The Ukrainian-born, London-based designer Natasha Zinko beamed out many a message with this show, which she called “Queen of the Boxes.” The boxes of the title were TV screens, literal and figurative.
They greeted guests at the venue, blasting gray, fuzzy nothingness and also featured as repeating prints on dresses and placement ones on boxy shirts.
As those old TV screens crackled and fizzed, a mix of competing news reports from around the world formed the background soundtrack. “We need to beware of propaganda — and try to separate it from reality,” Zinko said during a walk-through of the collection.
Her other message was hope. “I believe in a future without war, and when I was designing, I was thinking about how people might live normally again,” she said.
The collection, a mix of men’s and womenswear, was upbeat and fun, with standout pieces including long tunic shirts embroidered in the traditional Ukrainian style, but with little bunny, flower and sheep motifs instead of the traditional botanical designs.
The TV prints were cool, as were the raggedy-edged, upcycled denim dresses, some of which were held together by safety pins.
Their design echoed Zinko’s commitments to repurposing fabrics and garments, as well as her thoughts about displaced people and how they keep their resources going, figuring out new ways to wear old (and worn out) clothing.
She couldn’t resist a gesture of solidarity to her war-torn country: Two of her models wore long, silky robes — one blue, the other yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag. Each one was emblazoned with a trident, one of the country’s symbols. She lives in hope.