Ukrainian-born designer Natasha Zinko showcased her Spring/Summer 2023 collection at Paris Fashion Week, influenced by the recent events in Ukraine. Born in Odessa, with much of her family still living in the city, Zinko's collection is inevitably a deeply, personal reflection on her thoughts on the war and seeks to remind us of the power of fashion in such moments.
"I'm Ukrainian, I was born in Odessa on the Black Sea," Zinko shared in a press release. "All my mind — and my heart — is with Ukrainians, my family and friends there. I could not make a collection without influence of the war. Focusing on this collection helped me to regain mental stability and to feel hope."
Developed with a defiant attitude that "declares survival and demands optimism," the collection sees vivid prints adorn structured silhouettes alongside Zinko's signature aliens and bunnies motif, introduced in the previous season to reflect a new era of gender-fluidity. In keeping with the designer's optimistic ethos, this season's offering aims to provide light relief from difficult times through dramatic and daring silhouettes with leather cut-outs and ripped denim. Traditional tailoring is flipped on its head with tops worn back-to-front, paired with raw and DIY safety pin fastenings and deadstock fabric from Zinko's archives, patch-worked and shredded to create something new.
Paying tribute to Zinko's Ukrainian roots, the collection sees traditional floral dresses shredded and pieced together, fused with edgy leather jackets. Elsewhere, SS23 includes native garments embroidered in Zinko's hometown called "Vyshivanka Shirts," which the designer rediscovered through the 1930 film Earth by Oleksandr Dovzhenko, shining a light on the pastoral traditions of the Ukrainian people.
Check out Zinko's SS23 in full above and while you're here, take a look at Mowalola's return to the runway.