Helena Christensen, Guest Curator of Wearloom: Ukrainian Garments at The Ukrainian Museum New York

Press Release

Wearloom: Ukrainian Garments

Helena Christensen, Guest Curator

Until 17 January 2024

The Ukrainian Museum New York is delighted to introduce international supermodel, designer, and photographer Helena Christensen as the guest curator of Wearloom:  Ukrainian Garments, running until January 17th, 2024.

This expansive exhibition offers a new interpretation of traditional Ukrainian embroidery and costumes, addressing the aesthetics of embroidered and historic garments and accessories from a modern female perspective. Pushing the physical boundaries of institutional fashion exhibitions, Wearloom: Ukrainian Garments begins with classic mannequin presentations of traditional costumes from the Poltava, Hutsul, Bukovyna, Polissia, Volyn, and Lviv regions, and morphs to large wall installations of a variety of garments – embroidered shirts, woven sashes, skirts, sleeveless jackets, scarves, and more – highlighting the stylistic complexities of Ukraine’s many regions.  Traditional costumes from the Poltava region in eastern Ukraine and the Carpathian (Hutsul) region in the west also feature progressive build-ups of individual garments all the way to the complete outfit, which is then presented on two mannequins, delineating the steps a woman takes to dress for a festive occasion. The exhibition is accentuated by a selection of traditional headdresses and jewelry. 

Strolling through the exhibition, says Peter Doroshenko, director of The Ukrainian Museum, visitors will sense how clothing, including traditional festive clothing, empowers women.  “It becomes obvious that women have, and have traditionally had, a very special connection to and interaction with clothing,” he says, “and that dressing for a special occasion can be an almost ritualistic experience.”

Guest curator Helena Christensen, whose mother hails from Peru, a country rich in the traditions of embroidery and weaving, has been “infatuated with embroidery from a young age,” and her long career in fashion includes creating a vintage clothing line that was sold in her mother’s store in Copenhagen.  “I have been involved in fashion almost my entire life,” she says, “and have always been fascinated by the stories told by garments, especially traditional garments.  This exhibition gave me a unique opportunity to explore traditional Ukrainian garments, and I invite visitors to join me on this fascinating journey.” 

Traditional Ukrainian Folk Costume. Image Courtesy of The Ukrainian Museum New York

Ms. Christensen was born in Denmark and won the Miss Universe Denmark crown at the age of 17.  She began modeling soon afterwards and by the 1990s had become one of the world’s supermodels.  A former Victoria’s Secret Angel, she has graced the covers of numerous magazines and walked the runway for every major designer.  She has also launched several clothing lines, partnered with Oxfam to document the impact of climate change in Peru, and raised funds to fight breast cancer.  An accomplished photographer, her work has appeared in several magazines and exhibitions, one of which benefited Chernobyl Children’s Project International.

About The Ukrainian Museum

The Ukrainian Museum located in New York’s East Village is the largest art institution outside of Ukraine that has been highlighting Ukrainian art and culture for the past 46 years. Seminal exhibitions have included Alexander Archipenko: Vision and Continuity, along with Staging the Ukrainian Avant-Garde of the 1910s and 1920s. The museum holds over 10,000 art works in its collection including artists, Alexander Archipenko, David Burliuk, Sonia Delaunay, and Alexandra Exter.

The Ukrainian Museum

222 East 6th Street

New York, New York 10003

United States of America

Open Wednesday–Sunday 12.00 pm – 6.00 pm

Closed Monday–Tuesday and holidays


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