Ukraine

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Doll avaThis is a fine collection of motanka dolls from Reshetylivka museum, Poltava region of Ukraine. Motanka doll is a traditional Ukrainian toy made from yarn and fabric. It is a little bit similar to the famous American rag doll, but motanka is usually produced without any sewing. These particular dolls are dressed in folk costumes of Ukraine. All the woven and embroidered garments are real but tiny, just like jewelry pieces, headwear, and other accessories. It’s a great tradition to make such motanka dolls for kids.

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Fashion avaBrides in Ukraine traditionally wore very large, ornate, and beautiful wreaths for their wedding. Today, women prefer veils or hats as bridal headwear, but in the 17th-19th century, all of them used wreaths, which showed their marital status. We’d like to show you a nice collection of such headdresses of various shapes, designs, made from different materials, using different techniques. These pieces are modern but very accurate replicas of authentic bridal wreaths from the 19th century.

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Wreath avaIn Ukraine, there was a tradition for young girls who were ready for marriage and for brides to wear a wreath – female headdress made from fresh or artificial flowers, fabric, straw, or wood and embellished with beads, sequins, flowers, coins, pom-pons, metal adornments, etc. The wreath was a symbol that showed a woman’s marital status. It could be round or horseshoe-shaped. And the bridal wreaths were really ornate and exquisite. Here are some examples of such festive and wedding wreaths from the 19th – the beginning of the 20th century.

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Weaving avaIn the old days, fabrics were handmade only and people invented different tools that helped them make the cloth. For instance, various spinning and weaving tools. On the territory of Ukraine, the first evidence of woven fabric date back to the Cucuteni-Trypillia culture (appr. 4800-3000 B.C.). Although Ukrainians usually use industrially-produced fabrics today, there are still many vintage spinning&weaving tools in local museums, private collections, and in possession of artisans who still produce hand-woven cloth.

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ukrainian wreath avaHeadwear is among those most informative accessories ever. They can give info about gender, age, marital status, social class, financial well-being of a person, etc. And Ukrainian folk headdresses are no exception. Today, we’d like to show you the best, most unusual, and even bizarre headgear that occurs in this rich European culture. While day-to-day headpieces were very alike throughout the country, the bridal and festive headdresses often varied in different regions. So, let’s have a look at all those coifs, kerchiefs, headbands, wreaths, bonnets, and other female headdresses used in Ukraine since ancient times till now.

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Boots avaRecently, we’ve got a rare opportunity to dive into a museum storage and make photos of exhibits that are seldom seen by ordinary visitors. Usually, you’re able to observe such vintage pieces only through glass, and even then, only some of them are exhibited. So, this is your chance to see authentic Ukrainian shoes from the 19th-20th century in detail. This footwear is from different regions of the country, made from various materials, decorated with various embellishments, and produced by skillful artisans. The shoes in this collection are male, female, and – more often than you would think – unisex.

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Hutsul avaThe Hutsul clothing tradition is interesting because of its peculiarities and uniquity. Local craftsmen were (and still are) especially skilled in working with leather and metal. We’ve already written about Ukrainian traditional jewelry made from brass. And now, we’d like to talk about folk clothing accessories used in the Carpathian region – ornate leather shoes, belts, and bags. These pieces are so very beautiful and remarkable that we can’t miss the opportunity to show them to you.

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Jewelry avaThe tradition of using jewelry in Ukraine is old and developed. For centuries, Ukrainian men – but mostly women – have been wearing jewels made from metal, glass, stones, and other natural and artificial materials. The most widespread pieces are coral necklaces, Venetian glass beaded necklaces, and metal pendants (dukaches and crosses made from gold, silver, copper, or brass). Here, we’d like to share with you several photos of beautiful, ornate, and intricately made jewelry items worn by Ukrainian women during the last 200 years.

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Dukach avaOne of the most popular traditional jewelry pieces in Ukraine is called a “dukach”. It is a pendant of sorts and it is usually made from a coin (gold, silver, or even copper) or a religious icon. This jewelry item is often pretty massive and intricately decorated. It can be hung on a chain or ribbon as a self-sufficient piece or be a part of a necklace. Here, we’d like to show you some photos of dukach jewels from a great exhibition held in one of Ukrainian museums.

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Polissia avaUkraine is one of those countries in Europe that have diverse climate and relief. Therefore, the old clothing traditions are also rather different for various regions. Today, we’d like to talk about one of the most curious Ukrainian areas – a so-called “Polissia”. It is a region of dense forests and swamps, that’s why the clothing customs here are a little bit extraordinary. The vintage sets of folk clothing from Polissia are preserved in Ukrainian museums and in a pretty good shape. So, we’d like to show you 7 full sets of absolutely beautiful women’s costumes from Ukrainian Polissia.

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Underwear avaIf you think that 19th-century fashion in Europe was reduced to corsets, crinolines, and bustles, you’re wrong. Just look at the folk underwear used in Ukraine in the same time period – it’s the opposite fashion trend. It’s all about natural lines, minimum of undergarments, and beautiful embellishments on the visible parts of the clothing. But let’s find out the most curious facts about Ukrainian traditional underwear worn in the 19th century. We may surprise you.

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Vyshyvanka avaUkrainian authentic embroidered shirts made a 100 or more years ago, are adorned with beautiful and diverse patterns. The symbols were chosen on purpose and every craftswoman knew their meaning. Also, there was a large variety of embroidery stitches and techniques, used to make the shirts. Today though, modern embroidered shirts or so-called “vyshyvanka” are much more simple and look similar. Ukrainians almost forgot the hidden meaning of ancient embroidery designs. But this knowledge is returning to these people little by little.

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Vira Nakonechny avaUkrainians even in the 21st century take great pride in their embroidery. These are considered high art and filled with themes that are deeply symbolic and meaningful. One of the famous Ukrainian artisans is Vira Nakonechny. She is skilled in many folk crafts, including embroidery, weaving, beading, folk costume reconstruction, etc. She is a woman that doesn’t even live in Ukraine, wasn’t born in Ukraine, and visited Ukraine for the first time at a rather mature age, but she’s Ukrainian by descent. And, living in the US, she teaches people how to do Ukrainian handicrafts.

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Cradle avaIn Ukraine, children traditionally wore embroidered shirts from a very young age. The patterns served as the protection from evil. Most of the time, children were dressed in a shirt and nothing more – only at the age of 3, 10, or even 15 (depends on a region of the country), they added skirts, trousers, belts, and other garments. We’d like to show you some of the embroidered pieces of clothing used by Ukrainian kids at the beginning of the 20th century.

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Male costume avaVintage men’s clothing in Ukraine is rather hard to find. Most of such garments didn’t survive till these days, unlike female costumes (of which there are plenty). We would like to show you 12 authentic male outfits from the end of the 19th – the first half of the 20th century. The garments are stored in The Ukrainian national center of folk culture “Ivan Honchar Museum” and in private collections. You can find some pretty interesting and opulent pieces here. Also, there are several typically masculine accessories to supplement the costumes. Enjoy!

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Ukraine avaUkrainian traditional costumes from western, northern, and north-western regions of Ukraine are very colorful, bright, and sophisticated. In this areas, proud-spirited and honorable people traditionally lived, and their costumes are like that as well. We are glad to share with you several photos of female folk outfits from the mentioned Ukrainian regions. You will also find out how different garments and jewelry pieces are named.

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Earrings ava2The jewelry makers in Kievan Rus’ were amazingly skilled. And their production was in a great demand. You can’t imagine the finished outfit of a local woman without jewels. We tried to gather as much interesting info about jewelry pieces of Kievan Rus’ as possible. From this article, you’ll find out what is skan’ and zern’, what jewels did Medieval people wear, and what designs of jewelry were the most popular. Also, you’ll learn why stone-set rings of the period lost their stones so easily. And much more.

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Embroidery avaUkrainian traditional embroidery is one of the main clothing crafts in this country. It is said that embroidering can increase person’s energy field and thus, helps to maintain good health. People in Ukraine really believe in that, especially those who have spent decades practicing this craft. Yuriy Melnychuk is one of the few men in Ukraine – because most Ukrainians consider embroidery to be women’s work – who became a skilled craftsman. He embroiders, teaches other people how to do it, and gathers his own collection of vintage samples of embroidered costumes and embroidery patterns.

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Necklace9 avaUkrainian folk costume is always complimented with such jewelry pieces as necklaces. And traditionally it is normal to mix and combine different kinds of necklaces, no matter what the shape, material, or price of them is. Brides even covered their neck, breasts, and stomach with various necklaces – from the chin to the waist. Despite the lack of a united style, Ukrainian vintage jewelry sets look very beautiful and balanced.

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bag avaUkraine has some cool traditions regarding folk accessories, especially bags. Ukrainian traditional handbags, shoulder bags, and purses are diverse, bright, and richly decorated. Each of them has its own purpose. Today, it is hard to imagine that a man and a woman can share one bag. But in some regions of the country, folk bags are unisex and still stylish.

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Vytoky avaIt’s not often that the folklore and traditional costumes are presented at the Fashion Weeks around the world. Most of the designers strive to invent and show something new, to shock and surprise the public. Though, one of Ukrainian Fashion Weeks presented the vintage folk clothes and got really good feedback. Sometimes the latest clothing trends and old clothing traditions get intertwined or merged pretty nicely, don’t they?

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necklace avaThe national costume of Ukraine always includes a necklace. In old days, the rings, earrings, or bracelets were traditionally less common. But a necklace was a must-have and an integral part of any attire – festive or daily dress. It served not only as an embellishment but also as a protection amulet and a mean to show the status and financial capability of the wearer. The Ukrainian tradition of using various necklaces is rich and exciting.

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Costume Lviv avaUkrainian traditional clothing is rather diverse. The festive outfits are always colorful and rich in embroidery and bright decorations. But there are certain regional features that help to distinguish the attires according to the area of origin. Here you are the collection of the folk costumes from different regions of Ukraine that belongs to the Museum of Ethnography and Crafts in Lviv (western Ukraine).

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Ukrainian embroidery2 avaFor Ukrainians, embroidering is very symbolic. Only women used to embroider because this process was considered sacred – though, today anyone can do it. When a woman is embroidering she scribes the life she wants for the owner of the piece on the fabric. Hand embroidering is a process similar to the meditation. In Ukraine, people believe in the power of embroidering and know how to use this power.

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Ukrainian embroidery avaThe tradition of making and using embroidery on fabric in Ukraine is very ancient and strong. Many pieces of the national costume of this country are embroidered (like embroidered shirt called “vyshyvanka”), as well as festive towels (called “rushnyk”), tablecloths, toys, and other household items. There are over 250 embroidery stitches used by the craftswomen. Every region of Ukraine has its own patterns, symbols, traditions, colors, and techniques of embroidering.

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Fashion show avaMany modern young people in Ukraine are fond of the national costumes of this country. Of course, you can buy a modern embroidered shirt called “vyshyvanka” without any efforts at all. But in Ukraine, today it is prestigious and stylish to have a full set of authentic clothing: a shirt embroidered by a great-great-granny, garments made from a homespun cloth, vintage hand-woven pieces, etc. Here is a nice modern fashion show of vintage Ukrainian outfits organized by several students. All the costumes were collected in different villages around the country piece by piece.