Fashion shows rarely start with a moment of silence, but that’s what Ukrainian designer Sviatlana Beuza did for her country Tuesday night to condemn the Russian invasion.

Next, she presented a collection rich in patriotic symbols.

Beuza is a veteran of New York Fashion Week, where she has appeared since 2017. She lives in Kyiv and has her workshops there, but was forced to leave after the invasion at the end of February, with its endless explosions and sirens, to protect her two children.

Her husband Uladzimir Amelyan, a politician who was a government minister from 2016 to 2019, stayed home to fight. You can see him on her Instagram account, dressed in military gear and carrying a weapon.

Beuza’s spring-summer collection called “Fragile Homeland”, presented in a building on Wall Street, had a very political character. A blue-yellow flag of Ukraine was hung on the wall.

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“Some may not understand that this is really happening. And today is the 202nd day of the war in Ukraine. And thousands of people died.”

she told AFP.

“I was forced to leave the country with my children. And the husband is at war.”

she added.

She introduced tops that feel sensual when paired with skirts or pants, but still resemble bulletproof vests. Some look like shields that expose the shoulders and navel.

Grains of wheat — symbols of fertile Ukraine as the bread basket of the world — pass through the collection in a narrative channel. Beuze’s necklaces depict them charred to black because “a lot of wheat was burned by the Russians,” she said.

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The wide cut of some of her skirts also resembles the figure of Ukrainian peasant women harvesting wheat.

“There is a deep sacred meaning of bread and wheat itself, which has come down through the ages,”

she said, pointing to a famine in the 1930s that was blamed on Stalin.

“What we are protecting now, we are protecting fertile lands. And we are mainly fighting to live freely, to live in peace on our land.”

– said the designer.

© Agence France-Presse

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