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7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope


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28 February - 6 March 2014

Ukraine History

A Stronghold of Rulers and Rebels

With the recent death toll jumping to nearly 100 and 1,000 injured, Hrushevskoho Street, one of the strongholds of EuroMaidans three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the countrys stand against government corruption, abuse of power, and the violation of human rights turned from peaceful protest to all-out revolution. Having witnessed much over the years, Hrushevskoho is a street with a history, and not only care of recent days.

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Ukraine Today
Acelebrity using their status and intelligence to influence public views and opinion is rarely seen in modern society, even less so in Ukraine. Here, the majority of celebs use their time, effort, and money to enhance or further their career rather than put their name to something that can do good for others. However, as EuroMaidan intensifies, some are making themselves heard and they fall either side of the EuroMaidan divide.
It used to be that when rebellion and revolution occurred, the intellectual, creative, and spiritual elite would be front and centre.

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Ukrainian Culture

When Walls Can Talk

People have been writing on walls since the dawn of civilisation, we call it graffiti, and ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Sometimes it is merely the creator wanting to leave his or her mark; sometimes there is an underlying social or political reason. And it is due to the latter that graffiti has exploded across Kyiv in recent months. Anti dictator messages aside, we peel back a few layers of paint to look at graffiti in the city in general.

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Ukrainian Culture

Ukraines Catwalk

Ukraine Fashion Week finished up their 31st season this Sunday past. While Whats On was unable to make it to all of the shows, we did catch a few. We even made it backstage, where we got a peek of what goes on behind-the-scenes with one of Ukraines most promising up-and-comers: kamenskakononova.
With 39 shows featuring 45 designers, and a wide range of guests from six different countries, Ukraine Fashion Week closes for another season. According to various sources, UFW is becoming one of the best fashion weeks in the CIS, and this year proves it just take a look at some of this seasons collections coming from top Ukrainian designers Poustovit, Aysina, Zalevskiy, and Litkovskaya.

Julia Aysina is one of Ukraine's leading designers. First presenting in 2001, her clients love the timeless elegance found in many of her pieces. Her collection this season, which primarily includes summer dresses and pantsuits, totally embraces colour.








Liliya Litkovskaya first presented at UFW in 2006. Her brand has always been about "independence, inner freedom and personal individuality". With her use of cut-out leather, oversized tops and micro shorts, this collection is meant to embrace the feminine.







The name Liliya Poustovit has long been synonymous with incredible femininity, and as her wares are sold in shops all over Europe, this designer could be called the countrys fashionable pride and joy. She plays it safe this year, with an array of prints. 









"Unforgettable" is often the way Oleksiy Zalevskiys shows are described, and this season is no different. Enlisting the help of 32 dancers from the National Opera Theatre, his collection was inspired by work on the mystery musical Z-Joke, which he also produced. 








Lana Nicole

The brainchild of design duo Natalia Kamenskaya and Olesya Kononova, kamenskakononova has garnered serious accolades since its 2008 launch. Considered one of Ukraines top five fashion brands, Glamour Russia put them in the top 10 of emerging designers in the CIS last year. Known for their re-interpretation of the classic silhouette and their emphasis on minimalist cuts and austere colour palettes and textures, we get an up-close-and-personal look at the new collection and all the commotion backstage at this seasons Ukraine Fashion Week. 

Feminine Aggression
The backstage area of UFW is a circus an hour before the show. Models scrub off makeup and nail polish as they transition from one show to the next. Katya, a Maybelline makeup artist, talks to us while she brushes orange-red face paint onto a models forehead, explaining that it takes about 30 minutes to prepare each girls face and that there are about 20 girls per show. After the girl is finished, she moves down the assembly line to the hair stylist, where her hair is flat-ironed pin straight. 
The lovely Iryna Pavlyk, CEO of kamenskakononova, explains the red face paint reflects the accent colour in the collection. It is aggressive and were balancing it out with very simple makeup. The jarring composite reflects the juxtaposition between natural and urban, soft femininity and aggression.

Organised Chaos
Model Irina Kravchenko, a native Kyivite on her second season of the global fashion week circuit, spares a few minutes in between getting ready. Having just arrived from the New York, Milan, and Paris fashion weeks, the 21-year-old is in high demand. She walked for three shows in this seasons UFW, and exclusively as the opening and finale model a big accomplishment considering that Irina only took up modelling eight months ago. She opened and closed the kamenskakononova show, as well.  As she heads off to change, she calls out, Im so happy to be home! 
Models flit in and out of changing rooms as stylists make finishing touches. Within a few minutes, the models are changed and everyone stands near the stage, watching via a large TV screen as the audience begin to file in and take their seats. A flurry of excitement works its way through the crowd like a wave, as announcers ask everyone to take their seats. As if in a world of their own, Natalia and Olesya move wordlessly down the line, adjusting hems and examining each girls outfit for imperfections. 

The Catwalk 
Our friend Irina, resplendent in a gorgeous black sheath, hits the runway first, launching the show of months of hard work by the brands team of designers and seamstresses. Like athletes ready for a race, the wardrobe girls wait next to their clothing racks, primed to change the girls into their second outfits. There are usually 2-3 wardrobe changes per girl. We arrive four hours before the show to make sure everything looks good, they tell us. 
The girls are friendly as they wait to walk, and their youth shines through as they ask me what my name is, how old I am, and where Im from. Suddenly the first wave of models comes running out, and ignoring the dozens of cameramen, undresses completely. I learn the wardrobe girls have cloth bags they give the models when they are topless so that any nude pictures taken of them are not linked to their faces or names. 

A Womans Work is Never Done 
After the show, we catch up briefly with a teary-eyed Natalia and Olesya as they pose for pictures and hug their models. This collection is something feral, wild, and aggressively sexy. We envisioned a Stone Age woman, strong and unafraid. Deviating from our typical silhouette, we wanted to break out of those confines. 
And then they are off to celebrate a successful show. They didnt stay out too late, however: Were off to Moscow in one week for their fashion week, and we still have to prepare the show and sew up samples to leave behind for buyers there!

Yohanca Delgado

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Read also:
  • When Walls Can Talk
  • Rights We Didnt Know We Had
  • The Path to Europe Begins Here...
  • Documenting Life
  • Head into 2014 Healthy

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    Ukraine Truth
    Rights We Didnt Know We Had

    Throughout EuroMaidan much has been made of Ukrainians making a stand for their rights. What exactly those rights are were never clearly defined. Ukraine ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1952. The first article of the Declaration states all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, they are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. The ousted and overthrown Ukrainian government showed to the world they dont understand the meaning of these words.


    Kyiv Culture

    Pulling Strings
    Located on Hrushevskoho Street the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades childrens favourite the Academic Puppet Theatre had to shut down in February. Nevertheless, it is getting ready to reopen this March with a renewed repertoire to bring some laughter back to a scene of tragedy. Operating (not manipulating) puppets is a subtle art that can make kids laugh and adults cry. Whats On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.

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