Natasha Zinko was born in the coastal city of Odessa, and much of her family are still in Ukraine. For Spring / Summer 2023, it was impossible for Natasha not to reflect on the recent events in her motherland, and to create a collection that reflects the way she feels and what she’s seen. Like many of her country people, earlier this year, Natasha began working with her community of friends around the world to help get as many people out of her motherland as possible. As a result, many newly-arrived Ukrainians in London began working in her workshop, and with them they brought objects treasured and collected, transported to new homes and protectively cherished on tumultuous journeys across borders. Many of those objects were clothes.
Spring / Summer 2023 marks Natasha Zinko’s most personal collection to date, an exploration of the clothes we cherish for life, imbued with a defiant attitude that declares survival and demands optimism.
“I’m Ukrainian, I was born in Odessa on the Black Sea. 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.” — Natasha Zinko
collection is not overtly political, but rather — like the televisions that comprise prints on T-shirts and silk shirting — merely a reflection of the realities (or non-realities, depending on we’re you’re watching from) of a world in turmoil. Fake news slogans range from so-called pandemic propaganda to UFO sightings – a tongue-in-cheek nod to the absurdity of the current news cycle and a continuation of Natasha’s ‘Aliens & Bunnies’ motif, introduced last season to reflect her new mode of gender-fluidity. Ever one to see the glass half-full, Natasha remains resolutely optimistic. Fashion, in her view, can offer light relief — a powerful balm for the soul. So, yes there are aliens — but they could just as well be leather-winged angels. After all, aren’t angels kind of like aliens when you come to think of it?
This season, silhouettes appear more dramatic, more daring, and more twisted — clothes that proudly state: I am here and I will not be silenced. Many looks are poetically distressed, like hemp dresses with frayed hems and deadstock denim sourced from Natasha’s archive is patchworked, shredded and reborn as monstrously mega-sized skirts and even boots. Tailoring is not just worn backways, but engineered to fit that way — a topsy-turvy, back-to- front garment for a world similarly in flux. Sweeping black leather skirts and dresses with gothic lace-up panelling offers a defiant spirit, and throughout the collection, safety pin fastenings — raw and DIY in spirit borrow from the hallmarks of London punk culture, an anarchic spirit that inspired generations all over the world.
Elsewhere, there are typically Ukrainian floral dresses that are shredded and lovingly re- pieced together, emerging with a tougher edge and protective leather jackets — and similarly native garments embroidered in Odessa, such as the Vyshivanka Shirts, which Natasha rediscovered through the 1930 film Earth by Oleksandr Dovzhenko, which shows the pastoral traditions of the Ukrainian people. It affirms the message of this collection, that beyond the rage and despair, the heartbreak and grief — that this is a heartfelt and hopeful love letter to the country that Natasha will always consider home.
All images courtesy of Natasha Zinko
PR Agency Ritual Projects Paris
Creative Director: Natasha Zinko
Stylist: Jamie-Maree Shipton
Casting: Conan Laurendot
Hair: Sayaka Otama
Make Up: Ruben Masoliver
Production: Daniel Hettmann
PR London: Agency Eleven
PR Paris: Ritual Projects/OBCM
Runway Photographer: Guillaume Roujas
BTS Photographer: Lena Knappova
Videographer: Xavier Faltot
Special Thanks to my Team, my fellow Ukrainians and
Everyone who helped make my Visionz a reality