MILAN — In light of the humanitarian, social and economic crisis affecting Ukraine following the Russian invasion, Pitti Uomo is showing its support of the country by inviting 12 Ukrainian designers to display their collections at the trade show, which runs through Friday.
The special project, titled “Ukrainian Fashion Now!”, is aimed at shedding a light on the fashion energy in the country and the resilience of local brands that have persevered despite the hardships. It was organized with the special contribution of local nonprofit organization Fondazione CR Firenze.
“For us, Ukraine is not so much what it is perceived today, given the difficult situation that we all know, but a country with which we have a longstanding and consolidated relationship,” said Raffaello Napoleone, Pitti Immagine’s chief executive officer. “We had Ukraine as guest nation at Pitti Uomo 85 in 2014.
“In this period, we thought it was essential to give a sign of help and support to those who suffer from this situation but must continue to create, be seen and be in the market, so there was no better chance than this one to show this strong link,” he added.
The collections, mostly of womenswear, will be displayed in a dedicated space inside the Fortezza da Basso’s Arsenale area on the first floor. Each Ukrainian designer played by their own rulebook but all seemed to be committed to telegraph their country’s cultural heritage.
For instance, through its colorful garments, brand Gunia Project, founded by duo Natalia Kamenska and Maria Gavryluk, exalts traditional Ukrainian craftsmanship.
Gender fluidity is core to Kristina Bobkova’s brand identity as the designer breaks stereotypes and offers items providing women with confidence and femininity. Traditional tropes of men’s tailoring are reinterpreted by Katerina Kvit, who offers fitted sartorial styles crafted from earth-toned materials, while Viktoranisimov’s aesthetic combines military and business attire, produced with sustainable textiles.
Ukrainian creatives are also adding a sensual touch, as seen in the collection of Gudu, which emphasizes femininity with a modern twist, and Lilia Litkovskaya’s bold silhouettes, refined tailoring and contemporary style.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, minimalism is explored by Yulia Yefimtchuk, which is also seen in the collection of Manufacture de Lin, a Kyiv-based brand that eschews seasonal trends to produce timeless fashion.
The exhibition will have ample space for colorful prints and patterns, as in Poustovit’s offering. Designer Liliia Poustovit teamed with graphic artists to add a contemporary touch to dreamy dresses.
Apparel will not be the sole focus in the “Ukrainian Fashion Now!” area, however. As part of the project, Pitti Uomo invited jewelry brand Guzema, founded by Valeriya Guzema, to show her refined gold jewels embellished with diamonds, as well as Oberig, which creates colorful pieces employing precious stones inspired by ancient Ukrainian ornaments.
Pitti Uomo will also mount a special photographic exhibition of Ukrainian duo Synchrodogs, whose work focuses on the relationship between mankind and nature.