Up next is Chereshnivska, which brought a collection rooted in the digital error that frequently affects modern technology. Incorporating the colour mixing and glitching of information overload, designer Anastasia Rozova brought a vibrant and conscious collection. Much like real life, these “glitches” rarely enveloped a piece; rather, they caught the edges, drawing the eyes away from the body of each piece toward its individual elements. Says the designer, “It’s like in life; we are under the influence of what we see and hear. It drags us down and we stop hearing ourselves.”
Streetwear was a marked presence at Lviv Fashion Week, with its influence felt in a range of collections. Among the streetwear presenters was HAVRYLIV, which brought a workwear-influenced collection rich with colour and style. Pieces took an admitted influence from some current trends in American streetwear — boiler suits and technical wear haven’t left the spotlight — but brought their local own character. Buckled belts were ever-present, and the brand’s ability to play with size and emphasis made for a collection that, while inconsistent at times, stood out positively in our memory of the week.
While labels like HAVRYLIV found inspiration abroad, others, such as Ukrainian label Nit.kA, looked to Ukrainian history and style for the basis of their collection. The result is a collection ripe with the colour, shape and emotional spirit of Ukraine. “We believe that our new collection will make you fall in love with the ethnic symbolism of Ukrainian culture,” says the brand — and that sentiment shows. Floral knits and pattern-heavy coats varied the collection, emphasising shades and patterns prominent throughout the history of Ukraine. With each element added, new meaning was brought to the collection: everything from roses and peonies to spikes and waves all relates to the Ukrainian cultural imagination, and their integration into the collection told a story across a spectrum of colours and shapes.
Closing out our coverage of Lviv Fashion Week is Zalesova. Much like Chereshnivska, Zalesova was inspired by the dizzying speed at which our world is currently during. However, rather than try to represent it, the brand fought it, going back to basics to creating wear to an active, modern world. “The only ever-popular trend is being true, being yourself,” says the brand, and in this collection, it seemed they were making their best effort to emphasise the wearer by sticking with simplicity while at the same time adding touches to breathe life into the pieces. For example, much of the collection was made in straight-forward tan and black, yet the experimentation and curiosity behind each work are immediately apparent, taking the form of “asymmetric details, inserts, drapery and unusual decoration,” as the brand explains. In conclusion, Lviv Fashion Week was a whirlwind, and we can’t wait to see what they have to offer next season.
See what else Lviv Fashion Week had to offer on their website.
words. Braden Bjella