While idling through Pinterest my eye was caught by a woman on a bare catwalk, beautifully decked out as if on her way to a village festival. It turned out to have been taken at Ukrainian Fashion Week in March this year, in a collaboration between local fashion designers and the Ivan Honchar Museum (National Centre of Folk Culture) in Kiev. The aim was to present traditional folk costume in a setting normally reserved for the antithesis of tradition, and so to cast fresh light on its beauty and relevance.
The gorgeous embellishments on all the costumes put me in mind of a woman whose work I'd seen via the always fascinating website of the International Folk Art Alliance. Her name is Anna Nepyivoda and she has been making pysanka, or batik-painted Easter eggs, for 30 years, following on from the women in her family, of the highland Hutsul culture. Aside from making these exquisite traditional gifts, Anna is on a mission to bring Ukrainian folk costume back into the everyday life of her culture and her work now includes embroidery, textiles and leatherwork. Her pysanka and Hutsul embroidery work are available to purchase via the International Folk Art Market Online shop.
Ivan Honchar images by Bohdan Poshyvaylo, Alex Pliska and Alexander Bezobchuk; IFAA images via their website