Lviv - A Contemporary Trend Centre
I consider me rather laid back and conservative in regards to fashion. My wardrobe involves quality, timeless pieces that I actually have had for years. Last fall I chop down prey to all of the hype and glitz of the trend world by attending Lviv's bi-annual fashion week.
Founded in 08, Lviv's fashion week is a fashion followers pleasure with catwalk shows by designers from Ukraine, Russian federation, Poland, France and so forth.. The atmosphere was electric- cameras flashing with fashion gurus and mass media hounds dressed to the nines in the "Lemberg" Convention center.
This was a far cry from my childhood Kenzo t shirt of Lviv spent in thankfully, where one rejoiced when parcels of practical clothing arrived from our family members in the American Diaspora. I also have images ingrained in my head of the Soviet age where the life basics were in deficit let alone items of "haute couture". The totalitarian govt of that time period repressed any show of personal identity or originality. As "comrades", were certainly not encouraged to such frivolities as flexibility of expression not to mention fashion trends.
Tourists came here with suitcases packed with the forbidden blue jeans that were strictly black market items. The few stores available sold strictly utilitarian wear in repetitive styles. The lengthy hair styles of the 60's were quickly shaved off on the streets by KGB officials.
The collapse of the reds was met with an extremist reaction in fashion. The new found freedom was expressed by mini minis, super hiked pumps, big glitzy earrings and excessive make up. This kind of counter reaction was immediately interpreted as women seeking foreigners and luckily would not last long. Lviv very quickly matured, and soon accepted the popular vogue of sneakers, rare jeans and t tshirts.
In this era, Trend is a very serious industry in Lviv and they have put Local designers in an international level of respect. Graduates of fashion design from the Lviv academy of fine art have left their imprint of the global market. Some of the superstars include Oksana Mukha in whose wedding dresses "par excellence" took Paris by surprise and possess graced such sites as the " Slide carousel du Louvre".
Of particular interest is Roksolana Bogutska. I truly respect the way she has incorporated native patterns and fused folkloric elements in her modern day collections.
Bagutska's flagship store is found in the esteemed "Opera Passage" at # 27 Svoboda Ave. in Lviv.
This state-of-the-art price tag center rivals Neiman- Markus Texas hand down! This oozes with luxury with its' marble floors, made iron stairwells and vintage fixtures. This upscale office store offers the up-to-date trends from hand made cosmetics from England, Prada sunglasses and bags and even Brioni garments for men.
So who could it be that can afford the higher price tags fastened to these upscale programs? Not anyone inside my internal circle of friends. What I find here are mostly "fashionistas" dropped off in blacked out Sports utility vehicles. A saving fashion elegance for the normal people struggling to pay the bills is " Planeta". "Planeta" is a series of second hand stores that sells (by the kilo) quality clothing sent from Europe with stylish and sensible labels such as "Marks and Spencers" and the "George" brand.
I am proud of you Lviv- you have come far! I would agree with the recent statement by the Japanese people designer at Lviv Fashion- Kenzo Takada. He was quoted to express: " The women in Lviv are better dressed that the women in Paris". A large power statement, a strong testimony to the reality that Lviv has become a trendsetting world center- Bravo!