Held for the very first time in November 1997, Ukrainian Fashion Week was the first real, runway-based, event dedicated to fashion within Eastern Europe. With more than 50 shows -as well as presentations- on its calendar, this dynamic fashion week keeps introducing a new wave of Ukrainian designers within the heart of Kyiv, its vibrant capital city.
Trying to understand the essence of Ukrainian fashion is no easy task, despite brands such as Litkovskaya, Paskal and Vita Kin enjoying international growth and success. If simplicity and construction appeal to the industry’s most prominent names, a subversive touch is also part of the local fashion jargon, avoiding sartorial clichés and promoting individuality. More cerebral and conceptual than their Russian or Georgian peers, Ukrainian designers like to play with contradictions while avoiding gimmicks and gratuitous effects.
This season, the best collections turned gender on its head, underlining the strength of ambivalence and exchange. Womenswear toughened-up -mainly through sharp and oversize tailoring- while menswear became tactile and more delicate, with transparency and embroidered motifs catching the eye. Artem Klimchuk did not disappoint with his precise and confident show. He has an actual following in Ukraine and his menswear looks were the best, emphasizing a subtle balance between soft and hard. At Flow The Label, Viktoria Balaniuk focused on intricate cuts and androgynous styles, from utility-inspired overalls to beautifully-cut pantsuits. Her dresses had an innocent country girl feel, fastened with contrasting lacing. A similar focus on cut and minimalism defined Przhonskaya’s striking collection, which illustrated the subdued and controlled appeal of Ukrainian fashion best. Sticking to a few fabrics only, such as checked wool, faux-fur, patchwork tweed and jersey, Helen Przhonskaya proved that modesty dressing can be directional and sensual. Eccentric statements are, in fact, not what you will find in Kyiv, but new designers showed they also have a sense of humor. SIX, launched in 2017 by Julia Bohdan, delivered a sleek and inspiring show, where she managed to make beige alcantara and crocodile print satin desirable. Pants were wide and high-waisted, while jackets remained manly and loose, advancing the ongoing male/female discussion. Asked about the complex nature of Ukrainian fashion, Lilia Litkovskaya offered her own analysis: “There is definitely a specific taste in our culture, which you can also find in fashion. Respect for quality, beautiful fabrics and a sense of irony may define some of the designers here. I properly launched my brand in 2009 and went international from the very beginning. I was honestly surprised to see how instinctively and positively people responded to what we did.” We can only wish the newest names on the calendar as bright -and promising- a future as Litkovskaya has enjoyed so far.
/ Review by Philippe Pourhashemi /
Y/PROJECT FALL WINTER 19/20 AT PITTI UOMO 95
AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH GLENN MARTENS
Being asked to be the Guest Designer at Pitti Uomo in Florence is definitely a badge of honor for a designer, as well as a strong sign of recognition. Glenn Martens, who is only in his mid-30s, showed a powerful and directional collection within the historical walls of the Chiostro Grande del Complesso di Santa Maria Novella. We caught up with the talented Belgian to discuss his love of tradition, his ongoing vision for Y/Project and what he thinks ‘streetwear’ actually means.
Philippe Pourhashemi: How was the idea of presenting in Florence appealing to you?
Glenn Martens: I came here for the first time when I finished high school, just before my first year at university. For me, Florence remains a major cultural center in Europe, which flourished during the Renaissance. I also wanted a democratic feel for the show and picked this venue because it’s a Florentine landmark while being open to visitors. Pitti Uomo is a fair welcoming thousands of people each season and it seemed logical for me to keep that sense of openness.
PP: How did you translate this vibe within the collection?
GM: I think Y/Project speaks to very different clients and this eclecticism is reflected in the new collection. I wanted the clothes to feel opulent, but playful at the same time. There’s a whole theme in the show, which I named “Pop-Up”, where garments are doubled-up and seem to fall over the body. I also printed certain fabrics on tulle, which I layered over the originals, creating optical effects. I always like to give our clients several options to style the garments they choose, which means many pieces are pretty transformable.
PP: And you’ve expanded your line of footwear, as well as the bags. The thigh-high boots are really amazing.
GM: Yes, it’s great to have a full collection and our first one for men. The last thing I wanted to show was sneakers, so we started from this idea of a formal shoe and changing the shape, from two-tone boots and square fronts with heels to strappy sandals and sleek patent leather boots for women.
PP: There are always so many ideas in your shows, but you’ve also perfected some of the styles introduced last season.
GM: I get easily bored, but it was rewarding to be able to develop certain ideas in more depth. I showed more womenswear looks as well, which was exciting for me.
PP: Streetwear’ is as overused in fashion as the ‘luxury’ word. How do you define it?
GM: For me streetwear is a tracksuit with a print. We offer that within our collections, but now our clients also buy the tailoring and more intricate pieces. It’s important for me that they represent the brand well.
PP: What was it like working with the Pitti Uomo team?
GM: I have to say they were quite wonderful people, warm, dedicated and professional. I’m super pleased with how it’s turned out.
PP: How did you manage to get it all ready on time?
GM: Well, it was a bit of a stretch and we had to work extra hard, but somehow we managed to launch everything before the Christmas holidays.
PP: You’re not scared of the pressure, are you?
GM: Not at all. I even enjoy it.
A country: Brazil / A city: Rio de Janeiro / A place: The Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum, designed and constructed by the architect Oscar Niemeyer in 1996.
The latest Louis Vuitton Cruise 2017’s collection captures the country’s vitality, energy, multiculturalism, freedom, urban futurism and romanticism — all the dynamic feeling the city inspires.
Let’s go for a ride!
/ © LOUIS VUITTON /
/ by Michael Marson /