Dedication to Ukrainian History and Heritage. Article by Guillaumette Duplaix, Executive Director RUNWAY MAGAZINE.
Today we are all witnessing a man, a tyrant, the word is too small to describe this person, who decided to wipe out the whole nation, to erase entire culture from planet Earth. Just because he wants the territory, and he can. Women and children are facing the tortures, humanitarian lines where they are trying to escape are shoot at. GENOCIDE is not only one word for it. WAR CRIME committed every second in Ukraine.
As many, we are profoundly shocked watching these war crimes. We all see the photos of primary school teachers with Kalashnikovs, protecting their school and children there, the football team armed and ready to protect their home. We do not include Miss Ukraine to this honor, as she has none. The photo she posted on her social media where she is armed, as if she’s joining the army to fight for Kiev, is just a “photo for inspiration”, as she explained later. Well… using this war to drive attention to herself is appalling by itself, and leaves us with no comments.
Russian parliament passed a law on Friday March 4, 2022 punishing the authors of “false information” about the Russian army by 15 years in prison. It does not only concern Russian journalists and the entire Russian population, it also concerns all international journalists on Russian and Ukrainian territory.
Today British journalists SKY NEWS were targeted by armed solders, attacked, shot at. 2 journalists wounded.
BBC, CNN, FRANCE INFO, and all other international media urgently leaving the country. Russian and International media presented on Russian territory also banned the use words like “war” and “invasion”. According to official Russian sources what is happening in Ukraine now is “limited-scale special operation aimed to protect Russian-speaking population in Ukraine against neo-Nazi”.
As media dedicated to culture and fashion we fully give our support, we took a position to suspend all ongoing contracts with Russian advertisers and clients.
We dedicate this article to this beautiful and brave nation who stands up to the cruelty of the barbarian killer and his army.
Ukrainian culture is very rich, and people are very talented and known worldwide by the architecture, literature, embroideries and fashion.
Symbolism of Ukrainian flag
We find its origins in the coat of arms of the Varangian dynasty of the Riurikides which reigned over the Ukrainian flag in the east of the country with pro-Russian separatists. Kievan Rus between the 9th and 16th century and later on the Russian Empire. The colors are associated with the Ukrainian landscape: the blue and yellow horizontal bands symbolize the blue sky over the wheat fields, in the steppes.
Ukraine Brief History
Ukraine is the first eastern Slavic state, founded by Scandinavians : Rous’ of Kiev or Ruthenia, was the most powerful state in Europe (after the Byzantine Empire) between the Xth and XIth centuries. “Ruthenia” is the French form of a word from medieval Latin. This word was taken up in the Middle Age to refer to the Slavic peoples located east of Poland. At the time, “Ruthenia” corresponded approximately to the territories inhabited by Ukrainian populations of the Empire of Austria, then of Austria-Hungary, and claimed during the collapse of this empire in 1918 by various Ruthenians to finish by being claimed by the USSR during the Hitler-Stalin pact in 1939. The name “Ruthenia” survived a little longer as a denomination designating UKRAINE. From 1840, Ukrainian nationalists encouraged people to abandon the name “Little Russians” in favor of the name Ukrainians. In the 1880s and 1900s, due to the spread of the name ” UKRAINE ” as a substitute for “Ruthenia” among the Ruthenians / Ukrainians of the Russian Empire, the name “Ruthenians” was confined to the populations of Western Ukraine.
At the beginning of the XXth century, the name Ukraine was widely recognized and was used to designate as official names the Ukrainian states: During the Russian Revolution, the Ukrainian People’s Republic (1917-1920) and the National Republic of Western Ukraine (1918- 1919) Union Soviet in the aftermath of the Russian Civil War. Ukraine again became independent in 1991, with the fall of the USSR. Following the 2014 revolution, Crimea was annexed by Russia and a civil war broke out in the east of the country with pro-Russian separatists.
The official language is Ukrainian, but Russian is also widely used, especially in the south and east of the country, due to several centuries of “Russification”. Today, UKRAINE is a state in Eastern Europe, the second largest in Europe by area and the first entirely European. It is bordered by the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov to the south, border with Russia to the northeast and east, with Belarus to the north, with Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary to the west. and with Romania and Moldova to the southwest.
Ukraine Brief Cultural History
Taras Chevtchenko Kobzar
An emblematic figure in the history of Ukraine, he marked his country in the XIXth century. He was a true emblematic figure of Ukrainian culture. Taras Hryhorovych Chevtchenko nicknamed Kobzar, born in 1814 in Moryntsi, Kiev government and died in 1861 in Saint Petersburg (Russian Empire) was a Ukrainian poet, painter and humanist.
Taras Chevtchenko Kobzar considered THE GREATEST ROMANTIC POET in the Ukrainian language. He was writer, poet and painter.
The main Ukrainian university bears his name since 1939: the National University of Taras Shevchenko.
Ivan Yakovych Franko
Ivan Yakovych Franko (1856 – 1916) was a Ukrainian poet, writer, social and literary critic, journalist, interpreter, economist, political activist, doctor of philosophy, ethnographer, and the author of the first detective novels and modern poetry in the Ukrainian language.
He was a political radical, and a founder of the socialist and nationalist movement in western Ukraine. In addition to his own literary work, he also translated the works of such renowned figures as William Shakespeare, Lord Byron, Pedro Calderón de la Barca, Dante Alighieri, Victor Hugo, Adam Mickiewicz, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller into Ukrainian. His translations appeared on the stage of the Ruska Besida Theatre. Along with Taras Shevchenko, he has had a tremendous impact on modern literary and political thought in Ukraine.
Embroidery is an ancient and symbolic tradition in UKRAINE. In 513 BC. BC, Herodotus, the famous Greek historian, in describing the invasion of Darius, mentioned a precise detail: the Thracians – Dacians used embroidery to decorate their clothes.
These are examples of XIth-century embroidery in Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev on frescoes and miniatures. Many of these early examples have distinct similarities to local embroidery throughout history.
Most embroidery was used for clothing. The main object of clothing decorated with embroidery was the shirt or vyshyvanka. The shirt was mainly decorated with embroidery on the sleeves, as well as on the neck, chest and cuffs.
Other items of clothing are also embroidered, including scarves, skirts, aprons, caps and men’s trousers, sleeveless jackets, kozhukh and kozhushanka (sheepskin coats), scarves, ochipok , etc.
In some areas, bed linen was also embroidered. Besides clothes, other items decorated with embroidery are napkins, tablecloths, bench covers, veils and handkerchiefs and pillowcases.
All of the ornamentation is conventionally divided into three groups: vegetal and floral, geometric and zoomorphic. The last two are used more rarely. Symbols are also distributed according to regions of Ukraine. Traditionally, geometric patterns prevail in western Ukraine, while southern and eastern Ukraine are characterized by plant and floral ornaments. Such a phenomenon can be explained by the diversity of cultures, natural landscapes and, in some cases, even by the mentality of people.
The flowers, branches and leaves reflect the purity and prosperity of the family. They signify constant renewal and infinity. Therefore, wedding dresses were usually embroidered with flowers. For example, bunches of grapes embody joy, associated with creation of a unit of society. Oak and guelder rose are also part of the symbolism, which are most often depicted in female and youthful embroidery. These patterns harmoniously combine magical, immortal beauty with incredible power. A laurel branch or wreath is the emblem of glory.
Geometric patterns are mainly related to the beauty of Ukrainian nature. As the traditional embroidery has pagan roots, some symbols are intimately linked to Slavic mythology. Thus, the diamond is a symbol of fertility. It promotes the expansion of the family and the improvement of its well-being. The stars symbolize the ancient idea of the universe, which is distinguished by a certain order and harmony. The triangle represents the Holy Trinity and is the strongest Christian defense, while crosses have powerful tools against evil spirits and are successful in all endeavors.
World Heritage in Ukraine
Ukraine has 7 sites listed as World Heritage by UNESCO: 6 cultural, 1 natural.
Kyiv Saint Sophia Cathedral and ensemble of monastic buildings and Kyiv Pechersk Lavra.
Saint Sophia Cathedral and its monastic buildings are used as museums for purposes educational and for state events. The Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra is used as a museum as well as for worship activities corresponding to its original purpose.
The city of Lviv was founded in the late Middle Ages on the site of a settlement of the Vth and VIth centuries. It flourished as an administrative, religious and commercial center due to its favorable geographical location for commercial and political development.
Today, the surviving architectural and artistic heritage testifies to a synthesis of Eastern European traditions influenced by those of Italy and Germany. The property of “Lviv – Historic Site Complex” comprises two components: the main zone, consisting of the castle, the area surrounding it and the city center, and towards the south-east, a smaller zone on the Saint George’s Hill for the whole of Saint George’s Cathedral.
The historical center of Lviv comprises different distinct parts which represent various stages of its development. The High Castle and the area around it are the main and oldest parts of the town, dating back to the 5th century. This town has retained its topography and its hill surmounted by a castle, as well as its plains where a network of streets and squares developed between the 13th and 17th centuries. Evidence of occupation by different ethnic communities can still be found in the surviving buildings, including a mosque, a synagogue and an array of religious buildings from the Orthodox, Armenian and Catholic Churches.
The Seredmistia, heart of the city, developed in the 14th century and presents urban buildings well-preserved Eastern Europe, including many Renaissance and Baroque style monasteries and residences, parks created on the original site of medieval fortifications, and more recent buildings from the XIXth and XXth centuries.
It is on a mountainous plateau to the south-west of the medieval city that the Ensemble of Saint-Georges is located. Seat of the Metropolitan of the Church of Galicia, it is essentially made up of Baroque-style buildings of great artistic value.
The magnificent cathedral, crowning a high hill in the Old town, is a real pearl of Ukrainian baroque. This majestic temple, organically entered into the surrounding landscape, – not just unique architectural monument, but also the main relic of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic church. For several centuries there was a residence of Greek-Catholic archbishops and patriarchs on its territory.
Kiev Church of Saint George the Victorious
The attitude of the inhabitants towards the Cathedral of St. George particularly feverish, because it presents a whole epoch in the life of Lviv. The first temple on this hill appeared in the XIIIth century at the time of the Galicia-Volyn principality, and it was presented as a small wooden church, next to which there was a defense convent. However in a century the Polish king Kazimir III ordered to burn the two constructions during the siege of Lviv. Soon on the place of the suppressed church there was erected the stone temple built in the Byzantine style, which existed for more than 400 years.
The Cathedral of St. George appeared on the hill in the center of Lviv at the end of the XVIIIth century, and its construction took 20 years. The cathedral is an architectural ensemble which except the temple itself includes the metropolitans chamber, the chapter houses, the campaniles and the double gala doors with the figures of the sacred. The monumental staircase adorned with the sculptures of eight geniuses leads right to the cathedral. The interior decoration of the temple is also striking in its richness and luxury. The main relic of the temple – the miraculous icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary from the XVII century.
The ensemble of the Cathedral of St. George is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List together with the entire historic center of Lviv.
In 2001 John Paul II stopped in the rooms of the cathedral during his visit to Ukraine.
Struve Geodetic Arc
The Struve geodetic arc is a chain of geodetic triangulation markers, which crosses Europe from Hammerfest in Norway to the Black Sea, over 2,800 km. The chain is made by the German-speaking Russian scientist Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve between 1816 and 1855 to measure the exact size and shape of the Earth.
In 2005, UNESCO listed 34 of the 265 original markers of the geodesic arc of Struve as World Heritage. These markers are located in 10 different countries, which makes them, in 2021, one of the transboundary World Heritage properties spanning the most countries (after the primary beech forests of the Carpathians and other regions of Europe).
The primary beech forests of the Carpathians and other parts of Europe
The primary beech forests of the Carpathians and other parts of Europe form a transnational World Heritage site, bringing together 78 beech forests spread over 20 European countries: Albania, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Spain, France, Italy, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland and Ukraine.
On February 20, 2005, Ukraine placed on its indicative list a set of 6 sites, under the name of “Primary beech forests of the Carpathians”; it is a natural site, meeting the criteria of Unesco.
Residence of the Metropolitans of Bukovina and Dalmatia
The Residence of the Metropolitans of Bukovina and Dalmatia (UKRAINE) represents a masterful synergy of architectural styles created by Czech architect Josef Hlavka between 1864 and 1882.
An outstanding example of 19th century historicist architecture, the site also includes a seminary and a monastery dominated by a domed cruciform church of the seminary, with a garden and a park. The ensemble represents architectural and cultural influences from the Byzantine period and
embodies the powerful role played by the Orthodox Church during the reign of the Habsburgs, while reflecting the policy of religious tolerance of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Located within the perimeter of the city of Chernivtsi, at the top of Mount Dominik, a promontory overlooking the river, the architectural ensemble includes, within a garden and a landscaped park: the former residence of the metropolitans with its Chapel of Saint -Ivan of Suceava, the elder seminary with its church, and the old monastery with its bell tower. Witness to a spectacular fusion of architectural references, the Residence is the expression of the cultural identity of the Orthodox Church within the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the XIXth century, a time of cultural and religious tolerance. During the 19th century, historicist architecture was able to express itself fully and the residence of the Metropolitans of Bukovina and Dalmatia is an excellent example of this.
Ancient city of Chersonesos Taurica and its chora
These are the remains of a city founded in the 5th century BC by the Dorians on the northern shores of the Black Sea. The site comprises six parts corresponding to the remains of the city and the agricultural hinterland divided into several hundred chôra, rectangular plots of equal size. In these plots, viticulture was practiced, the production of which was exported by the city. This trade continued until the 15th century.
The site includes several public buildings, residential quarters, as well as early Christian monuments, remains of Stone Age and Bronze Age settlements, Roman fortifications and medieval buildings, water supply systems and very well preserved examples of vine cultivation and dividing walls. In the 3rd century BC, the place was considered the most productive winegrowing center of the Black Sea and for a long time it remained a trading hub between the Greek, Roman, Byzantine empires and the populations of the northern Black Sea. It is a remarkable example of democratic land organization associated with an ancient polis, reflecting the social organization within the city.
Tauric Chersonese and its chora are the remains of an ancient city founded in the Vth century BC. AD as a Greek colonial settlement of the Dorians, located on the Heraklean Peninsula, Southwest Crimea. The polis and the huge chora of Chersonese Taurica form an exceptional example of an ancient cultural landscape combining a Greek polis and its agricultural hinterland, established as part of the colonization activities of the IVth and IIIrd centuries BC. The significant archaeological ruins of the city retain physical remains built between the Vth century BC. AD and the XIIIth century AD. AD, organized in a checkerboard plan. The basic orientation of this orthogonal grid extends into the overall landscape, where fragments of a vast land demarcation system have been preserved, consisting of 400 parcels of equal size over an area of 10,000 hectares.
The ancient city of Chersonese Taurica and its chora constitute an exceptional example of a peripheral center of population movements, which played an important role as a gateway to the north-eastern regions of the Greek sphere of commercial influence, in particular the Crimea and the State Scythian. The city has maintained its strategic role for nearly two millennia and offers a unique example of the continuity and longevity of a trading outpost linking the various Black Sea trade routes.
Wooden tserkvas from the Carpathian region of Poland and Ukraine
The wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian region in Poland and Ukraine refer to a set of 16 Greek- Catholic or Orthodox wooden churches located in the northern Carpathians, corresponding to southern Poland and western Ukraine, and listed under this name as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013. They were built or rebuilt between the 16th and 19th centuries. Such wooden churches, a locally abundant material, are in fact typical of the Carpathian range not only in Poland and Ukraine, but also in Slovakia and Romania, and have also been listed, but in scattered order, as UNESCO World Heritage Sites . UNESCO, in 1999 in Romania, in 2003 in Poland and in 2008 in Slovakia.
FASHION talents of Ukraine
Valentina Sanina Schlee
Valentina Sanina Schlee (1899 – 1989), known as Valentina, was a fashion and theater costume designer from 1928 to the late 1950s. Born in Kiev, UKRAINE, Valentina studied acting in Kharkov during the outbreak of the October Revolution in 1917. She met her husband, George Schlee while fleeing the country. The Schlees arrived in New York in 1923 and became prominent members of coffeehouse society, a description of the “Beautiful People” and “Bright Young Things” that gathered in fashionable cafes and restaurants in New York, Paris and London during the Roaring Twenties. Valentina “stood out” in her clothes and style at the time because she appeared in floor lengths and covers while other women wore short skirts and low-cut dresses.”
Valentina opened a small fashion house, Valentina’s Gowns on Madison Avenue in 1928. Her first stage commission was costumes for Judith Anderson in 1933’s “Come of Age”. The costumes were better received than the play and established her reputation as a theater designer. Valentina dressed actresses of the time: Gertrude Lawrence, Katharine Hepburn, Lynn Fontanne, Greta Garbo, Gloria Swanson, Katharine Cornell.
She also dressed prominent women in New York society, including members of the Whitney and Vanderbilt families.
In 1950, Valentina also introduced a perfume, “My Own”.
Valentina ‘s flowing, tailored styles combined the intricate bias cut of Madeleine Vionnet and the grace of dresses by Alix Gres . “Simplicity survives fashion changes,” she said in the late 1940s. Valentina was a shrewd businesswoman.
Valentina was always extremely stylish, which earned her a mention on the international best-dressed list. Valentina closed her fashion house at the end of the years 1950s.
In 2009, Valentina: American Couture and the Cult of Celebrity , a major retrospective exhibition opened at the Museum of the City of New York . This was Valentina ‘s first career exhibition that featured never-before-seen dresses, accessories, photography and prints.
Mikhail Voronin born July 10, 1938 in Kiev, UKRAINE was a Ukrainian fashion designer and clothing manufacturer. He has won several international sewing competitions. He was the founder of the “Michael Voronin” brand, a network of franchised businesses specializing in the manufacture and marketing of men’s clothing. Brand clothes “Michael Voronin” were sold internationally and the fashion house participated in fashion shows fashion all over the world. He died in 2012. In 2002, a giant tuxedo the height of a three-story building was designed and created by Mikhail Voronin and was listed in the Guinness Book of Records.
We don’t know what will be left after this war, how many talented fashion designers will be tortured and killed today in Ukraine, defending their home. Putin wants to destroy Cathedrals, burn forests, he wants to destroy the spirit and talent of this nation, erase this nation.
RUNWAY MAGAZINE is a cultural and fashion media.
Today what everybody can do is to support Ukrainian designers by buying their clothes.
Here’s the list by “Oprah Daily” with the links to the shopping online:
- Vita Kin. Known for their bohemian feel and relaxed silhouettes, this cult-favorite eponymous brand is heavily influenced by the designer’s Ukrainian heritage, especially in her use of Vyshyvanka designs, a traditional Ukrainian embroidery technique. Each piece is meticulously created by hand in the Kyiv workshop using artisanal methods that have endured for centuries.
- Frolov. Founded in 2015 by Ivan Frolov, this “couture-to-wear” brand is a red carpet favorite. Starlets such as Gwen Stefani, Dua Lipa, and Rita Ora are among those who have sported the line’s eye-catching pieces, which include corsets, asymmetric jumpsuits, and crystal-embellished gowns. Frolov strives to create clothing with a focus on freedom of expression—a message that has never rang more true.
- Kachorovska. Kachorovska first started out as a family trade, then grew into a small workshop, and eventually turned into a company with over 100 employees. This well-known accessories brand creates high quality, on-trend styles at wallet-friendly prices. In addition to buying existing designs, you can also order a custom-made piece through their Atelier program.
- Sleeper. Founded in 2014 by two former fashion editors, Kate Zubarieva and Asya Varetsa, the elevated line of sleepwear evolved into multi-purpose pieces that can even be worn outside the house. In fact, you’ve probably spotted the feather-trimmed pajamas on Instagram, your favorite TV show, or even on Oprah Daily! We also love the candy-colored linen dresses, floral sets, and shoes. Plus, every garment is handmade with sustainable materials using zero waste manufacturing practices.
- Bevza. Founded and based in Kyiv since 2006, Bevza is known for their sophisticated knits and textured dresses constructed with sustainable materials such as recycled plastic and deadstock fabric. The brand has shown at New York Fashion Week for quite a few seasons as well, garnering street style sightings for its cozy yet chic balaclavas just this past February. Don’t miss the origami-like bags and minimal boots.
- Ruslan Baginskiy. While starting out as a fashion stylist at 20-years-old, Ruslan Baginskiy would hand-make couture headwear pieces for photo shoots. After interning with several local milliners to refine his craft, Baginskiy started his own namesake collection. Inspired by Ukrainian national costumes, art, and vintage fashion, the statement hats boast unique silhouettes and beautiful details like pearl chains—no wonder they’ve been spotted perched on many famous heads, including Madonna, Amanda Gorman, Miley Cyrus.
- Minimalis. Born and raised in Kyiv, designer Tamara Davydova founded Minimalist last year on the premise of offering timeless, wearable garments ethically made in New York City using a closed-loop circular process—everything is biodegradable and recyclable. Invest in the elegant and softly draped blazers, separates, or jumpsuits and you’ll have them for many years to come. Shop now and 30 percent of the proceeds will benefit Red Cross and UNICEF in Ukraine; and use the code TOGETHER for 10 % off.
What we all can do – don’t let these talents to die. And let’s pray for their lives.
PS. We think that Russian people are not responsible, they cut of the world, no information, no rights to freedom of speech, no democracy…. But at the second thought…. Russians have right to vote, they have election, they choose their president every 6 years. Putin is president of Russia since 2000, and has been re-elected, and re-elected again… Everybody votes for Putin, as he offers beautiful caviar basket to every voter.
So these lost lives of women and children in Ukraine that’s how much cost the caviar every 6 years…. You eat caviar, and several children cruelly killed today …. Something to think about.