PARIS — Geopolitical activism met tuxedos at Paris Fashion Week, as a voiceover designer from Ukraine gave a show that paid tribute to her country for her team of more than 20 people working in Kyiv.
Here are some of the highlights from Wednesday’s Fall/Winter 2023-2024 ready-to-wear collections:
THE UKRAINIAN LITKOWSKA GOES “IN THE AIR”
“From the war zone to peace,” read the sign outside the Grand Rex cinema in Paris, modeled after New York’s Radio City Music Hall.
Inside, guests gathered in the Art Deco amphitheater for a show by Ukrainian designer Lila Litkovska that continued with a radio theme.
Titled ‘On air’, it was a metaphor for the unpredictable way life in Ukraine unfolds every minute. The ready-made show soundtrack ran between stations and was constantly interrupted. Litkovska’s collection reflected this randomness, mixing styles in a generally relaxed and oversized display.
There were the more commercial looks, like a black tuxedo coat worn over a floppy, black skirt and sneakers, and more abstract plays on shape, like a black coat wrapped around the waist with long sleeves to create a deliberately unusual silhouette.
Simple men’s suits were the prettiest in the low-key show, with long sheets of silk underwear fluttering elegantly behind like a train.
But this collection wasn’t just about fashion. A video link next to the catwalk showed live footage of Litkovska’s team in the Ukrainian capital.
FASHION ACTIVISM OF UKRAINE
Litkovska fled to Paris with her 2-year-old daughter when Russian missiles began pounding Kiev in February 2022. But the designer, who launched her eponymous label in the city 14 years ago and shows at Paris Fashion Week, pushed to create “made in Ukraine” plans by moving studios to a safer location within the country.
“In the first week of the Russian invasion, we moved to Lviv in western Ukraine. But we returned (to Kyiv) at the beginning of the summer with our productions and with everyone there,” he told The Associated Press.
Litkovska said that now “it’s the same factory the same office, the same team” as before the war and she even “expanded (the size of) our team during the first year of the war because our orders are finished”.
Organizing activist fashion events with other Ukrainian designers over the past year, including pop ups in Paris, Berlin, Munich and Milan, she has raised around 50,000 euros ($53,000) which has gone towards buying medicine, as well as supporting the larger children’s hospital of Kyiv and the armed forces. He asked for 30% of the profits to go to Ukraine.
“It’s an amazing process,” she said, describing how one of her initiatives involved selling little angels.
The fashion community is key to raising awareness – and money – for the war effort because “they have a big fan base, millions and millions, and they can engage their audience for what’s going on,” Litkovska said.
SECURITY MAKES CONTRASTS
Jun Takahashi, founder and designer of Japanese streetwear brand Undercover, once cited British designer Vivienne Westwood, who died in December, as an inspiration.
Scents of Westwood’s signature punk were in the air as Takahashi presented a funky collection with eccentric flourishes and plenty of contrasts.
The shiny gray bubble material became a parachute-like shawl with a contrasting bib that looked regal. Worn over Formula 1 style boots and a black and white racing pattern on the crotch.
The high versus low thinking continued with a frayed bomber jacket in sleek tweed and kinky boots in deep violet. The suits came in acid tones.
Gloves on one hand and a hand pattern on the pants that seemed to want to creep up the leg added this season’s must-have gimmick.
Fashion insiders gathered by the Musee d’Orsay to celebrate a new book about former Chanel front man Karl Lagerfeld, whose death in 2019 at the age of 85 still casts a shadow over Paris Fashion Week.
To mark the global release of ‘Paradise Now: The Extraordinary Life of Karl Lagerfeld’, author William Middleton sat down with magazine editor Elizabeth von Guttman about the book’s genesis.
Middleton said his writing and biography focused on the German-born couturier’s business acumen – over and above his design artistry.
Champagne-swilling VIPs discussed the enduring legacy of the man whose decades-long stewardship of both Fendi and Chanel made him one of the most influential designers of the late 20th century.
(tagsTo Translate)War & Turmoil