Lilia Litkovska continues to shine a light on what’s happening in her homeland, the only Ukrainian designer on the Paris schedule. Almost exactly a year ago she arrived in Paris in time for fashion week after fleeing Ukraine, which had just been invaded by Russia, with her young daughter. Since then, she has made it her mission to highlight her country’s plight through her work.

For fall, she staged her “On Air” collection with a runway presentation in the entrance to the Grand Rex, touted as Europe’s biggest movie theater, complete with branded bags of popcorn. The soundtrack featured snatches of pop music and jingles from a plethora of radio stations and musical genres. 

But otherwise, it was not about entertainment. The billboard outside the venue read “Litkovska: From the war zone with peace,” while screens behind the popcorn counters showed a livestream from the inside of the designer’s atelier in Kyiv, her team busy at work.

“Our team creates this collection for fashion week, and now they are in Kyiv, staying strong, continuing to love, to work, to believe,” the designer said backstage beforehand.

The collection was intended as an observation on the brevity of life. “Ukraine doesn’t have time to pose,” she explained. 

The no-time-to-waste attitude was a clear fit with the aesthetics of her deconstructed tailoring, and she offered a minimalist contemporary wardrobe with twists that added interest to the silhouette. Familiar menswear archetypes were offset and usurped into new suiting shapes, with panels and strips of fabric fluttering like flags, their lines clean but artfully reworked to look casually donned.

These were contrasted with bias-cut satin draped dresses, seen in camel or vivid red, and a number of standout outerwear options to pick from, from a bouclé shearling collarless coat with contrasting leather strips to an outsized overhead technical jacket in khaki with a high-zip up collar, nodding to the utilitarian. Litkovska’s creations, like her resilience and commitment to her country, stood strong.

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