Iryna Danylevska

Ukrainian fashion designers have opted for leather and furs. Within Fashion Seasons shows, designer Byzov presented traditional approach to using leather and fur in garments - dresses, flared trousers, collars. In the Dana collection a model kept a live dog in her hands. Designer Victoria Gres showed handles for purses made of fur. Designer Zalevsky presented a model in his collection wearing swimming trunks made of fur.

The Fashion Seasons shows were held September 24 through 29. 14 collections pret-a-porter were shown. The shows were organized by Eva magazine, Serhiy Byzov Fashion House and YANKO Advertisement and Information Agency to support and promote Ukrainian fashion designers and dressmakers. The venue was Lavra Art Gallery. The conditions of the Fashion Seasons are the same every year: the collections presented must show new concepts; they must be collections, never presented anywhere before; they must present from 30 to 70 models. AVON, one of the world leaders in making cosmetics, and Nescafe were among the sponsors of this year’s shows.
Let’s begin with the first-timers.

Dana’s collection.

Oleksiy Zalevsky’s collection

HALF MOON’s collection.

Makarov’s collection.

Oksana Karavanska’s collection.

Oleksandr Hapchuk’s collection.

Khreshchatyk’s collection.

Ukrayina's collection.

Serhiy Byzov’s collection.
Oksana Karavanska from Lviv showed a “lyrical” collection. She had successfully shown one of her collections in Tallinn, Estonia and had already worked for some time in London.
Oleksandr Hapchuk surprised the audience with long-forgotten bell-bottomed skirts. The Stolychny Company gave him a chance to create dresses to individual orders.
Oleksandr Monyak showed a collection that emphasized simplicity and elegance in blouses and skirts, with the rectange being the main modulus (wool fabric from Italy). One of his models wore an “evening overcoat” for visiting public places “that have no facilities for checking in coats.” Monyak had worked for some time in Paris, then in Moscow. He was supported by the TACIS programme. Now about the designers who have already had themselves established.

Oleksiy Zalevsky’s collection.
Designer Serhiy Byzov’s models appeared wearing black and grey leather (from Italy) garments and furs. “I’m tired of isms of any kind,” said Byzov. He makes women look strong-willed and somewhat aggressive. The general style of his collection was restrained and laconic. Among his customers one can find people with means. His previous collection was bought by diplomats. He was looking for a chance to open his boutique in Paris but he needs more support “from influential persons.”
Liliya Poustovit showed a collection with flamboyance of colours but some models paradoxically looked more like nuns. The audience was entertained by ethnographic elements in some of the models and skirts for men. Some male models wore both a skirt and trousers. Poustovit, a winner of the Gold Button Prize in Vilnius, Lithuania, had worked for Daniel Hechter House in Paris.
Oleksiy Zalevsky
used to show high couture collections but this time it was pret-a-porter with furs (artificial) died blue. An abandoned half-ruined house was chosen to show the models in. One of the models wore an orange-black costume with wings on the back. Anna Babenko presented a collection “for women with a good taste” (in the words of Serhiy Byzov). Ukrainian pop stars learn from Ms Babenko how to look elegant and feminine. She opened a fashion salon this year in Kyiv.
Victor Anisimov is a controversial designer from Donetsk. He is brimming with new ideas. Before going into fashion designing, he was a career officer and athlete. At the In-Vogue’99 Festival he won the Gold Button Prize. The models he showed at Fashion Seasons were hardly meant to be worn in everyday life but one can be sure that those who are ready to pay big money for extravagant clothes will be his customers.
The dresses he presented could be worn turned inside out and outside in, tops and bottoms were exchangeable. Each model demonstrated from 3 to 15 ways of wearing the dress he or she was showing. They were immediately dubbed “transformers.”
Victoria Gres presented a collection that could both shock and attract the bourgeois. The dominant colour was red with different shades, “the colour of passion.” Muffs, astrakhan fur skirts, a lot of fur, “antiquarian” fabrics, lace in the style of the thirties and forties were like a hymn sung to the retro dresses. Gres’ show was highly artistic, festive and luxurious. Victoria Gres is one of the best known designers in Ukraine, appealing both to the intellectuals and to the bohemian types. Her designs for footwear attracted attention of the Bradford Company. Part of her collection has already been bought by the Studio Impossible, London.
Halyna and Maksym Makarovs who used to design dresses for the young, this time showed a more restrained collection, World in the Third Dimension, in a nightclub to psychedelic music. Some dresses bore the imprint of the ancient Slavic motifs but in general there was something of a refined decadence in it.
The HALF MOON Company, that specializes in the production of knitted wear, consequently presented an impressive collection of knitted garments. Unfortunately, HALF MOON products are much more popular in Holland, Germany and Scandinavia, rather than in Ukraine.
The Khreshchatyk Fashion House successfully competes with Moscow fashion houses. Vyacheslav Zaitsev, one of the top Moscow fashion designers, admitted that Ukrainian models often “were more effective that the Moscow ones.” Khreshchatyk showed both experimental and more traditional dresses.
Ukrayina
and Dana factories presented their pret-a-porter collections, practical, not too expensive, designed for customers from many strata of society. Jackets that could be worn inside out and outside in were a special item for Dana. Ukrayina made overcoats from Italian fabrics are imported by England and Germany. The local workers can buy these coats at considerable discounts. In five years since the launch of the Fashion Seasons, 81 designers and 66 collections were presented at the shows. Iryna Danylevska, editor in chief of Eva Magazine said, summorizing:

Oleksandr Monyak's collection.

“I think the collections shown this time were so far the best ever presented at the Fashion Seasons.” The very fact that Fashion Seasons are held regularly gives the lie to the statement of some couturiers that “it is a heroic feet to be a fashion designer in Ukraine.” The sustained interest to fashions demonstrates that the economic situation in Ukraine is not as bad as it is sometimes described.

By Heorhiy-Hryhoriy Pylypenko
Photos have been supplied by the Fashion Seasons Organizing Committee.