Costume Drama

‘Nothing is so compelling to rethink the present, as the memory of our roots, history and traditions’, costume designer for blockbuster historical films Antonina Belinska tells us how she, along with other creatives and Ukrainian public figures grouped together for a national cause.

Tell me a little about the Shchyri project. Why did you want to be involved?

The ‘Schiri’ project was created by the Domosfera company and the Grace and Todorchuk agency as a charity project in 2014. The goal of the project was to raise money for the treatment of wounded Ukrainian soldiers who were injured in hostilities in eastern Ukraine. Later the goal of the project became to raise money to support two ethnographic museums. I was invited to the project as a costume designer. And since I am a historical costume designer, I offered to collect authentic rural costumes from different regions of Ukraine dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

What is the oldest garment in the project?

The oldest costumes are three festive costumes of rural women of the Chernihiv region. Women wore shirts with voluminous sleeves of thin handwoven with a complex technique of embroidery with fine silk threads. The brocade zapaska (apron) is woven from silk, factory-made cotton threads and gold thread and laid in wide folds. This item of clothing was the most expensive, and was worn only for holidays and weddings. The plahta (belted skirt) was woven from wool threads and hand dyed.

What are the regional differences in traditional Ukrainian dress?

Of course, all regions in Ukraine are very different. 100 years ago, the territory of Ukraine had very clear geographical borders of regions and provinces, and the image of symbols, colours, decor methods of textiles and leather, styles, jewellery, head pieces and traditions were different in each territory. In each region you need to know the lengths of clothing items, ways of tying belts, dressing of belt clothes, tying handkerchiefs.

Read the rest of this article by Grace Warde-Aldam in the current issue.

We are offering one lucky reader the chance to win a £120 gift voucher from Susie Petrou. Her collection includes a selection of antique cotton scarves measuring approximately 85x85cm and sourced in Transylvania. Enter here.

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